France, June 2018
In our recent FB and IG posts, you’d have seen some pictures of my recent travel to France. In fact, it’s almost my family’s annual voyage back to my husband’s home country. We always choose to go back in June because – 1. it’s Singapore’s mid year school holiday; 2. weather is reasonably nice (15 deg.C – 25 deg.C); and 3. it’s just before the big summer break in July and August when France (especially Paris) will be inundated with tourists.
Many people have asked me to recommend places to visit in France. Apart from the usual tourist hideouts like Paris, Provence and Loire Valley, I’d like to recommend a place where we’ve just discovered this time – La Ferme des Cévennes.
La Ferme des Cevennes is a goat farm where it provides also eco-friendly farmstay. It is situated at La Salle Prunet, a good 600km south of Paris. We broke our drive from Paris with another stay at the town of Volvic (yes, where the mineral water is from) before reaching La Ferme des Cévennes.
If you are used to 5 stars hotel treatment, swimming pool and shopping centre, then this is not the place for you. However, if you are looking for an authentic French farmstay, then I guarantee that you’d like this. You'd have a glimpse into the kampong lifestyle in France (and yes, the French are not always about haute couture and looking chic!).
The farm has 15 rooms and can easily house more than 100 people, with each room having more than 2-3 beds. So it’s perfect for a family of 4-5 to share a room. The rooms are very simply furnished and attached bathrooms have the essentials. It costs only 30-50€ per room, depending if it’s single/double and low/high season. Using this price range as a gauge, you can imagine how simple the rooms are. So do manage your expectations and you’d find that everything is quite perfect.
Breakfast was included in the stay and dinner can be catered too. We opted to have our dinners in the farm as there wasn’t any other choice in its vicinity (the farm only has one neighbour in the mountain). Dinners are served in a common dining hall with 2 long tables and a cozy fireplace. We were served food that were either grown in the farm or sourced from nearby villages. We might be in a French kampong but we were fed like royalties (my husband sure enjoyed the free flow of wine and cheese)! And the convivial ambience was something quite unique and memorable.
In terms of activities, we attended their morning and evening sessions of milking the 128 goats! We were able to try milking them and drinking the milk fresh. Those of you picturing us latching on the goats’ nipples…stop there! We used a cup! We attended a goat cheese making workshop too. Having eaten so much goat cheese before, it’s interesting to learn the process at its source. Our daughter even went on an impromptu trip up the mountain with the goat herder and brought the goats back home one day. Now, that’s unforgettable!
All in all, La Ferme des Cévennes wasn’t exactly a 5 star establishment but it definitely gave my family a 5 star experience. For more information, refer to www.lafermedescevennes.com. – A.