What is a Centre-based Holiday? Accommodation and meals are provided at a single hotel from where walking and cycling routes are organised, rather than following the traditional model of a hotel-to-hotel walking or cycling holiday.
There are Two Essential Criteria for choosing a Centre-based walking or cycling holiday.
Le Moulin du Chemin ticks all the boxes for both the Criteria.
1. A brilliant place to stay.
2. Delightful, interesting and varied countryside.
The region is quite unusual in France – rolling hills, pastures, woods and orchards, criss-crossed by hundreds of kilometres of tracks, paths and country lanes, with ancient hedgerows and crystal clear streams – gorgeous countryside for walking and cycling as well as horse riding and bird watching.
The region's distinctive nature is owed to the 'Amorican Massive' – the geology which also underlies the rugged west Irish coast, the beauty of England's Devon and Cornwall, Brittany's wild coastline in northern France and the Pays de Gâtine - the region of le Moulin du Chemin in western France.
The are many excellent opportunities to explore in different directions. Three paths start(*) at le Moulin du Chemin, within 500m each of the paths split, leading to many further interesting routes and varying terrains(**).
accommodation and facilities
food and wine
food for vegetarians
based on an average of guests' evaluations
Centre-based walking and cycling holidays based at the celebrated le Moulin du Chemin are more relaxed and less stressful because there is no daily necessity to repack and unpack or to reach a different hotel each day, and there are other benefits too........
Centre-based holidays: More Versatile
If the weather is less than perfect (God forbid!), you don't have to walk or cycle in the rain to the next hotel. There is plenty of local history, culture and nature to visit and things to see instead. Or you can curl up and read a book at le Moulin, until the weather brightens.
By day three or so, some walkers and cyclists begin to flag. In this case, there is no obligation to walk to the next hotel (or to cheat and take a taxi). Routes can be tailored to suit your needs (shorter, or if you wish, longer). Tailoring walks is obviously precluded if you are obliged to walk from one hotel to another. Alternatively, if the walking is becoming too much for you, you can have a lazy day by the pool or visit a place of interest.
Le Moulin is ideal for parties with a non-walking or non-cycling member, who can 'potter' at le Moulin or follow a different holiday pursuit.
"It exceeded our already high expectations and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We were impressed with your attention to detail - the programme of walks was excellent - and your unrelenting commitment to making us feel at home. The meals and the wines - all splendid! - were memorable as was the ambience of Le Moulin itself."
Centre-based holidays: More Amicable
As a couple or on your own, evening meals on holiday can be a bit isolated, even in the most inviting restaurants. The extra spur that a bigger group can bring to the evening's enjoyment is missing. Not so at le Moulin. Convivial evening meals at le Moulin are relaxed and leisurely with guests and hosts at a single large table where each individual is made to feel welcome.
Centre-based holidays: Less 'Touristy'
Get to know the le Moulin's friendly chickens (if you want!)
The picture shows
le Moulin's neighbour Pierro (middle),
Pierro's nephew Bernard (top) and
Bernard's son Steve
picking cherries with
Jess the Border Collie and
Bernard's John Deere.
(**) You were right when you the thought passed through your mind that even though three separate paths start(*) at le Moulin, some duplication of routes is inevitable.
(The following sounds like a red-herring, but be assured, it is not.) To local inhabitants 'The Worst Type of Tourists' appear merely as shadowy faces behind the darkened windows of tour buses. This is an anomaly because tourists of all types visit foreign places for the culture, and local inhabitants represent a region's current-culture. This is not to criticise 'The Worst Type of Tourists', God bless them - the dark windowed tour buses are the only way they they know to visit a strange land.
Baring this in mind, while on holiday at le Moulin if you were to find that you were suddenly walking or cycling in familiar territory, the local inhabitants would recognise you and would be pleased to exchange words with you. In this case you would certainly not one of 'The Worst Type of Tourist' but instead you would be a well-liked and respected as part of what goes on in this corner of the French countryside. Thus, you would be an 'Esteemed visitor', which is the most laudable type of tourism. (.... convoluted or what?)
(*) The said paths are said to start at le Moulin because, in the perspective of the residents of le Moulin (poor souls, some will say), le Moulin du Chemin is the Centre of the Whole Universe.
Centre-based holidays: Less Stressful
At le Moulin you unpack at the beginning of the week and repack at the end - none of the daily repacking and unpacking of a hotel to hotel holiday.
No worries about finding the route to the next hotel.
Holiday firms make a huge effort to find the best hotels for the money. Inevitably, when selecting several hotels on a particular route the odd dodgy hotel cannot be avoided. With le Moulin's wonderful walking, cycling, exceptional hospitality and excellent accommodation there are no doubts in this respect.
"Carolynn and Peter obviously have a deep passion for the quality of the service delivered to guests at le Moulin du Chemin. Their passion shows itself in the attention that attention that is paid to each small detail that goes to a their create wonderful and memorable holidays."
Centre-based holidays: More Variety
Going from hotel to hotel, the regional specialty dish can become a bit tiresome every night for a week. Well meaning hotel chefs, working within the budget set for them by the firm that organised the holiday, are likely to offer the regional speciality. It stands to reason - local ingredients are of good quality because they grow well in a particular region. Because they grow well they are of good quality and plentiful and because they are plentiful they are inexpensive. Most walking and some cycling holidays don't cover enough distance to get out of one region and into another. Le Moulin's superb cuisine provides each evening varied enticing starters, different superb speciality main dishes, an array of cheeses followed by one of Carolynn's famous puddings.
How Centre-based Holidays Evolved. Organised holidays evolved following Thomas Cook's 'Grand Circular Tours of Europe' in the second half of the 19th Century. Walking holidays, where the participants walk from hotel to hotel, evolved in the late 19th and 20th Centuries. In the mid-20th Century single-centre skiing holidays became popular followed by and sea, sex and sun package holidays. The proprietors believe that le Moulin du Chemin pioneered the first formally organised self-guided centre-based walking and cycling holidays, in the 1990's.
- Walking, Cycling and Relaxing Holidays Most Definitely out of the Ordinary -