Stevenson Trail - Stage 1 Auvergne
Le Puy to Chasseradès - Stage 1
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson published 'Travels with a Donkey', an account of his intriguing journey accompanied by his donkey, Modestine. Starting at the southern end of the Massif Central, this walk takes you across the Cevennes to the edge of the Midi.
You can choose to begin this holiday on any day of the week.
Itinerary & Hotels
Arrival Le Puy day 1
Le Puy has a wealth of religious history and several beautiful buildings including the cathedral and the Romanesque chapel of St Michel de L’Aiguille perched 80m high on a pinnacle of rock - the Rocher St. Michel.
The 3 star Hotel Bristol, located close to the historic centre of Le Puy-en-Velay, is a great base for discovering the town's historic buildings and fascinating museums. It is just a short walk to the Cathedral where there is a daily service of blessing the pilgrims. A pilgrim stamp and créancile - passport is available from the cathedral sacristy. The ancient town is set in a volcanic landscape, dominated by rocky peaks rising from the valley floor. It is worth climbing the 267 steps to visit the one crowned by the Chapel of Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe.
- Soundproofed rooms, some with air-conditioning
- Flat screen TV with Canal + and Canal Satellite (3 channels)
- Hairdryer and all hospitality products provided
- Staff speak English
- Good location for exploring the historic town
A tasty buffet breakfast of croissants, pain au chocolat, crusty baguette, whole grain bread, toasts, crackers, cereals, plain and fruit yoghurt, ham, rosette, Cantal and Saint-Nectaire, plus butter, jams, spreads and honey. A wide selection of beverages including tea, coffee, chocolate, cappuccino, hot milk and juices.
Maître-Restaurateur, La Table de Félix offers a traditional menu featuring regional dishes sourced from local producers when possible.
Mesclun de salads
Foie gras en chemise de pain d’épices
Brochette de faux-filet
Cantal AOP et Bleu d’Auvergne
Le Puy to Le Monastier day 2
Today’s walk starts with a climb out of the valley, encircled by extinct volcanoes, and then descends to cross the infant Loire, passing through some enchanting scenery.
Hotel Le Provence
Le Monastier sur Gazeille
This is a typically French modern hotel in the centre of a pretty country village, with a good restaurant focusing on regional cuisine. Rooms are very comfortable, all with free WiFi.
- Swimming pool
- Family run hotel
- Attractive village centre location
- Excellent restaurant
There is an excellent restaurant serving fine, unpretentious food and making good use of local produce. The wine cellar is well stocked with some gems waiting to be discovered.
Le Monastier to St. Nicolas day 3
Stevenson bought his donkey, Modestine, in Le Monastier. Cross the Loire river at Goudet and rise out of the valley. The author got lost here; he missed the Lac du Bouchet because it is uphill of the hamlet within a flooded volcano cone.
Le Bouchet Saint Nicolas
This is a chalet-style modern hotel, run by the Villeseche family with a restaurant focusing on produce from their own farm. You will be very warmly welcomed into this rural community and get a real sense of the village and its way of life.
- Rural farm setting
- Fresh, modern rooms
- Hearty cuisine using locally sourced produce
La traditionelle charcuterie de la ferme
Le feuilleté aux cèpes
L'agneau "Noire du Velay"
Les Lentilles vertes du Puy
Les Patates au four
La Potée auvergnate
Les tartes au fruits rouges (en saison)
St. Nicolas to Pradelles day 4
Continue through wooded valleys and rough pasture, along cinder paths and farm tracks. Everything is made of local granite, from the houses and bread ovens to the crosses.
Hotel de l’Arche
This friendly hotel can be found in the medieval centre of this charming village (classed as one of the most beautiful in France). Rooms here are very comfortable, all with free WiFi. The restaurant is excellent and breakfast is also served here.
- Attractively located hotel, with easy access to this charming village
- Comfortable modern rooms
- Excellent restaurant
There is a fine panoramic dining room - a great spot to enjoy spectacular sunsets. Meals here make good use of local produce and are accompanied by fine wines.
Pradelles to Cheylard L’Evêque day 5
Today’s undulating walk crosses the remote and vast plain of Margaride. The church bells here, like so many in the region, are not housed in a tower. This makes them louder, so in times of inclement weather the bells used to be rung to guide lost souls to the safety of the village.
Auberge le Refuge du Moure
In the heart of the Mercoire forest, on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic trail, is the Refuge du Moure, an 18th century house built of granite with local-style 'lauze' roof. Comfortable, cosy rooms, decorated in warm colours and some with patchworks made by your hosts. Genuinely warm welcome.
- Warm and friendly welcome
- Locally sourced food
- Magnificent location
The passing seasons influence the hotel's chef to create delicious original meals, using local herbs such as marjoram, sage and cardamom. There are some delicious fish dishes, and also local veal served with mushrooms, or pork with elderberry. Desserts include tarts made with wild raspberries and blueberries from the surrounding forests. Breakfasts are generous buffets.
Cheylard L’Evêque to La Bastide day 6
Follow on the route of the Roman road that leads to Marseilles, via Regordane and enter the upper reaches of the attractive Allier valley.
Hotel la Grande Halte
La Bastide St. Laurent
This is a friendly hotel located on Stevenson's route. Rooms are comfortable (all are en suite) and there is free WiFi. For more active guests, there is a small gym. La Bastide is a pleasant small town which has been visited by pilgrims and shepherds over many hundreds of years.
- Friendly small hotel in good location
- Comfortable well equipped bedrooms with free WiFi
- Restaurant with terrace
- Medaillon de Bloc de Foie Gras
- Salade Gourmande
- Panache de la Mer
- Grenouilles a la Provencale
- Truite aux Amandes
- Coq au Vin Maison
- Confit de Canard
- Fromage blanc et son coulis de fruits rouges
- Fondant a la creme de marrons
- Coupe de glaces au choix
La Bastide to Chasseradès day 7
You climb today to the highest point of this stage, opposite the source of the Allier. As you ascend over the Mourage hill you cross the watershed between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, then head down the valley to pretty Chasseradès.
Hotel des Sources
A friendly, family run hotel situated at the heart of the dramatic Margeride region, and close to the sources of the Allier, Lot and Chassezac rivers. This really is a delightful location offering a calm and pleasant stay.
- Warm and friendly welcome
- Good regional food
- Quiet location
The proprietor, a member of the "Tables Gourmandes" association, prepares a range of local specialities which discerning food-lovers will particularly appreciate.
- Salade des Sources
- Charcuterie de Pays
- Assiette de saumon fumé
- Omelette aux champignons de saison
- Cuisses de grenouilles persillade
- Tête de Veau ravigote
- Ecrevisses à l'Amoricaine
- Escargots - ma façon
- Boeuf bourguignon aux cèpes
- Entrecôte grillée
- Confit de canard
- Poulet aux écrevisses
- Viande du jour
- Dessert aux choix (nougat glacé, coupe de glace, créme caramel, dessert du jour)
Route & Location
Customise Your Holiday
Add a night's B&B in Chasserades. Please call for details.
You can choose to combine this first stage with the second stage. Please call for details.