L'Etoile Maison d'hôtes

Reciprocal invitation and exchange ideas between Midginbil Hill in Uki New South Wales Australia and L'Etoile in La Bastide Puylaurent Lozere France

Echanges Internationaux entre Aubergistes国际旅店交换概念


Midginbil Hill Country Resort- 400 acres of botanical garden

Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW Australia


1 Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW Australia2 Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW AustraliaSwimming pool, tennis court and colonial Homestead (circa 1904) of style; flowers, birds, impressive trees and lots of space. Even though there is a high level of comfort at the inn, the inn keepers always maintain an adventurous Australian spirit.

They own a big Troop Carrier, get up every morning at 6 am, always smiling and welcoming. Annette and John are true hosts, everything is tastefully settled and without excess. They have worked for 25 years on this magnificent property. A sort of peaceful island in the country. They draw their energy from Australia's 200 year old history or maybe from the authentic natural environment of this area.  John, the farmer, runs a herd of 80 breeding cows - Droughtmasters - an Australian breed developed from Devon, Shorthorn and Brahman strains for beef production. John also manages the herd of 20 horses, specially chosen for their calm temperament to enable the children and other guests to safely enjoy, possibly their first experience of horseriding.

John and Annette Flower will come to La Bastide Puylaurent in June or next September. They will soon retire and will take their time to travel at their ease; 2, 3 or even 6 months. Already, I speak to them about La Garde-Guerin with her medieval tower of Xl century and about les Vans, a town full of charm and sun between Ardeche and the Gard.

Unlike, Peter and Sherry, they do not have domestic animals. It is true, as says Annette, that a dog and a cat in the area would frighten away the birds and other native animals like wallabies, {small kangaroos} echidnas and bush turkeys. (And birds are lovely creatures with their colours and all their songs.) Midginbil Hill is an accredited Ecotourism property where guests come to learn about, appreciate and to sustain the environment. We must live in harmony with nature.

At the top of the hill, under this immense tree, a Moreton Bay Fig, John Flower dismounts from his horse and puts one knee on the ground and as if by intuition, he looks for a track. The photographer was ready and there was a great luminosity at the end of the day to take the perfect picture and the cliche ...... successful.


Welcome to Midginbil Hill!

3 Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW AustraliaBeautiful professional kitchen with a big cold room; sunny, simplistic and spacious dining room with a floor of beautiful exotic wood - Australian Teak, Flindersia australis. The balcony or rather the deck is a place for perfect relaxation. There, some sentences come to me in the spirit of finding a good key to open a good door; the exchanges give me the possibility of opening a very nice door and of reaching a lasting relationship.

4 Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW AustraliaAnnette and John have to prove nothing more, they are themselves. There are a dozen casual employees who live locally, to help them to manage school camps of young Australian students which can go to 120 young people, or Japanese students groups in their Summer holidays, . What fun! Annette has a generous smile, and enables everyone to give the best of themselves and to participate wholeheartedly. She is the kind of remarkable woman who is always striving forwards and improving everything that she touches.

There are also these 8 bedrooms, very pleasant, looking onto the flowery gardenfor people from all countries.

We visit a small restaurant at the seaside situated a half an hour from Midginbil Hill, served by two beautiful smiling boys and although we were the only customers we're given a five star service. John laughs and Caroline feels like she is in paradise. Another small glass of this very good southern Australian wine.

Annette and John, look forward to discovering the true France; this France about which one speaks so little. Finally they are not to be taken for "customers" or "tourists" but friends, guests and colleagues. I feel that I can answer their wait (expectation) and they can rely on me.


6 Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW AustraliaTomorrow week we are off to France for 5 weeks, flying from Brisbane via Tokyo and Moscow to Paris. On the return journey, after spending 5 nights in Paris we have a 2 night/3 day stopover in Moscow which should be very different from anywhere else we've ever been to, then we have 12 daytime hours in Tokyo.

5 Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW AustraliaAfter arriving we catch a high speed train to Lyon and then a local train to a village called La Bastide-Puylaurent which is in the mountain country of the Cevennes between Lyon and the Mediterranean, north of Provence. Here we will be staying with our friend, Philippe who visited us twice at Midginbil.

He runs a Gite (Inn) for walkers who stay there while walking particularly the GR®70, the trail followed by Robert Louis Stevenson for 2 months in 1878 with his donkey, Modestine. He subsequently wrote the book 'Travels with a donkey in the Cevennes'. I think the trail is about 220km long. We hope to walk stages of it by catching local transport to return to the gite which is called L'Etoile, which of course you will remember from your French days at school, means The star.

He started an "Innkeepers' Exchange" several by emailing owners of small guesthouses, first of all in the US and then in Canada, Australia, Poland and Morocco. As he only works for 4 months of the year, and is a flamboyant bachelor, the rest of the year he has free accommodation in different parts of the world in exchange for a similar visit to L'Etoile. Great idea if you only work 4 months of the year: hence our long awaited trip to France. Following our time with Philippe we will enjoy rural France, especially the food and the wine!! Local knowledge when we get there will point us in the right directions, I'm sure, but they will probably include Provence, maybe Marseilles, the Loire Valley and following the trails of the painters.  More anon no doubt.


We had a good trip to Amsterdam with no problems. Went to the Tourist Bureau and they booked us a double room at a Backpackers Hotel in a central spot. Went to the van Gogh and Rikjsmuseum  and many other wonderful places with an "Iamsterdam" pass and ate lots of great food. We stayed there 4 nights and booked into a B&B in Edam, a half hour bus ride to the north. We stayed there for 3 nights and used the B&B's bikes to do 2 day rides of 25 and 40 kms both north and south of Edam. Like Brugge, the architecture in Amsterdam and the small towns was fantastic. After Edam we went by train to Paris for 5 nights and adored Paris. Would like to have been there for a lot longer, so perhaps we'll have to return there, as well as to our favourite place, L'Etoile.

7 Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW AustraliaMoscow was awesome and the English speaking guide was excellent and the accommodation was in a building like a Palace. The architecture in Moscow was spectacular and colourful and the economy there is thriving. Thy have a fair way to go, though, to catch up with other countries with their food and with their public relations. They haven't really learnt, yet, about using "charm" in tourism.

8 Exchange with Midginbil Hill Uki Murwillumbah NSW AustraliaPhilippe, we had a wonderful trip with many contrasting experiences. Without you to be the focus of our trip, we'd probably not have gone at all! What a shame that would have been. Thank you for all you did for us. We loved staying at L'Etoile and seeing with our own eyes how you manage, magically, to run L'Etoilesingle handed and cook such delicious 5 course meals every night including your home made bread! It was great visiting Pierre at La Garde-Guerin, Elizabeth at St Laurent les Bains and the Abbey Notre Dame des Neiges and getting the wine and the cheese and dropping off the guests' gear and riding down the Pied de Borne was a highlight for me, especially.

Walking for the 2 days on the GR®70 Stevenson's Trail was unforgettable. So many high points, including sitting out on your verandah having a beer/wine before dinner and enjoying your stories and your sense of humour. Also to travel with you to Brussels (and go to Mercier Champagne at Epernay and be lucky enough to be in the area during the picking season) and to be welcomed so warmly by your 2 brothers and family was very special. I could go on and on and will when I write my story for you. It will have to wait for a while as things are busy for me until after Xmas but I won't forget to do it.

Please say Hi to Serge and Deria, and to Daniel, and also to Annette if you are in touch with her. I enjoyed her company and that of your other guests especially Denis and Maree-Edith. She tried so hard to communicate with me using her schoolgirl English. I promised I would write to her which will be fun. Must go, Philippe. We will always have very special memories of our time with you and look forward to you visiting us again in Australia. Keep in touch. Fond regards,

Annette and John Flower, Midginbil Hill, Uki, New South Wales, Australia - Map Annette and John, Midginbil Hill, Uki New South Wales Australia


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L'Etoile Guest-House between Cevennes, Ardeche and Lozere in the South of France

Old romantic Hotel, L'Etoile Guest-House is a mountain retreat in the South of France. With a beautiful park along the Allier River, L'Etoile Guesthouse is located in La Bastide-Puylaurent between Lozere, Ardeche and Cevennes. Many hiking trails like GR®7, GR®70 Stevenson trail, GR®72, GR®700 Regordane way, Cevenol, GR®470 Allier river, Margeride. Many hiking loops. The right place to relax.