Is there a better position for a hotel in Paris than by the square in front of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame on the Île de la Cité? Yes, the hotel is located within a hospital – on the 6th floor but is quite separate except for the actual coming and going when the lift is shared with hospital staff and sometimes patients in the ophthalmic section. Wake to the chimes of the bells of Notre-Dame and order breakfast in bed. This is a clean, quiet, well located and affordable hotel where the profits are handed over to charity.
1 Place du Parvis
Île de la Cité
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 44 32 01 00
Fax: + 33 1 44 32 01 16
Photo: Hôtel-Dieu Hôpital
On the route of ‘La Regordane’, a pilgrimage trail from Le Puy-en Velay to Saint Gilles du Gard, Maison Pradier is a recently renovated 19th-century Provençal farmhouse located on a hillside in the peaceful, semi-rural outskirts of Ales. The village is situated in Languedoc-Roussillon, between the Cevennes Mountains National Park and Provence and off the beaten tourist track.
The owner, Françoise Tixier, an avid walker is a Member of the French Association des Amis de St Jacques de Compostelle. She has walked the Camino to Santiago de Compostella along the Arles Route, which is easily accessed from here. Accommodation is available in a 1 bedroomed cottage or in a 3 bedroom duplex apartment. Both options abound in French country charm and a large garden adds to the ambience.
Tourist sites nearby include the Solan Orthodox Monastery near Uzès, the La Paix-Dieu Monastery in Anduze and the Musée du Désert in Mailet which is dedicated to the history of French Protestanism.
Provence – Nice
Rhone-Alpes – St-Laurent les Bains
In the Ardèche department of the Rhone-Alpes in the south of France and between the cities of Marseilles and Clermont Ferrand lies the Abbaye Notre-Dame des Neiges. The abbey is run by Trappist monks, also known as the Cistercians of the Strict Observance. In 1878 Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson stayed at the abbey during his journey through the mountains of the Cévennes, when writing his book Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. These days the monks still welcome hikers, bushwalkers and pilgrims for overnight stays. The hospitable monks don’t charge for accommodation and donations are left to the generosity of the individual visitor. This is a working abbey and guests are asked to help with small chores.
Abbaye Notre-Dame des Neiges
07590 St-Laurent les Bains
Tel: +33 (0)4 66 46 59 00 Monday, Thursday, Friday from 10am to 12pm
Fax: +33 (0)4 66 46 59 10
Photo: Abbey guesthouse – © Abbaye Notre-Dame des Neiges.