France wellbeing holiday

“Spend a restorative week enjoying fresh air, exercise and warm hospitality at a welcoming maison d’hote in rural France, rounding off each day with a sociable en famille dinner, great wine and conversation.”


Centre-based holiday at a super little Maison d’Hôte | idyllic surroundings in a leafy valley | naturally oxygen-rich fresh air | lack of all kinds of pollution | a place to banish stress | leisurely en-famille evening meals | superb cuisine from wholesome raw ingredients | excellent wines | exceptional hospitality | wonderful atmosphere | walking and cycling also available | relaxation a speciality | civilised picnic at le Beugnon lakes | price includes all meals and drinks

Description of France wellbeing holiday

Take a break from life and restore your mental and physical equilibrium on this six-night wellness holiday in France, based at a welcoming Maison d’Hôte (guesthouse) where bien-être is a way of life. Mental equilibrium is linked to nutrition, health and environment, and each of these factors is effortlessly taken care of on this wellness holiday. Enjoy spending lots of time in the fresh air, in a peaceful, rural part of France, walking, cycling, horse riding or simply relaxing, before enjoying the wholesome cuisine served at the Maison d'Hôte each day. Fresh, whole and, wherever possible, organic ingredients are used, skilfully prepared and presented, with processed foods avoided.

Your Maison d’Hôte base is in a deeply rural pocket of France that’s nevertheless easy to access by rail, air, car and ferry. It’s a harmonious, healthy environment that promotes wellness, according to the classical principles of Feng Shui. You’ll experience exceptional hospitality here. The bonhomie and house-party like feel is an outstanding feature of each holiday, as important as the activities enjoyed each day, and something guests always comment on warmly. This has a lot to do with evening aperitifs at seven followed by a leisurely en famille meal with superb food, excellent wine, lively conversation and a marvellous ambiance.

This region of France is wonderfully restorative. Enjoy its birdsong, clear streams and tumbling water, butterflies and wild flowers. If you’d like to explore, there are also many sites of historic, cultural and natural interest nearby that you can visit. Then head home restored, both physically and mentally.

Six-night wellness holidays start most Sunday afternoons from May to September. The trip price includes absolutely everything! All breakfasts, packed lunches, aperitifs and leisurely four-course en famille evening meals with excellent wines are included, as are all drinks – coffee, tea, tisanes, beer, cider, soft drinks and wine. There are no extras to pay for on this holiday – even the postcards are free!

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Check dates, prices & availability

27 Sep 2020
excluding flights
6 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Sep 2020 departure
11 Oct 2020
excluding flights

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

As residents at a rural Maison d'Hôte (Guest House) your hosts Carolynn Grimaldi and Peter Roche are committed to an ethical and moral responsibility to minimise negative impacts and maximise benefits with respect to the the environment. The ways in which this is done is outlined below.

Avoid detriment to the natural environment. Wellbeing (bien-être) is a feature of rural life in the region. Against this background, the activities undertaken by guests at the Maison d'Hôte include walking, cycling and simply relaxing as well as bird watching, horse-riding, painting, etc, in the delightful countryside. Guests also visit local places of historical, cultural and natural interest and indulge in an abundance of wholesome local food and excellent wines and soak-up the wonderful rural ambiance. None of these activities has a significant adverse effect on the environment.

Avoid harm to the balance of bio-diversity. Local biodiversity is unlikely to be harmed by these holidays. The permanent population is sparse; the guest capacity of the Maison d'Hôte is limited to ten, whereas the region is vast and verdant. The balance of good soil fertility, plenty of sunshine and enough rainfall ensures that any minor upsets to local natural state are rapidly reconciled. Natural habitats are not under pressure as a result this holiday.

Preservation of local watercourses in natural state. A charter for the preservation of watercourses in their natural state engages the Auberge and local farmers in avoidance of watercourse-pollution and in watercourse-maintenance to encourage bio-diversity. The wide ranging charter includes an undertaking not to use pesticides and herbicides on land adjacent to watercourses and not to clear natural growth from along the banks, to encourage natural habitat for aquatic and land plants and animals.

Use local produce as far as possible to minimise food miles. Food miles in respect of the superb cuisine at the Auberge are relatively very favourable, thus minimising transportation pollution. A quantity of fresh vegetables is supplied from the nearby garden of Pierrot (we assure you that he is aware of this). Organic beef comes from Bernard who farms adjacently. Other ingredients are local as far as possible. Non-local produce comes from other parts of France and unavoidably imported food is from not too distant Spain and Morocco.
The generous quantities of excellent wine served at le Moulin (and included in the price) are local, from the Loire, Anjou, Fiefs Vendéen and other wine producing areas within France. Thus the wine-miles may also be considered to be quite favourable. A Merlot sometimes served on this holiday is transported by road tanker from the Pays d'Oc, in the south-east of France, to nearby Niort where it is bottled. The wine is not harmed by this and the fact of transportation in road tankers rather than in palletized bottles provides a significant saving in the number of truck miles involved, with obvious benefits.

Little things make a difference if enough people are willing to make similar efforts. Here are some small environmentally friendly things that happen on this holiday.
- We advocate consumption of less meat as a means to lessen the significant impact of greenhouse gasses from cattle and sheep production (although if you wish we will still serve you plenty of meat).
- An energy efficient fridge filled with beer, cider, soft drinks and wine is always at the free disposal of guests. The fridge also contains small bottles of mineral water, because small bottles are easy to carry. Guests are asked to refill the small bottles with the very drinkable piped water supplied from the barrage at Mervent (this water has been recycled by Nature, not by Lyonnais des Eaux). Refilling the bottles saves energy and pollution in plastic manufacture, disposal and transportation.
- Most journeys on behalf of the Maison d'Hôte are made using a hybrid car.
- Waste arising from the holiday operation is fed to the free range chickens on site, or if they won’t eat it, it is composted or recycled in conformity with the stringent requirements of the European Authorities.
- Winter heating is mainly by logs (ie renewable energy) cut from woods on the site, thereby eliminating the environmental impact of transporting the energy source.
- The postlady collects as well as delivers mail, thus eliminating the need for numerous individual journeys to the village post office.
- Packed lunches are provided in bio-degradable bags.
- The pool is heated as necessary by an energy efficient heat pump.

If you are a city dweller, your carbon footprint could well be more if you stay at home rather than when you are away on this holiday. This obviously depends upon where and how you live, but bear in mind you will be on holiday, pottering about on foot, on a bike or just pottering about in a rural idyll which has no need for a carbon emitting infrastructure.

The Impacts of this Trip

Your hosts Carolynn Grimaldi and Peter Roche are committed to an ethical and moral responsibility to support the community of which the Maison d'Hôte is part. Some details of what this intails follows below.

The Maison d'Hôte was established in 1993 at a time when rural communities in the region had declined for fifty-years due to lack of economic activity. The already sparse population had diminished by up to 65%. Creation of local employment became an official objective to revitalise these communities.

The small-scale fruit farming, timber exploitation and cattle production that exist in the region are insufficient to support enough population to sustain local communities. The area is attractive to visitors on account of the idyllic timelessness of the countryside and the wealth of local places of historic, cultural and natural interest. Tourism is officially seen as a means of generating additional economic activity, by attracting visitors to the region, thereby creating tourist infrastructure jobs to help revive and invigorate local communities.

Large amounts of public money have been invested in recent years in restoring some significant historic sites to attract visitors to help support the otherwise declining community. The ideas to make the restorations come alive are dynamic, with large doses of French flair, and the restoration work is sympathetically achieved. These sites are worth making an effort to see and your visit will be appreciated.

The Auberge is family owned and operated within a rural community, and all revenues (with the exception of external marketing costs) are eventually expended within the community. Apart from the exception, all expenditures incurred to make this holiday possible are beneficial to the local community. Livelihoods of local suppliers and artisans are enhanced due to the fact that all resources in connection with this holiday are local, as follows.
- Staff in connection with provision of meals, drinks and housekeeping services is local.
- Food and drinks provided for the holiday are purchased locally and much of it is local produce.
- The holiday facilities have been acquired by an investment in the local community.
- Materials and labour for maintenance and development of the holiday facilities are procured locally.

The single centre holidays offered by the Maison d'Hôte have many advantages relative to hotel to hotel holidays more generally offered. One of the pleasures of spending a number of days in one place is that you become acquainted with the friendly local people. Amongst those you may meet are Pierrot and Monique who live nearby and grow vegetables, Old Farmer Pierre Thomas in his garden at the next mill upstream, Marcel Richard with his magnificent Parthenaise cows, Bernard who organically rears Limousin cows on the adjacent farm and Alain who tends the roadside verges. You will feel more like a part of the community and less like a tourist. In the region around the Maison d'Hôte , if you mention where you are staying, the reaction of the locals lets you know you are welcome.

The presence of the Maison d'Hôte in this remote rural community, and the guests this holiday brings to the region, are perceived by the local inhabitants as an asset and the benefits to the local economy are well acknowledged.


3 Reviews of France wellbeing holiday

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 10 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Group meals at the house and a picnic in the sun - enjoyable and relaxed with fantastic company.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don’t be afraid to speak French to people you meet - they were all patient and delighted at my butchery of their language.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - lots of emphasis on reducing plastics, recycling, and all food and drink is locally produced.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic - relaxing and flexible enough to push yourself if you want to do a bit of exercise in between being fed delicious home cooked food and local wines. I can fully understand why many people return year after year.

Read the operator's response here:

We very much appreciate your lovely review – merci beaucoup Kathryn. With best wishes and kind regards from Peter and Carolynn.

Reviewed on 30 Jul 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The wonderful food and wine served every evening and the brilliant company if the other guests and my hosts.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I would recommend booking! If you are a solo traveller, this is a particularly lovely way to have great company but plenty of opportunity for your own space and to eat wonderful French food without the daunting restaurant setting.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I felt that every opportunity was taken to buy local food, support local agriculture and business reduce waste and reduce carbon emissions. We were even issued flasks to reduce plastic use.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of the best holidays I've ever had.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your kind observations Tamsin.
….. and you must be one of the best guests we have ever had.

Thank you in advance.

Reviewed on 20 Aug 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

tranquillity, excellent hospitality, French cuisine & Wines. Cycle rides & Wednesday's Posh Picnic

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Just try it you won't be disappointed

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Most definitely

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall Tres Magnifique. Could have had a different choice at breakfast every other day.

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