In summer it’s all about getting together and enjoying alfresco dining, but autumn is a more intimate season. As the heat of summer gives way to cool dawns, the light starts to fade. The green leaves of forests are tinged with shimmering colours. Some mornings, the mist lends a mystical air to the meadows… Autumn is a great time to take a relaxing break in the heart of nature. We highlight 6 eco-friendly hotels that are designed to minimise their impact on the environment. What’s more - they are tranquil, harmonious, and focused on the well-being of guests and the biodiversity that surrounds them. These six special stays promise to immerse you in nature, ideal for reconnecting with the elements.
Les Échasses, Landes Forest (Biarritz-Basque Country)
Not far from the beaches of the Basque Country, in the heart of a typical Landes pine forest, Les Échasses is an atypical and eco-designed hotel, located around a large lake. Seven “modges”—ecological lodges on stilts—, form a 50m2 suite equipped with its own wood stove. The restaurant offers appetizer boards to be tasted on the spot or on the terrace of its “modge.” At the end of the day, you can enjoy the pleasures of the Norwegian bath heated by a wood fire, or relax in a rocking chair on your private terrace, while contemplating the lake.
Le Bruit de l’eau, Bay of Somme
A few kilometres from the Marquenterre Park, a favourite of ornithologists from all over the world, and very close to the Baie de Somme Nature Reserve, Le Bruit de l’eau is a confidential address, a love story chapter. The owner, a photographer, fell in love with a place: a hectare of pasture, ponds, a secret forest. Today, Le Bruit de l’eau brings together four atypical accommodations with a restful sobriety: a room delicately set on the river, reached by boat; a geodesic dome (eco-built in the Hauts-de-France) to observe the stars; a Japanese room, with its private hammam in the middle of nature; and finally a dojo for the summer, entirely open to the forest, which transforms itself into a meditation room at the first frost. The table is vegetarian, of Japanese inspiration. And in the heart of the forest, on an island, hides a Furô-Oké: a Japanese bath, heated to 40 °C by a wood fire, for an unforgettable experience, alone or for two!
Le Bruit de l'eau (External link) (French only)
Instants d’absolu, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
How to revive nature around a silted-up lake, at an altitude of 1150 m, in the heart of the Cantal mountains? This is the challenge taken up by Laurence Costa and her husband when they left the Alps to settle here, in the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park. Having fallen under the spell of this precious ecosystem, they sought to protect it by setting up a project anchored in its territory and respectful of the environment. You will be seduced by the 12 rooms (including a suite and a junior suite) and the spa, surrounded by pristine nature, but also by the range of activities offered: reiki, art therapy, constellation reading… Each guest can create the stay of his or her dreams, thanks to an entirely customized service. The dinners, offered onsite, will soon be enriched with the place’s own production, thanks to the installation of a greenhouse. As for the spa, it has been recently enhanced with a chromotherapy bath. Magical.
La Grée des Landes, Brittany
In the village of La Gacilly, its name can be seen everywhere: Yves Rocher, the French cosmetics brand, was born here. Today, the company is run by the founder’s son, Jacques. It was here, in the heart of Morbihan, that Jacques Rocher brought his father’s dream to life in 2009: an eco-built hotel, in complete harmony with its environment. La Grée des Landes offers 33 rooms (including three suites and a tree house) that vibrate in unison with nature. Green roofs, rainwater recovery, bat nesting boxes… Everything has been thought to minimize the impact of the place. But if you come to La Grée des Landes, it’s also to enjoy the Yves Rocher spa, an indoor swimming pool, a relaxation pool opening onto the plain, the botanical garden, or even walks in the Marais de Glénac. Onsite, the restaurant is organic and locavore, and offers vegetarian options. As for the 10 hectares of moors and forests that surround the place, they offer an infinite terrain for walks!
L’Ostalas is an ecological hotel focused on well-being and nature, located in the foothills of the Quercy. Here, one comes to breathe, to take the time to reconnect with oneself while listening to the wind blowing in the leaves. The hotel is reserved for adults over 16 years old, to offer them a moment out of time. Every day, three wellness activities are offered free of charge to guests in the 8 rooms (soon to be 12): yoga, Tui Shou (a variant of Taï Chi Chuan), relaxation, sophrology, qigong, walks in the forest… In the kitchen, François is inspired by Ayurveda to concoct vegetarian and organic dishes. For a 100% well-being stay.
Loire Valley Lodges
Here we are in the Loire Valley, in the heart of a forest, close to Tours and the Loire Castles. Well hidden, 18 wooden lodges on stilts have just opened their doors at 4 m high. A large renovated farmhouse serves as a common living space: it hosts a bar, a restaurant and a library, but also yoga or sophrology sessions. As for the lodges, built entirely of wood, the emphasis is on light and immersion in the forest thanks to gigantic bay windows. A jacuzzi can be found on each terrace. You don't even need to go to the spa, the massage therapists come to you for a moment of relaxation within your own lodge! Anne-Caroline Frey, the creator of the place, has worked for years in the contemporary art world: it is therefore quite natural that she has made the Loire Valley Lodges a permanent exhibition place for artists, whose works take their place among the trees.
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