Sue and David Scales have an exceptionally beautiful place and are terrific hosts. The property itself is exactly what you would hope for in the French countryside. Warm honey colored stone in the classic style with a beautiful courtyard in front and extensive gardens with pool behind. The interior is bright, warm and airy, decorated with French and English antiques making it totally cozy and inviting. They make you feel perfectly at home and the food that comes out of their kitchen is something you won’t be forgetting soon. The guest rooms are super clean, comfortable and decorated in a classic style. If you stay here you’ll spend half your time trying to figure out how soon you can come back.
This being our second trip to the area, we made sure to book with Sue and Dave and they gave us some great advice about our schedule, the timing couldn’t have been better. Just down the hill from Puyfavard is the village of Saint Jean de Cole. If you’re going to be in the area in May, make sure you set the second weekend aside for Les Floralies in this lovely village.
As if Saint Jean de Cole with its’ 11th century church and 12th century Chateau de la Marthonie overlooking the central courtyard isn’t heartbreakingly beautiful as it is, once a year the local farmers and artisans fill the courtyards and cobbled streets of the town with flowers and crafts.
The town straddles the Cole River via an arched 15th Century bridge and has been noted for having the “finest roofs in all of France”. Half timbered houses overhang narrow streets which, ridiculously charming and attractive at any time, are on this special weekend over the top with color and fragrance.
If you don’t speak a word of French it’s still easy to get the gist of what’s going on around you. The locals are in a holiday spirit and like small town people everywhere, use this type of occasion to catch up and laugh together. The rural French people are, somehow, a perfect complement to the flowers, food and crafts that make up Les Floralies.
Les Floralies is a local event, and while it draws its’ share of tourists you get the feeling that you’re the lucky outsider who’s been invited.
As travelers we often struggle to get the real feel of a place and can often arrive back home feeling that as much as we enjoyed it, we didn’t get to experience things that felt real or conveyed the true sense of the place we were looking for. Les Floralies at Saint Jean de Cole and a stay at The Chambre d’Hotes at Puyvavard will cure that, no doubt.
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