Villa Fol Avril

Moutiers au Perche, Normandy, France Book from Book from £88 per night

Discover an unlikely hotel de charme in an untouched rural corner of Normandy, less than 2 hours from Paris
Villa Fol Avril is full of surprises. Bang on the crossroads of a sleepy village, it looks at first glance like any old relais de poste (coaching inn) - which is what it used to be. But now behind its ochre exterior lies one of Normandy’s most stylish little hotels, whose clean lines and sumptuous fabrics entice you to linger for days. It’s the handiwork of dynamic owners Sandrine and Philippe, who have taken the building’s natural charms (oak beams, old stables) and infused them with contemporary verve and funky furnishings - most of which they've taken great pains to source locally.

The other surprise is the area. Few, even among the French, have heard of the Perche, a historic province tucked away in Normandy's southeastern corner. Yet its historic stone villages and rolling hills, similar to an ungentrified Cotswolds, are one of the region's best kept secrets. It's also famous for its huge white horses. Riding is Sandrine's passion, and the hotel's bizarre name is borrowed from her favourite Arab pure-bred stallion.


  • Villa Fol Avril's firelit salon, locally crafted furnishings and personal service make this the complete antithesis of a chain hotel
  • The region, much of it a natural park, is great for history-lovers, foodies and walkers alike, with its Percheron horses, venerable manoirs, honey-stoned villages and birdlife
  • The dining room and sunny terrace offer tasty and affordable food, with an informal atmosphere that’s more bistro-chic than grand restaurant
  • There's a decked swimming pool for cooling off in the summer months
  • It's excellent value


  • Two sides of the hotel are on the road - but it’s the quietest place on earth, and if a car passes more than once an hour in the night, that’s busy
  • Be prepared to dust off your French - English is not widely spoken round here, although Sandrine and Philippe are exceptions
  • This is one of Normandy's remotest corners - not the quickest place to reach from Channel ports, though it's close to Paris and Chartres

Best time to go

Spring and autumn are when the countryside colours are at their best; come in summer if you want to be sure of warm weather for hiking and riding.

Our top tips

Most guests come for one to 2 nights. But you could happily spend longer here, as it's a great base to discover a little known region of France. You could even do a day-trip to Paris by train if you wished.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12
  • Restaurant
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym


Light, space and natural materials are the keynotes of all of the hotel's 12 rooms. Set in either the main building or the garden, each of them is immaculate and agreeably different. New oak is cleverly combined with old beams and the odd antique, and there are pleasing corners where a patch of stone or brick has been left exposed. Sandrine and Philippe were adamant that as many as possible of the furnishings should be from the Perche, so furniture, stair banisters and key-holders were all hand-crafted in local wood, and linen bedcovers and cushions were purchased from the long-established Maison Fassier in nearby Rémalard. Even the ironwork lanterns in the stairwell were made by a local craftsman. The only 'foreign' touches are the occasional item from Belgian interior design company Flamant, and a few Eastern European antiques.

Bathrooms are a delight throughout - luxurious, spacious and well-equipped, with thick towels and classy toiletries by Damana. All have bathtubs, and loos are always separate (except in Room 4 - Chambre Confort), which is a pleasing touch.

Two of the larger rooms - and our favourites - are Room 6 (Grande Chambre) and Room 7 (Chambre Familiale), both on the second floor and nestled under the vast oak roof beams. Room 6 has part of an animal manger as a bedhead, a coarse linen eiderdown from Fassier, and luxurious wool carpets and blankets. Room 7, in soothing storm-greys and whites, is a duplex, with a double bed in the main space and twin beds on a platform reached via an oak ladder. For more outdoor space opt for one of the Junior Suites au Jardin or Exception, as they all have private balconies.

Of the first-floor rooms, Room 3 (Junior Suite) has a white Flamant four-poster plus a Percheron antique wardrobe and desk. Stripes and strong colours like navy and burgundy add interest, and flooring is oak parquet or seagrass. Room 2 (Grande Chambre) has a more classic feel with its pink floral wallpaper. Rooms 1 is the only room on the ground-floor and therefore the only room suitable for those with limited mobility.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Phone
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi


Lunch and dinner are so fresh that you can almost smell the garden it grew in, and unlike in so many French restaurants, it's deliciously light. We had a salade jardinière for starter, followed by a fishy filet de julienne aux poireaux and a choice of crispy crême brulée or juicy apple tart. Nothing too fancy, just good local food done to a T. And it's great value, especially if you book half-board. Or you can choose from the suggestions du jour, based on what's in the market that morning.

In summer, you can sit out on the enclosed terrace and watch the gentle goings-on of a rural village. In colder weather you adjourn to the dining room, whose smart oak and chocolate linen décor is every bit as fresh as the food - but be aware that in winter it's only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for lunch and dinner, and on Wednesday and Sunday for lunch only.

Breakfast is a fairly standard continental affair, including crusty local bread, croissants, fruit, cereals and yoghurt.

If you fancy going out, there's a surprisingly impressive choice of restaurants nearby, although you'll need wheels to reach them. The foodie favourite has to be Auberge des Trois J in the tiny village of Noce (closed Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday in winter). For an Obelixian extravaganza, head for the luxurious Château de Villeray at Condeau. If you fancy a taste of old France, the Tribunal (also a hotel) in historic Mortagne is a must - try the locally-made boudin noir (black pudding).

Features include:

  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Start with a stroll around this quaint village perché ('hill-village'), whose Romanesque church dates back to the 12th century and boasts the largest dog gargoyles ever seen. Amble down the cobbled lanes with their honey-stone houses and rose-decked gardens, past the tempting épicerie (deli) and bakery
  • Relax by the heated outdoor swimming pool with its elegant decked area for sunbathing
  • If you're into hiking, this undulating region is criss-crossed with well-marked footpaths; make sure you stop off at La Bourdinière farm shop a couple of miles away for an unbeatable picnic of home-made bread and goats' cheese
  • If you prefer to see the area on horseback, there's a pony trekking centre on the edge of the village. If you want to ride a mighty Percheron, just ask Sandrine - she's passionate about horses and will happily to fix you up (bring your own gear and pay by the hour or per day)
  • Go fishing on a lake nearby (again bring your own gear). Hunting and shooting are also available, as is golf (at Bellême, 28km away)
  • Visit the region's tiny fairytale manor houses, many of them still inhabited by their original land-owning families
  • The historic town of Mortagne-au-Perche, with its ancient houses, crumbling convents and monumental portal, is less than half an hour's drive away. On Saturdays there's a great market in the central square, and at the end of March you'll catch the annual Foire au Boudin (black pudding fair), when over 5km of the dark sausages are sold
  • The pretty town of Bellême boasts some of the best artisanal shops, including the chocolatier of Charles Bataille (14 Boulevard Bansard des Bois), the homewares and tea-shop of Le Comptoir du Porche Adorable (1 Rue du Château) and the usual weekly market (on Thursdays)
  • Chartres is less than an hour's drive away (55km), with its soaring Gothic cathedral, pretty half-timbered houses and the languid waters of the river Eure bisecting the old town

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures


The hotel is child-friendly but Philippe and Sandrine are keen to not have too many children on site at the same time - it can spoil the atmosphere. Under 5s stay for free.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Room 7 (Chambre Familiale) is a large duplex with a double and 2 single beds ideal for families


Babysitting is available by arrangement

Baby listening:

Baby listening/monitors are available on request

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Pony riding
  • Farms nearby
  • Castles to explore
  • Local markets and fairs to experience

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 12 independent reviews from i-escape guests


The room opened on to the garden - lovely anyway, but perfect for us as we had the dog with us.The room itself was lovely, quirky. The dinner was fantastic, they were accommodating of my not eating fish, and it was a perfect last night in France, as we were staying as a stop-over on the way to the tunnel which is only about three hours away. The village is just gorgeous, and the region of Perche was new to us and is absolutely beautiful. We will definitely return.


A tiny but important thing; the internet was not working in our room and the front desk told us that this is a frequent problem. No big deal since we were there for one night but can imagine for people staying long, it may be an issue. The staff were truly welcoming and warm. Overall, a truly delightful place. We will happily go there again. The village itself is very pretty and there looks to be some lovely walks in and around the area. So if you're looking more to do a lot more than just read, sleep, eat extremely well and take a swim in the pool, then this is not for you. This is a place to switch off and soak up some glorious country views.


The hosts were superbly generous. The gave us excellent tips for hikes and trail rides, The room was spacious and very pleasant, the restaurant lovely. We enjoyed every minute of the four days, in spite of the occasional bad weather.


This hotel is simply beautiful. Our room was stylish and elegant, with everything we needed. The service was excellent, always available but never intrusive. The surrounding area is beautiful and the hotel is a perfect haven.


We have just had a very comfortable 3 night stay with our 3 year old Labrador and 16 month old baby. We were all made to feel very welcome and Phillipe was very helpful with recommending local walks and places to visit. There is not much in the village itself, however the food at Villa Fol Avri was excellent as was the breakfast. Would definitely recommend.


We found it a cool, very quirky hotel. It was a short stay which we enjoyed a lot. Lovely area but not especially enough to draw you there.


This hotel was the highlight of our trip. The room was beautiful as was the rest of the hotel. The room and bathroom were generously proportioned and elegantly and tastefully decorated. The restaurant was excellent. We received a call from the hotel earlier in the day to see if we wished to eat with them in the evening. Since we had travelled a long way from Sussex and had not had time to think about supper, this thoughtful attention was much-appreciated. We arrived from Calais tired, hot and hungry and were welcomed warmly (our host came out of the kitchen expressly to show us to our room himself despite a packed restaurant) and even though the staff were busy we were not made to feel hurried or rushed to our table at all. The meal was first-class and the service was charming and efficient without being stuffy or overly-formal. We would thoroughly recommend this stunning hotel for its location, decoration, service and cuisine and will make a point of returning whenever we can ourselves.


Villa Fol Avril is a lovely place to stay in the French countryside. The small village is full of charm. The staff were very friendly and tolerated our poor french very well. The rooms were comfortable and clean. The pool was great for the kids on hot afternoons. The restaurant served excellent food and the overall service was fantastic. A great location to use as a base , the surrounding towns and villages offer a real taste of the french lifestyle and there is lots to do. It would have been nice to have a small fridge in the room to keep some of the local produce we bought during our stay.


Extremely happy with my stay last week. Our room was lovely, the bed very comfortable and the owners so helpful and friendly.
And the I had in 2 weeks in France, very fresh and tasty.


Chambre Confort bedroom fairly small and storage very limited due to narrow depth of wardrobe and 1 very high shelf contained within. Very friendly dinner service with excellent freshly prepared food & good value menu at €25. Have stayed previously, but still have difficulty with hotels accepting dogs in restaurant, bedrooms and sunloungers!


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Rates for Villa Fol Avril