Big chain hotels may offer glittering chandeliers and crystal goblets, but they seldom offer a sense of authenticity and genuine character. Savvy travelers know that it’s the small, family-run inns that are steeped in charm, evoke local tradition, and, by the way, are the best maintained.
In the south of France, Armelle Douru & Pierre Berranger embody that spirit of small inns—with a dash of Provençal style—at their lovingly tended Hôtel Sous les Figuiers just outside the village of Saint-Rémy. We recently chatted with the couple about their hotel, their guests, and providing a safe and comfortable space in these times.
How does Hôtel Sous les Figuiers embody the traditions of Provence?
We’re committed to highlighting the local products of Provence. For instance, our shower gel is produced nearby and most of the products we serve with breakfast (jams, ham, sausages, fruits, yogurt, honeys, juices, croissants, breads) and at the bar (wines and sodas) are produced locally.
Sounds like you take a lot of pride in your inn.
Oh, yes! We adore Provence and it gives us great joy that when our guests stay with us, they are not only tasting local flavors, they are also supporting the local economy.
What other details help you share your love of Provence?
Because we are small and located in a village, guests meet the locals who prepare breakfast, maintain the grounds, and clean rooms. It’s a very homey place with a real sense of community and family. We’re just a few minutes from Saint-Rémy, so guests can browse the famous market in town, then easily walk back here and enjoy their local cheese and wine under our fig trees. We know the shopkeepers and restaurant owners in town, so we always ask guests to say hello to them.
How have you adjusted to the shifting needs of travelers during this time?
We have a limited number of rooms, so you’ll never find yourself in a crowded space here. Plus, our setting is ideal as our guests are outside almost all the time! Even though we are small, we do not have the narrow corridors and closed spaces of larger European hotels. Most rooms have a private terrace and their own entrance, so you do not have to pass other guests. All the socializing can happen outside, and breakfasts can be served in your room. We have hand sanitizer dispensers strategically placed and we follow all health recommendations.
What’s the best way for travelers to experience your hotel?
Well, you can find our website online, but unfortunately, it’s in French. Many American travelers find us through tour companies. For example, Country Walkers has a great self-guided walking tour that stays for two nights at our hotel—with planned hikes in the surrounding countryside!