|last update : 17.09.2006|
|> The gite|
In hotel-like conditions, this house of character that extends over 940 sqm hosts up to 38 people in 14 rooms with private bathrooms. It also offers:
And finally :
Be reassured, the gite has been well insulated and is heated according to the standards of modern comfort! It is thus open all year.
Located on a ground of 100 acres, it has a vast carpark for about 20 cars. The way which serves the gite stops there... the children can thus enjoy in full safety.
The gîte is located at the heart of the cirque of Railletière, below the edge of the plateau of Coulmes. Protected by the crest, the site is particularly favorable if one believes the teaching of Feng Shui. The hamlet of Railletière is located near the village of Malleval and is part of the natural reserve of Vercors. Surrounded by forests and meadows, located at the end of a small way that stops at the gite, and skirted by a footpath, it offers a "natural" place for relaxation and ressourcement.
In winter, the cirque of Railletière offers a ground to discover an other nature. Whereas the gîte, facing south, is bathed by the sun, the rocks and the vegetation of the cirque are covered with snow and ice for the pleasure of the hikers.
A very old farm of Vercors (1674) was transformed into an hotel-restaurant at the beginning of the Eighties, then in gite about 10 years later. Since then, it accomodates family celebrations, marriages, anniversaries, but also groups for seminars and courses, for the week or the time of a weekend.
Formerly, the inhabitants of Vercors lived isolated from the rest of the world during nearly 6 months of the year. Indeed, snow is generally abundant over there and the roads, or rather the ways, were not cleaned up from snow and ice by the state services yet... They had to be able to live for all this period with their only local resources. Each farm thus owned a source of water and a baker's oven, the bread being of course the basic food. The baker's oven was located inside the house and was thus used also as means of heating - in addition to the animals which occupied the cattle shed located in the prolongation of the dwelling. At first floor, a barn full of dried hay served of food storage for the animals of the farm... and of heat insulation for all. Contrary to what is currently done these days, the traditional habitat was only weakly isolated from the ground and, in the case of the farm of railletière, the northern wall is partly in ground. That did make it possible to prevent that the building cools down too low (below ice point) because, in the winter, the ground, in-depth, always remains at a temperature close to 10°C. Smart, isn't? The building is also directed full south to benefit at maximum of the rays of the sun. It was thus possible to live there all the winter with very little firewood, and this in spite of a climate, sometimes quite hard.
The gite, although modernized, keeps traces of the ancestral ingeniousness of the peasants of the time. You can find, e.g. the ancestor of gazinière (see left). The opening at the base made it possible to introduce embers coming from the baker's oven. These embers heated gently the top stone, thereby enabling the dow to rise and heating the room (note that this radiator was already located under the window to prevent that the cold air does not invade the room). It was also possible to deposit embers in the two metal receptacles laid out in the two holes of the stone. You just had then to pose a frying pan and cook! The gite has also a baker's oven in the dining room, in addition to that, more significant, located in a separate building.
From the beginning, the re-opening of the gite was done in a particular spirit. We wanted to give an ecological orientation to our adventure, and finally put into practicewhat hundreds of books and articles recommend to live in better harmony with our environment. By concern for our planet? But what can a more ecological gite bring more than one water drop in the ocean? Well, precisely, a gite or a guest house can play a particular role because it makes it possible to sensitize a significant number of people, including those which are not initially sensitized with the problem and which are just passing. If we want to improve sensitizeness among the people, it is necessary to exceed the circle of convinced! A gite can also accomodate training courses, and thus allow a more in-depth work... But more even more than that, we wanted to go in a direction that makes sense for us, and it is undoubtedly the essential.
But then, how to transform an old building, rehabilitated at the beginning of the Eighties, and heated with electricity, in a place of respectful of the environment and of its inhabitants? What to start with? What is indeed an ecological habitat? But also, is it only about our natural environment that matters? Shouldn't we also integrate the wellbeing of the hosted people? What sense would it make to be unhappy in a house in perfect symbiosis with its environment? We found many very diverse answers to these questions, each one having its specificities, each one bringing the best solution!...
We decided to proceed by steps and to let to us guide by our research, our intuition, and the limits of our budget... Being an approach, it is obviously alive, and subject to changes... Hence, this gite, which we want ecological, does not want to be perfect, nor completed, but simply in progress towards an objective which, we believe, is significant.
Our first efforts will be:
Use of ecological upkeeping products
We will say some to you sooner!