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THE GUIDE QUIRKY ACCOMMODATION 2019


canopy above. And don’t forget to set your alarm so that you are up in time to enjoy a magical sunrise the following morning. €399 for two people for one night. www.picdumidi.com


15. Citadelle Vauban ‘Hôtel- Musée’


Spend the night watching the stars at the Pic du Midi astronomical research station


12. Hôtel Le Château Fort de Sedan


Wooden huts in the heart of Saleve


Located in Haute-Savoie, between Annecy and Geneva, and 30 minutes from Geneva airport, come and discover a set of spa huts like nothing you have seen before.


Experience a luxurious spa hut with Jacuzzi in the trees more than 4 meters high, in a spa hut in Fuste, or in the heart of a Finnish Kota.


Share an unusual weekend of charm in the heart of the Forest of the Saleve with panoramic view of the Geneva basin and the Jura.


info@lescabanesdusaleve.fr Tel : + 33647 42 05 64


WWW.LESCABANESDUSALEVE.FR


Construction began in 1424 and it took a century and a half to build. When you see how big it is, that won’t come as a surprise. At a mighty 35,000m2


, the


imposing Château Fort de Sedan in the Ardennes (Grand Est) on the banks of the Meuse town of Sedan is the largest building of its kind anywhere in Europe. Its size means that for today’s visitor there is plenty of room for a 54-room hotel within its grounds – this is a luxury escape with genuine medieval


UNPLUG * RELAX * UNWIND


atmosphere and history echoing through the corridors. Rooms at the Hôtel Le


Just mention FRANCE TODAY when booking for 2019 via our website


10% OFF www.quirkycamping.com


Château Fort provide views over the castle’s courtyard and the city’s rooftops and range from double or twin to superior and family suite – all of which are stylish and elegant. Expect a perfect ‘knight’s’ sleep! The castle itself is open for tours, falconry and riding displays as well as seasonal pyrotechnical shows. www.hotel-lechateaufort.fr


A glamping holiday where you can reconnect with nature www.quirkycamping.com 146 ❘ FRANCE TODAY Dec/Jan 2019


13. Maison Saint-François For a spiritual break in delightful environs, head for a calming stay at Maison Saint-François, located above a pretty cove near the city centre of Dinard (Ille-et-Vilaine) on Brittany’s Emerald Coast. The property has been


inhabited and run by members of the Foyer de Charité de Tressaint since 1991 and daily


communal events include morning or evening prayers. Visitors old and young are welcome to join in with community life – be that relaxation or liturgy. Meanwhile, groups can stay outside the summer season, for a day or more of work and prayer sessions, spiritual weekends, hiking trips and more. All stays are full-board with home-cooked meals, while the 70 rooms comprise of singles, doubles and family quarters. From €52 per person per night for adults. www.maison-saint-francois.com


14. Pic du Midi de Bigorre The Pic du Midi de Bigorre, which sits 2,877 metres up in the French Pyrénées, serves not only as an important astronomical research observatory but also as a magnificent tourist destination for starry-eyed sky watchers. Head up in the daytime for a striking view of the 300km of snowy caps laid out before you (hold your breath on the new 10m walkway in the sky!) or wait until evening before taking the téléphérique up to the top. Choose between a sunset session of hushed skyward peering (la soirée étoilée) or, better still, on certain days in the year, book yourself in for a night’s stay. Settle in to your own simple yet cosy room before enjoying welcome cocktails and a hearty meal, followed by a guided tour of the star-filled


Immerse yourself in history and touch walls imagined by the greatest military engineer France has ever known, by booking a stay at the country’s first ever ‘Hotel-Museum’. Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban was Louis XIV’s go-to defensive wall man and he remodelled the fort at Belle-Île-en-Mer at the end of the 17th century to protect this strategically coveted island off the Morbihan coast.


Slightly easier to breach these days, with a simple online booking, is the top quality hotel and restaurant, full of charm and character and overlooking the harbour. It has an array of rooms to choose from, including the Quartier des Majors on the third floor and the Quartier Amirauté. Quartier des Majors from €145 Quartier Amirauté from €220. www.citadellevauban.com


16. Safari lodge, Zoo La Flèche Once the crowds have drifted home, the Zoo de La Flèche, in


the Vallée du Loir, dares a hardy few to a sleepover with its fearsome menagerie – albeit from the safety of swanky safari lodges built right in the middle of the animals’ enclosures.


Hunker down inches from white tigers, nibble on Michelin- star snacks while playing peekaboo with polar bears, or stare down a pack of wolves from the piping jacuzzi… The wild critters are within peeking – and chomping – range from virtually every nook of the intimate hygge-style dens (and yes, the loos too). It’s not for the skittish, but where else can you catnap nose-to-snout with the world’s deadliest predators and live to tell the tale? From €149 per person per night based on four people staying together in the Univers Malgache. www.safari-lodge.fr


17. Villa Cheminée Inspired by the town’s cloud- piercing power station – nicknamed ‘Le Château de Fer’ (The Iron Castle) – this 15-metre-high replica is a striking stamp on the Loire riverbank. Perhaps most bizarre, though, is the humble, canary- yellow gîte you will see squatting at its summit. Like something plucked from a fantasy cartoon,


QUIRKY ACCOMMODATION 2019 THE GUIDE


Unusual stay IN MORZINE!


Head in the stars, come and enjoy a unique experience in one of our bubbles in the heart of the mountains.


A breathtaking view of the Morzine mountains, near the Mines d’Or lake.


WWW.BULLES-MINESDOR.COM LACS DES MINES D’OR , 7111 ROUTE DE LA MANCHE, 74110 MORZINE, FRANCE


❯❯


Share your sleeping space with the polar bears at Zoo de la Flèche Dec/Jan 2019 FRANCE TODAY ❘ 147


IMAGES © PIC DU MIDI, ZOO DE LA FLÈCHE


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