Saint-Cyprien, By Night

Imagine if you will..
You’ve driven all day, from the North of France to the countryside of its Southwest. After a long day, it’s dark by the time you arrive at your destination. You are starving, having not eaten since a quick Aires stop on the highways hours earlier. Your B&B served dinner to guests earlier in the evening and basically, if you don’t get back into the car and drive some more, you’ll go to bed hungry.

Perhaps your host notices your hunger, and envisions waking the next morning to find that you’ve decimated her fruit trees and bushes? More likely, though, she’s seen this same look in previous guests and knows exactly what to do: she sends you off to the only restaurant still open in the nearest town with a smile. “I’ve made a reservation. He’ll be waiting for you.”

And so we were off, winding down the dark country roads at a snails pace for fear of missing a curve and flying off-road into whatever was past the shine of our headlights. Once down the hill and into the clearing we followed signs to our destination: Saint-Cyprien.

I’m not sure what either of us was expecting to find in the town but it certainly wasn’t an explosion of flowers as far as the eye could see.

Our jaws dropped as our minds tried to make sense of what we were seeing, and we decided that after a much needed meal we had to take a wander.

Fast forward to after a delicious meal (next post will be about dinner, promise) and we did just that.

Of course I stopped to take photos of other things too. Like a French cat who (perhaps I’m projecting) had complete disinterest of foreigners with funny accents.

I’m not above admitting that I squealed when I spotted him. Because cats.

“Carry on, lady. I have very important things to do.”

And these funny locals.

These windows caught my eye as well.

So what’s with all the flowers then?

Apparently they’re leftover decorations from the town félibrée, a “traditional Occitan festival which takes place every year in a town or village in the Dordogne. The festival, which has been running since 1903, takes place over several days and involves all manner of traditional events. The entire village usually comes together and spends months in the lead up to the festival preparing handmade decorations for the town ..

The inhabitants of St Cyprien and neighbouring villages will rally together and help create the beautiful decorations which will line the streets, squares and alleyways. This will involve cutting, creating *300,000* flowers from paper and plastic which will be shaped into poppies, sunflowers and wisteria. The decorations will be strung up throughout the town and will cover an incredible 7kms of streets! The festival will involve traditional dancing, music, singing, meals, parades, typical costumes.” (from Le Chèvrefeuille website)

Saint-Cyprien is gorgeous by night. We obviously had to return during daylight to see it is its daytime glory. Post to follow soon.

– Marla

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