Wild Eco Retreat is a forest retreat centre and hideaway in France nestled in a valley of interlocking spurs in the forests of Aveyron, in the south of France. It is an entirely secluded eco-run hamlet, our expanse of wild tranquillity.
An ideal retreat, a writer’s haven, an artist’s inspiration, a yogi’s sanctuary or simply a place to relax, walk, breathe the air, take in the natural beauty and experience the wild.
This place is here to be filled, lived in and enjoyed. Our ethos emphasises community spirit and communality, governed only by mutual respect and respect for our surroundings. With all that in mind, we treat our guests as our friends. We offer unusually inexpensive stays, partly because we’re here to enjoy it too. We’ll welcome you and put you up in great rooms, in stunning surroundings but we won’t be running round cleaning up after you every day…
The air here is pure and the water in the region is said to be the purest in France. The lack of light pollution guarantees you a dome of stars for a night sky and, unless you want to make some noise, you’ll rarely hear a sound to suggest that there’s a world outside.
We aim to make the hamlet as self-sufficient and environmentally friendly as possible. Our water is all sourced on the land from a spring up in the hills. All heating is either solar powered or wood fired, sustainably sourced from the land. Our electricity is currently mains fed, but we are working on reducing our reliance on the grid.
The hamlet is a cluster of six buildings, set in 80 acres of deciduous forest, amongst rolling hills and steep escarpments; all hidden in a wooded river valley in the far south of Aveyron, France’s wildest and least populated region.
The seclusion and natural surroundings make this the perfect place for a retreat, a getaway, a hideaway, a holiday or a celebration. We offer beautiful accommodation for up to ten people, with all the wild, open space, privacy and peace you could ever need.
Starting September 2015, the whole hamlet will be served by a wireless network providing easy internet access.
- MAISON D’HOTE
Originally the main house in the hamlet, the Maison D’Hote has two vast ensuite double bedrooms:
Chataignes: The Chestnut room
High ceilinged, lined with Sweet Chestnut wood, King-sized double bed and an additional single bed hidden in its own raised alcove. Undoubtedly the best views in the hamlet.
Cerise: The Cherry Room
A large beautiful double/twin or triple bedroom with a walkout onto a private veranda for morning coffee, sun soaking or star gazing.
Downstairs is the communal space; kitchen, huge living/dining room or workshop space and veranda. Hot water and heating are provided through our central furnace, using the wood from the land. Your drinking and washing water comes straight from the spring, through a filtering system and in to the Mason D’Hote.
- THE GITE
A self-contained space, the Gite is a cottage dating from the early 1800s.
Downstairs is the open plan kitchen and living room, with wood burner, dining table, a large (very comfortable) two seater sofa and the solar shower room with separate WC.
Your drinking and washing water come straight from the spring, through a filtering system and in to the Gite.
Chestnut steps take you up to the mezzanine bedroom, with Queen-size double bed and a doorway out onto your own raised veranda. The Gite also has an optional children’s bed and a double bunk bed. Perfect for two but great for groups and families as well.
- THE POOL ROOM
This room is our extra self-contained double. Under the Main House, it is a little cave-like but it’s a perfectly lovely room and it has a beautiful ensuite shower-room, lined in local slate, is very cool in the summer, has a private entrance and best of all is right next to the swimming pool.
We’re not a registered camp site as yet… but French rules allow for up to five tents on site, as Camping de Ferme.
If you want a wilder experience under canvas, pick a spot and pitch. Stunning views from the Mint Field, pasture land down by the river, a stream side forest clearing or the heart of the woods, your choice.
We’re working on composting toilets, outdoor showers and placing yurts and bell tents too, watch for updates, but in the meantime be aware, this is a seriously wild option.
We have a great choice of communal spaces within and around the hamlet, inside and out, making the venue adaptable for hosting a wide range of retreats, courses or celebrations.
The Maison D’Hote communal space, a vast room lined with original French windows, that maximise light, and floored with antique chestnut, can comfortably accomodate large groups. Alternatively, there’s the more intimate space and galleried mezzanine of Les Cygnes.
Outside, again there are large and small open spaces from the expanse of the Mint Field, nestled in the hills, to the Sycamore shade just above the hamlet and the Hammock Garden in the hamlet itself.
Of course, the forest itself is a huge space for hiking or biking, forestry, tree-surgery or foraging courses.
If you’re an instructor, course, retreat or select party organiser and you have an idea and want to see if we can host it, please get in touch.
Once you’re here, it’s easy to do nothing but…
The hamlet is situated amongst 80 acres of its own mature broadleaf forest, which itself is surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland.
Clearings in the forest and outcrops overlooking the valley provide perfect peace and stunning views for yoga workshops and meditation. Stroll through nature and enjoy total privacy and calm.
Trails lead off into the trees and hills and there are countless options for walking, hiking and mountain biking. Follow wild boar runs into the deep wild, explore the stream bed and find the ruins at La Jasse, scale the escarpments for views that stretch for miles.
Lounge by the pool and swing in the hammock garden.
Take the river walk to our local village, enjoy the bars, visit Le Musée des Artes Buissonniers, stock up on Gaillac, artisan beer and fresh bread from the village shop.
While you’re in Wild Eco Retreat Centre, you can take a trip to…
- Fresh Water Lake beaches at Lac de Raviege and Lac de Laouzas.
- The Mediterranean beaches near Beziers, especially the miles of sand and blue sea of the famous Cap D’Agde.
- Albi, the city birthplace of Toulouse Lautrec and visit the museum of his art and the famous Cathar Cathedral.
- The hot springs at Lacaune.
- The white waters of the breathtaking Tarn Gorges.
- The fortress city of Carcassonne.
- The cafés and squares of Millau and Norman Foster’s spectacular viaduct, the world’s tallest bridge.
- The winding back roads of Aveyron, seeking the menhirs and dolmens of the region’s rich neolithic past.
- Horse riding at Belmont sur Rance.