France holiday for solo travellers
Description of France holiday for solo travellers
2024: 7 Apr, 21 Apr
Travelling by train:
Travellers by train take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord (3hr 30mins). Cross Paris by Metro (30mins), Bus (30mins) or Taxi to Paris Gare Montparnasse. TGV (fast train) from Montparnasse to Niort (2hrs). A transfer service collects guests at Niort train station for the journey by car to the Maison d’Hôte (40mins). The transfer service is generally without charge in both directions. Eurostar and TGV travel tends to be less expensive for earlier reservations. Alternatively, The Folkestone EuroTunnel terminal is accessible from M25 and M20 exit 11A. Le shuttle journey time to Calais is 35 minutes. Calais to the Maison d’Hôte is a 6½ hour drive on free flowing motorways. To shorten the journey, it can be an attractive extension to your holiday to stop-over in France - there is a wealth of appealing localities between Calais and la Maison d’Hôte. The proprietors of la Maison d’Hôte will be pleased to forward directions.
We have four Bernese Mountain Dogs who are loved by our guests once they meet them. However, if any guest is concerned about their presence, we have kennels and runs where the dogs can happily go while our guests are enjoying their time here. No dogs are allowed in the kitchen or dining areas. Our dogs are walked regularly and spend part of their year in the UK as they are show and breeding dogs so it is unusual for them all to be here at the same time. Please let us know if you have any concerns and we will make appropriate plans for them.
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We actively encourage people to travel to us by train, arriving via Paris to our local railway station in Niort.
Over the winter (2023) we are embarking on a major project to install solar panels for our electricity supply and a massive wood burning unit to supply heating throughout the house. The wood will come from our own fallen trees found across our 15 acres of pasture and ancient woodland. This will take us 'off grid' in the future.
Alll our food is locally sourced, much from our own resources (we have our own free range chicken for fresh eggs and our own market garden which supplies many of the vegetables used in our menus0. We offer both vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals. We have also planted an orchard in 2022 which will help with carbon capture as well as providing fruit for our guests and for our popular range of jams and pickles.
ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE
We are working hard to encourage wildlife on to our property. We have a wildlife webcam that shows we have wild boar, badgers, red squirrels, foxes and deer in abundande. We have installed butterfly and insect houses, hedgehog houses and many bird boxes to encourage nesting birds. In 2022 and 2023 we have families of house martins and swallows nesting here, We also have tawny, little and screech owls and have placed a tawny owl box high up in a tree not far from our pool area.
Our river is monitored closely by the local water authority who put more than 3000 young trout into the water every year. We ensure no chemical run off into this river which is also home to water boatment, butterflies and damsel flies.
We do all we can to support the local community surrounding our property by buying and sourcing as much produce as possible locally. This enables us to spread the tourist income to those most in need. For example we rear our own free-range chicken, we buy our beef from our neighbours local Parthenay cattle and we support local co-ops and individuals who grow vegetables on our behalf as we are busy establishing our own market garden. When taking visitors to the nearby Marais Poitevin we employ local guides on the boat trips. We also take our guests to local markets and to gift/craft shows weekly so they can buy products and produce to support the local community.
EMPLOYMENT, INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY
We employ local staff from the community, both in cleaning and maintenance rolls. We always pay our team more than the average wage, cover their holiday time and give them bonuses where applicable.
Our trips are all LGBTQ+ friendly. and recycle everything we can - whether that's food waste (which we keep to a minimum) or garden waste. Our recycling options are our family dogs, our chicken and as a last resort, our compost heap! Wherever possible we support local animal charities. We are busy establishing our own shop where we will showcase local crafts made in the community and sell them to our guests.
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