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Time Off: Trips for the brain.

Question: How do

you tempt back 500,000 or so visitors who've stopped coming t o one of the most fascinating areas of France

Answer: You

encourage them with a bit of a brain-teaser.

Former travel journalist turned chateau owner Jon Barnsley reckons the number of British visitors to Normandy has plunged from more than 1.4m t o around 900,000, following P&O Ferries' decision t o get out of some cross-Channel routes, Now Jon is doing his own bit to encourage visitors - by launching the world's first Su Doku breaks.

Guests can check into five luxurious en suite rooms - and there's a huge Su Doku grid in the chateau's four acres of parkland.

When addicts of the new game need a quick fix, they can curl up in front of a roaring wood fire and do their puzzles in peace and quiet.

Su Doku weekends cost from pounds 143 per person for three nights' B&B.

For fans of house parties, the whole house can be taken over in a single booking - with three days B&B over Christmas available from pounds 1,100.

Jon opted for a career change when he bought Le Castel - a classic Napoleon III chateau with a house party feel in four acres of parkland near the cathedral city of Coutances - with partner Nick Hobbs.

It's a great spot for visiting Le Mont St Michel, Bayeux and the D-Day beaches, and is easily reached either by the Brittany Ferries into Caen and Cherbourg, or Ryanair and FlyBe flights into Dinard and Rennes airports.

Car hire is easily arranged from both places.

Contact Le Castel on 0033 233 170045 or n Contact Normandy Peninsula regional tourist board, Manche Tourism, on 0033 (0) 233 05 9870 or www.manche
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 20, 2005
Previous Article:Time Off: Thistle do nicely; Claire Gray discovers a different side to Edinburgh.
Next Article:Time Off: Game Check.

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