The hamlet is surrounded by 80 acres of deciduous forest, with ancient sweet chestnut groves, oak, ash, wild cherry and hazel covering the hill-sides. We manage and maintain the forest and the paths ourselves.
Expect to see and hear a lot; the forest is brimming full of life.
Wild boar runs criss-cross the hills and whilst you'll be very lucky to see them, you will hear them, especially at dusk and dawn.
It's not at all unusual to see deer, especially on morning walks.
We have at least three badger sets on site, as well as foxes and hares.
You'll regularly spot birds of prey soaring on thermals in the valley. Aveyron is also home to the Griffon Vulture, formerly facing extinction but now repopulating the area.
In the summer there are butterflies everywhere. Our buddleia (the butterfly bush) draw even more of them into the hamlet itself; it's not uncommon to see up to ten species on a single bush.
We have a love/hate relationship with the Glis Glis (the edible doormouse or Loire gris). Seemingly a cross between a squirrel, a marmot and a mouse, they are unbelievably cute until they run across your bedroom roof, squealing in the middle of the night. Being nocturnal and attracted to the nut and fruit trees around the hamlet, it's unlikely that you won't hear them.
There are a large variety of lizards that are regularly sighted, including some large, lumbering Salamanders. Snakes are less regularly seen but Western Whip snakes and Smooth snakes have occasionally been spotted basking in rocky places.
We also have at least two varieties of bats that move to the hamlet in the summer months and have been known to roost in the loft spaces in the dwelling buildings. They can also make a fair bit of noise at night, but they are a protected species (aswell as being beautiful and really useful fly killers). If you hear them, you'll get used to it!
We keep the main tracks out of the hamlet and through the forest, clear. But if you head deeper into the bush, it makes sense to cover up as much as you can. Ticks are common in overgrown areas in the summer months and whilst we're experts at removing them, you'd probably prefer not to get them in the first place.
If you're visiting in the summer months it's also wise to bring some insect repellant. Whilst there are almost no mosquitos because of the altitude, there are some.
If you're a nature lover, this place is a dream come true. But if you're not, this is definitely not the place for you!
Whilst it's not difficult to get here, once you are here you are in the middle of nowhere.
Our nearest village is a 30 minute walk away... albeit a beautiful walk down the valley and along the river. There you'll find the Musée des Arts Buissonniers, an incredible international art gallery featuring an ever changing display of Raw Outsider Art (Art Brut), the ever expanding sculpture garden and the impressive, almost Gaudi-esque, "Construction Insolite" that has to be seen to be believed.
There's also the locally famous Belgian beer bar, L'Abri du Temps, where you'll find a great selection of beer and wine.
But be aware that everything else you're likely to need is a good 15-20 minute drive away.
Our water comes from a spring up in the hills above the hamlet.
On the plus side this means that you have spring water pouring from the taps and showers. Because the spring water has to drop some 200 metres before it gets to us, you also get a natural power shower!
We double filter the water, so it's safe, but we don't chemically treat it, so it's pure.
The downside is that, not being on the mains, the supply is finite. The spring feeds into a 5 cubic metre storage tank before powering down to the filtration system. In spring/early summer and late summer/autumn there is plenty but in high summer it can get a bit scarce.
We ask our guests to be sparing with their showers and particularly so in dry spells. This doesn't mean you can't have one, just be careful...
We are working on increasing the capacity and efficiency of the system and we have a stream fed back up system just in case.
We're also working on a wood-fired, stream fed, outdoor bathroom in a glade overlooking the valley. If the worst comes to the worst, we'll boil you a bath on the hillside.
Our Eco, chemical free, sewage/sanitation system is also not on the mains. It's really important that nothing goes down the toilets that hasn't come out of your body.
“A truly rare escape"
“Enchanting and charming"