from £1243 per person
Moulin du Chemin Charente
Moulin du Chemin
Explore the idyllic countryside of the Pays de Gâtine
Moulin du Chemin
A single-centre holiday based at le Moulin du Chemin, a wonderful little Maison d’Hôte hidden in a leafy valley in deepest rural France. Established by the present proprietors in 1993,the restored mill house dating from before 1650 is remote, undiscovered and yet easily accessible.
The idyllic region is known as le Pays de Gâtine and encompasses hundreds of miles of peaceful lanes, tracks and paths meandering among meadows, pastures, woods and orchards criss-crossed with clear streams and ancient hedgerows, rich in wildflowers butterflies, birds and other fauna – a veritable rural paradise.
- Superb cuisine, excellent wines and a wonderful ambience
- Idyllic rural environment
- Selection of self-guided walking and cycling routes to suit various abilities
- Warm hospitality and lovely surroundings
This holiday begins on selected dates. For more information, see the 'Customise your holiday' tab.
Itinerary & Hotels
Arrive at Le Moulin day 1
Arrival is after lunch on Sunday afternoon. After your journey, take the opportunity to stretch your legs on foot or by bike, to get to know the area and become orientated in new surroundings, or simply relax at le Moulin du Chemin.
Le Sentier d’Interpretation is a waymarkedshort walking circuit.
The route is quite undulating in places, so even though short, it can be invigorating – 6km (4miles)
Another short walking circuit has the possibility ofdifferent distance options. Les Jinchères Loops is an intriguing labyrinth of pleasing lanes and tracks – 4, 6 or 8km (2, 3 or 4miles)
A short cycle circuit loops to the north and to the south of le Moulin and passes through the ancient basket-weavers’ hamlet of la Faziliére – 16km (10miles)
A longer cycle circuit is le Pignon West. The route includesthe village of la-Chapelle-Thireuil –18km (11miles)
Moulin du Chemin
The earliest known date of le Moulin du Chemin is 1643 and the mill made flour until the 1950's when electricity took over from water as the energy-source for milling. The site was subsequently split between three owners - the mill building, the miller's house and farm buildings (the base of Moulin Holidays) and some adjacent parcels of land. Restoration of buildings which had fallen into disrepair commenced in the 1980's. The miller's house was acquired by Carolynn Grimaldi and Peter Roche in 1993 and has been operated by them as a holiday-centre since May 1994. The first guests came to ride horses and soon holiday activities were extended to include walking and then cycling. Relaxing has always been a feature at le Moulin du Chemin. The pretty terrace is shaded with an ancient wisteria and the heated pool is very inviting.
Guestrooms are well-appointed, each with its own individual character and en-suite bathroom or shower. Tea and coffee making resources are provided in the guestrooms as well as bathroom and pool towels, soap, hairdryers, etc.The garden, the pool and terrace and pergola, etc, are at your disposal. The pool is open April to October, pool-towels are provided and the pool temperature is maintained between 27°C-29°C.
Breakfasts and evening meals are served in le Moulin’s sunny dining room, alfresco under the pergola or at a pre-arranged picnic site. Aperitifs-at-seven are usually served under the pergola or – early and late in the season, depending on the outside temperature – in le Moulin’s lounge with a roaring log fire.
- Based at a family operated auberge in western France
- Delightful gardens
- Heated swimming pool
- Miles of secluded paths and lanes in unspoiled and varying countryside give the opportunity for delightful walking in an idyllic environment
- Friendly advice and helpful information are freely available from your hosts
- Exceptional hospitality, superb cuisine, and free flowing wines
- Everything during your stay is included in the price - all meals and drinks - even the postcards are free
- Each evening aperitifs-at-seven are followed by an amicable four course evening meal and excellent wines
- Delighted to cater for vegetarians, just let us know when you make your booking
- Le Moulin has just 5 rooms so there are never more than 10 guests
Holidays at le Moulin are celebrated for superb cuisine, excellent wines and a wonderful ambiance.
Traditional breakfasts consist of crusty French bread and fresh croissants brought from the boulangerie each morning, delicious local butter and honey, conserves prepared at le Moulin using local fruit, and steaming hot coffee, tea or chocolate. Muesli, cereal flakes, dried fruit and yoghurt are also provided at breakfast as well as a generous selection of seasonal fresh fruits.
First-class packed lunches comprise a half baguette sandwich – a different delicious filling each day – and you choose from the plentiful supply of cold beverages, fresh fruits, crisps, cakes, chocolate bars, cereal bars, etc, provided.
Four-course evening meals comprise starter, main course such as traditionally-reared chicken prepared with Dijon mustard, tenderloin of pork encroute, roast spatchcocked quail, etc, a wonderful array of cheeses, dessert and coffee (or tea, verveine, camomile, etc). Every day a different menu.
Plenty of excellent wine is served during aperitifs-at-seven and with the evening meal. A selection of more than twelve brilliant wines are served during a six-night holiday.
A well-stocked guests' drinks-fridge is also available 24/7
Unlike many holidays, all meals and drinks throughout your stay are included in the price.
As an addendum to the wonderful regular cuisine, le Moulin also has a long and proud tradition of varied, interesting and imaginative vegetarian cuisine – please advise BelleFrance in advance if you require vegetarian or another special diet.
Choose to walk or cycle day 2
A moderate walking circuit is known as Scillé Route North. The route is partially waymarked and visits the tiny village of Scillé with its 1,000 year old church – 15km (9miles)
The longer walking circuit is the Entire Scillé Route. It is mostly waymarked and passes a Medieval fortified farm with two round towers and a defensive curtain wall – 21km (13miles)
An interesting moderate cycle circuit goes to the village of l’Absie, with a small supermarket, cafés, banks, pharmacies, etc – 16km (10miles)
The more-challengingcycle circuit is called the Roof of the World. The route is undulatinginvigorating and interesting, passing through several small villages – 43km (26miles)
Choose to walk or cycle day 3
Scillé Route South is a moderate walking circuit. The partially waymarked path climbs a rocky track and gains more than 80m in altitude in the first kilometre – 13km (8miles)
A longer walking circuit is la Bois de la Boucherie (Butcher’s Wood). One stretch follows the route of a winding Roman Road (not all Roman Roads are straight) – 18km (11miles)
A short cycle circuit goes by back-lanes to the nearby village of l’Absie with a mini-market, cafés, banks, pharmacies and an ideal village square for your picnic lunch – 16km (10miles)
Le Pignon East is a partially waymarked moderate cycle circuit. Thedelightful route passes the villages of le Beugnon, Fenioux and la-Chapelle-Thireuil – 31km (18miles)
A longer cycle circuit visits the traditional country produce market at Coulonges-sur-l’Autize – be warned, the market takes place only on Tuesday mornings – 42km (25miles)
Choose to walk or cycle day 4
Wednesday is pique-nique day, when the hosts of le Moulin du Chemin prepare (at a pre-arranged location) a civilized picnic on a table with a tablecloth in dappled sunlight, with well-chilled rosé Cabernet d’Anjou, fresh baguettes, hard-boiled eggs from le Moulin’s own chickens, flavourful tomatoes, olives, all manner of cheeses and patés and other good things, followed by fresh fruit, sweet French biscuit and tea or coffee. All guests are invited to the picnic.
Proposed walking and cycling routes take guests to and from the picnic, which starts around noon at the lovely fishing lakes created by commune of le Beugnon.
The shorter picnic walk passes through a wood with a carpet of wild garlic underfoot – a wonderful aroma in springtime –13km (8miles)
The longer picnic walk returns via the village of le Beugnon, with its friendly restaurant/bar à la Bonne Vie and crosses the valley of the river Saumort – 15km (9miles)
The shorter cycle route climbs to the newly restored and working windmill, with fine views over the Vendée – 19km (11miles)
The longer cycle route goes via the village of l’Absie with interim refreshment and personal shopping opportunities, etc – 35km 21miles)
Choose to walk or cycle day 5
A moderate walking circuit provides different scenic routes to the village of l’Absie with a mini-market, cafés, banks, pharmacies and the village square for lunch – 12km (7miles)
Le Route du Busseau is a splendid longer walking circuit with architecturally interesting churches more than one thousand years old at Scillé and le Busseau – 23km (14miles)
A moderate cycle circuit goes tothe erstwhile mining village of Faymoreau which has an interesting mining exhibition and some striking modern stained glass – 31km (19miles)
Le Petit Pignon is a (more-arduous) moderatecycle circuit. The
route is spectacular, particularly in the east and is waymarked for the most part – 31km (19miles)
Choose to walk or cycle day 6
The shorter walking circuit is les Cinq Communes (the five parishes). Find refreshment (other than your picnic) by a short detour to à la Bonne Vie in le Beugnon – 13km (8miles)
The 14 July Walk is a moderate walking circuit sonamedafter a village walk pioneered by the Scillé mayor, to build up an appetite for the 14 July 2008 Village Lunch – 16km (10miles)
La Rocher Branlant is a moderate/challenging cycle circuit visiting the magical Rocking Boulder valley and passing close to l’Absie
with bars for refreshment – 24km/14miles
Le Grand Pignon – the sum of all the “Pignon” routes – is the finaléchallenging cycle circuit. The route is almost entirely waymarked and is well worth the effort – 34km (20miles)
What to expect
This all inclusive holiday is based at the family operated Moulin du Chemin celebrated for its exceptional hospitality, brilliant cuisine, excellent wine and wonderful bonhomie. There are five well appointed guest rooms of individual character. Absolutely everything is included in the price – all meals and drinks, and even the postcards are free!
A great selection of varied and interesting walks and cycle rides start and finish at the charming Maison d’Hôte. Your hosts know the area well and will be pleased to provide advice and support. Of course, you are free to do exactly what you want, when you want, perhaps arrange a visit to the local stables and book a ride. Or simply spend the day relaxing by the heated pool.
A wide variety of walks are available, ranging from the 4 mile Sentier d’Interpretation, recommended as a leg stretcher on arrival, to the 19 mile Rocher Branlant walk. The choices are endless and the same applies to the cycle routes – everything from easy to more challenging routes are available.
Route & Location
Customise Your Holiday
In this region, cyclists are delighted by the hundreds of miles of well-surfaced country lanes meandering through glorious, undulating countryside, with hardly any other traffic and polite drivers – a cyclists dream, but never the less true.
Walkers and cyclists can choose from the ample selection of varied and interesting circuits (summarised above) starting and finishing at le Moulin du Chemin.
No surcharge for single person occupancy of double rooms.
Moulin du Chemin is a member of Responsible Travel.
For 2020, you can begin this holiday on selected dates throughout May, June, July, September and October.
- 10, 24 & 31 May
- 14 & 21 June
- 5, 12 & 26 July
- 6, 20 & 27 September
- 11 October
What to expect on arrival
The holiday starts Sunday-after-lunch when your hosts will meet you to show you your room and point out the various facilities at le Moulin du Chemin. Your hosts will introduce you to your bike if you plan to cycle.
A holiday information dossier in your room contains background information such as when and where breakfast is served, where in your room to find the hair dryer, how to mail your postcards and a whole lot more.
Your personalised dossier containing sets of highlighted maps and route notes will also be in your room. In addition, a set of local IGN 1:25000 maps is provided in (or adjacent to) your room, for folk who enjoy getting to know more about the area from large scale maps.
Choose to take a walk or bike ride or relax by the pool or around le Moulin for the afternoon.
The next occurrence of interest on the day of your arrival is aperitifs-at-seven under the pergola when you can meet the other guests, if you have not already done so. The evening meal is announced around seven-thirty and is in the adjacent dining room.
Fully equipped touring cycles are provided with transparent map and route-note holders attached to the handlebars. Paniers and/or handle bar bags or baskets are provided according to your needs. Puncture repair kits are provided but you could just as well call le Moulin du Chemin. Helmets are provided if required. The bicycles are regularly maintained to a high standard.
Arduous Cycle Routes
Le Moulin du Chemin also offers road bike holidays with challenging routes. An extensive set of fabulous road bike routes is available as well as information, advice (if required) and support and all the other good things that make a holiday at le Moulin du Chemin such a pleasure. Please contact us on +44 (0)1580 214010 for further information.
5 out of 5 rating based on 3 reviews
Belle France: Thank you for your positive feedback and so glad that you enjoyed this one centre base for walking and cycling. It really is a fantastic location near Niort and our clients are always so delighted with the accommodation and the warm welcome that the hosts offer.
28th July 2016
Belle France: Thank you so much and we have really enjoyed organising your holidays every year for the last 10 years. We also hope that we will hear from you again in 2016. Thanks too for the wonderful route note updates and details that you have so beautifully written on some of your past adventures.
9th October 2015
Pricing & Booking Enquiry
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