L'Etoile Maison d'hôtes

To L’Etoile’s Rhythm

Impressions and testimonials from stays at L’Etoile Guest house跟随 L’Etoile 的节奏В ритме Л’Этуаль
To L’Etoile’s Rhythm

Fire in the fireplaceBarely arrived at La Bastide-Puylaurent station, I am welcomed by Philippe. Dressed casually, he comes to meet me with the warmth and ease that characterize him. He has taken a moment away from his kitchen, where his preparations slowly simmer. I board and embark on the adventure on the ship “L’Étoile,” with still uncertain steps. Already, hikers traversing the Cévennes from refuge to refuge, following the Stevenson trail, make their entrance onto the veranda.

I settle into room number seven, equipped with a small balcony, then descend via the spiral staircase. My knowledge of the house was limited until then, as the previous year, I had only frequented my room, the large dining room with its guest tables, a corner of the kitchen (where I occasionally cleared and washed some glasses) and the dishwashing area (where I often set the table). Philippe makes himself fully available to show me around his large home, punctuating the tour with his usual jokes.

L'Etoile's entranceThe first day, I content myself with observing, spontaneously performing a few gestures in the kitchen overlooking the Allier river, and already receive compliments. The following day, I move with persistent hesitation in this vast property whose layout I discover: the cold room impresses me, as do the kneading machine and the large basins for dishwashing. Gradually, this guesthouse bewitches me, and the large hall, evoking the art deco gallery of Salamanca in Spain, shines brightly.

The kitchen becomes a familiar and enchanting space, almost magical when Philippe sets about preparing tasty dishes, diffusing aromas that blend into the emotions and weave a peaceful and solid harmony for the rest of the evening. How can one not think of Laura Esquivel’s famous work, “Like Water for Chocolate”? And then, enjoying a meal in the kitchen gives the food a new flavor and value: the little homemade crouton of bread just out of the oven, the spoonful of cottage cheese, the delicious homemade soup, the meat accompanied by new potatoes!

The small terrace on the garden sideAnother place I immediately fall in love with is the small garden-side terrace, with its iron table and black varnished chairs. I like to have my breakfast there, lulled by the morning breeze and surrounded by the foliage of the trees and the Virginia creeper. At L’Étoile, one rediscovers authenticity, beauty, and goodness, the essentials in short, thanks to Philippe who, in addition to cooking, navigates between the guest tables and the diners. At the end of the meal, he even encourages them to participate in clearing the table, as the dishwashing area is accessible to all. It’s an entire art and concept that he strives to establish and cultivate daily. He even improvises a few melodies on the piano or sings, accompanied by his guitar, “Hotel California” or “Winslow Arizona,” with an authentic American accent, while the last customers relax in their chair savoring a Puy-en-Velay verbena infusion. For the first time, the piano piques my curiosity. I am eager to learn, and Philippe offers me my first lessons. What an adventure! I have now found my bearings on this fascinating ship, for this building has a soul, and one feels wonderfully well there.

Colette LouvelMy stay at L’Étoile was punctuated by numerous minibus excursions, each more interesting than the last, thanks to Philippe’s guidance. We had coffee at Christine’s “Villa Les Roches,” a warm Englishwoman who also runs a guesthouse in a magnificent residence near Langogne. We also visited Pierre from the Auberge Régordane in La Garde-Guérin, a medieval village overlooking the Chassezac gorges, as well as Christian from the Refuge du Moure in Cheylard-l’Évêque. I cherish the precious memory of the warm welcome from Bertrand and his daughter at the Thort cheese dairy, located on the GR®700 Voie Régordane.

Our trips to Puy en Velay were enhanced by a gourmet break at the Moroccan restaurant, where the tagine was to die for, nestled in a small pedestrian street in the city center. We filled our wine bottles in Langogne twice and stocked up on fresh fruits and vegetables – a daily luxury that not everyone can afford.

Philippe at the pianoTwo outings remain etched in my memory: a refreshing swim in the Borne river in Ardèche and the visit to the Notre Dame des Neiges Abbey, with a picturesque return partly taking the GR®7 and GR®72, where I even spotted the window and balcony of my little room.

My room, located at the very top, was a haven of sobriety and elegance. I used to linger on the balcony at night, contemplating the silent nature. The curtains remained open, as each morning revealed a new spectacle. Sometimes, the chime of the bells would wake me (a bit late), and from my bed, I would greet nature which smiled back at me, while the smoking chimney announced that Philippe was already hard at work. Good morning! A new day was dawning at L’Étoile, always under the sign of joy and good humor. A huge thank you to Philippe for these unforgettable moments of sharing aboard his ship. I was touched by his kindness and thoughtfulness.

During an escapade near Saint Laurent Les Bains, I stopped at Elisabeth’s, an artist of Wood Turning Art, whose creations in walnut, beech, rosewood, and maple are true works of art. My second stroll took me less far, with a visit planned to the Notre Dame des Neiges Abbey. I also had the pleasure of meeting friendly clients: a German family whose daughter stayed near my room, a train driver and his daughter, a mother and her two sons, as well as Sol and her husband.

So many beautiful encounters in such a short time! On the day of my departure, despite the rain at L’Étoile, we took the time to sit on the terrace. Farewell to this beautiful house, farewell to the Prince of rigor and know-how! By Colette Louvel


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.