Meet owners

Vanessa & Matthew Williamson  


" I want to live with history under my feet". 

Hi I am Vanessa born in Sydney Australia, I am an Australian  Archaeologist (Pre History), & trained for my speciality at the Australian Museum. To add to the mix I have a university Major in Medieval History. The combined expertise of myself and Matt  have been acknowledged by the French Government, with our special licence to conduct Guided Tours for our guests. Living in France is a constant joy of surprises as we discover new places nearly every week. As life time sewer, with interest in the history of Clothing  &  Historical Textiles, I am seeing work only ever previously available online or in books. I am fullfilling my lifetime dream to live in France. Living right at the corner of three stunning regions, I am so excited about sharing the wonderful places we have close by in Pays de Loire, Brittany & Normandy. I want to share this with you so Matt & I have established a beautiful B&B away from the big tourism locations. We hope to welcome you to stay very soon.

Owner L'Hotel de Hercé

Vanessa Williamson


In 1191 Philippe-Auguste announced the Third Crusade calling the men of Maine, "who came running in crowds".  Listed among them was is the  first known Hercé, Guillaume of Hercé, knight Baron.  Eight generations later L'Hotel de Hercé was built by Jean de Hercé Lord of Rigardon, Plessis Colombiers and Coudray and his wife Françoise  Tanquerel, daughter of René Tanquerel: Attorney General of the Duchy of Mayenne.


Builders of the Maison


De Hercé



Hi, I am Matt a "country boy" from Glenn Innes NSW Australia. I began life as  Australian Army Surveyor in the Royal Australian Engineers, and was seconded to the Australian War Graves Commission in Malaysia, on the Thai Burma Railway . After my Service I studyed a Degree in History at Australian National University; Canberra.  I contribute Military History articles to magazines; Wargames Illustrated, to my own blog "Storm and Conquest Blog Spot" & to many on-line military history Forums. I worked as a Guide at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and in Sydney at the Military Installation Battery Point in the Rocks.  I am always undertaking research.

                As part of my dream we have established French Wargame Holidays at L'Hotel de Hercé.  As a lifetime Wargamer I now walk the very battlefields I gamed for decades. My passion is bringing history to life as we walk and tour the battlefields & Wargame in our 18thc Salon. The combined expertise of myself and Vanessa have been acknowledged by the French Government, with our special licence to conduct Guided Tours for our guests.  Come and stay with us, experience the dream living in France and feel the history under your feet.

Owner l'Hotel de Hercé

Matthew Williamson

Street view 2.jpg

C. 1720 Baron de Hercé built L'Hotel de Hercé which retains the family name to this day.  A special 18thc Hôtel Particulier.  Traditionally a free-standing house, entered via a carriage way, facing into an entrance court with the garden behind. A special feature of L'Hotel de Hercé is the cupola crowning the roof built as an astronomy tower, affording 360 deg views of Mayenne. The 5 sets of windows across the facade denote the home is owned by a noble family. 

         The facade is imposing and divided into three levels, also defined by architectural bands, impressive cornices. The  window dimensions decrease with each level. The house is architecturally simple on the street facade, inside three grand reception salons feature fully panelled decorative woodwork and sculptured panelling. Local history recalls balls being held in the Grand Salon during late 19th century. 

18th Noble families home

L'Hotel de Hercé