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"This location looks excellent to me and seems destined to be best situated place in the world in relation to the border", wrote Vauban when he was preparing to build the fort of Mont-Dauphin in the spring of 1693. Had he been less preoccupied with defending the kingdom that was threatened by the Duke of Savoy and his Protestant allies at the time, he might have added some comments on the exceptional natural beauty of this valley. It is the meeting point of two tumultuous rivers: the Guil and the Durance. This former priory is nestled in the hamlet of Guillestrois and proudly showcases its origins across the walls with rough stones, whilst a surprisingly contemporary interior awaits inside. The surrounding nature brings two atmospheres together: mountainous, thanks to the presence of the property's neighboring giants, (the Ecrins and Queyras mountains) and Mediterranean, thanks to the mild climate and the abundant variety of vegetation. This is a rare and protected place where the term "revitalisation" finally makes sense.
Having grown tired of a stressful life, we decided to bring our dream of running a guest house to life. We assumed we would need to work two seasons a year to make a living from a bed and breakfast, so we needed a mountainous area. We first considered going to New Zealand or Canada, but we decided to stay in Europe in the end so we could be closer to our parents. We are originally from Belgium and often went travelling in France, we went skiing in the Northern Alps but our search for a property there was in vain. Then, by chance, we came across the Southern Alps. It was an area unknown to us and we began to discover this beautiful and welcoming region with open valleys, good snow in winter, and above all, sunlight and brightness. It was there that we fell in love with the House of Guil, nestled on the edge of a small hamlet nicknamed "Little Nice" because of its sunshine, southern exposure and protection from the wind. It was love at first sight!
The origin of the house dates back to the 16th century. A former priory, the building has undergone several phases of renovation. Inhabited for over fifty years, it has been transformed into a guest house with respect for the original features. It was built on a mountainside and has several rooms and vaulted cellars on different levels with exposed rock. Some of the original elements include large larch beams, a steep staircase with a meter-thick wall, a dining room with a high vaulted ceiling and a pink marble lintel above one of the doors that dates back to 1560.
Built in 1560, the house is older than Mont-Dauphin - a village fortified by Vauban which is located right next to our hamlet. In the early 1700s, the house belonged to a notary and some architectural elements from this time are still visible, the exterior door lined with carved pink marble stones to showcase the wealth of the owners being one of them. The property was later transformed into a farm. Cows, goats and ewes occupied the cellars and the vaulted rooms were turned into stables. It was then uninhabited for several decades and destined for demolition like many houses in the small hamlet. Two brothers-in-law bought the run-down building and saved it with restoration work. Their successors continued their work and opened four guest rooms. We then bought it, finished the renovation and created two gites.
A place for rest and revitalisation where our guests can escape the demands of everyday life. A home where old stones, thick walls, resolutely contemporary features and home-made decorative items come together to create a relaxed atmosphere. Our house is sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the world, off the beaten track, close to the small town of Guillestre, the Ecrins National Nature Park, the Queyras Regional Nature Park and the Vars and Risoul ski resorts. A south-facing garden allows you to admire the sunset over the valley and Mont Dauphin, while listening to the birds singing. We have a table d'hôte with a creative menu, dishes are sometimes surprising, inspired by recipes from chefs around the world and made with fresh products from the region. Guests can also enjoy a sauna session and a massage after a day of hiking, rafting or skiing.
Mont-Dauphin, the village fortified by Vauban, is just a twenty minute walk from our house. Guided tours allow you to discover places that are normally closed to the public, such as the gunpowder magazine and the Rochambeau barracks with a removable Philibert Delorme frame. The Boscodon Abbey is forty minute drive away, it dates back to the 12th century and has been beautifully restored. Lake Siguret, a small lake in the mountains, is easy to access and offers a panoramic view. Saint-Véran, ranked among the Most Beautiful Villages of France and perched at 2042 meters above sea level, is the highest village in Europe that is inhabited year round. "Dedans Dehors" in Guillestre is a brasserie-style restaurant that surprises guests with its eclectic decoration and its young, warm atmosphere. "Le Galet" in Mont-Dauphin is a small restaurant with walled garden, it serves tasty cuisine in a friendly atmosphere. There are also artists' studios to visit in Mont-Dauphin and excellent cow, sheep and goat's cheeses to be tasted at the Fromagerie de la Durance.
750 € - 1075 € per week
We have two gites available. The first can accommodate two people or a couple with a child. It is located in the attic and consists of a beautiful loft-style living room with a surface area of 65 m² and a nice terrace with mountain views. The kitchen and the living room are on the same level. The sleeping area is on the mezzanine along with a bathroom with an Italian shower. The second, with a surface of area of 85 m², is also in the attic. It is a beautiful apartment for four people. It consists of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room with a surface area of 33 m² and a fully equipped kitchen. A sunny terrace looks out over the mountains.
120 € - 130 € per night
The four guest rooms all have en-suite bathrooms and private toilets. Two of them have balconies and the other two have vaulted ceilings.