At the Cauvel, we strive to take the environment into consideration in everything we do, offering our guests simple yet warm hospitality. We have tried to adapt the house, which dates from the late 12th century, to the requirements of a sustainable lifestyle, focusing on the following four priorities:
1° environment: the buildings have been restored using local know-how and, where possible, eco-friendly materials, while the livestock and produce are grown in accordance with organic farming principles.
2° economy: agriculture and tourism go hand in hand at the Cauvel, with meals made with our own produce and/or local produce wherever possible. We look to use locally sourced products, and boost the economy of the Cévennes.
3° society: we live here ourselves, and strive to promote the synergy between the rural lifestyle, agriculture and tourism, sharing all of this with a variety of roles and commitments in the local community.
4° culture: we invite guests to discover both the Cévennes' history and their present, the landscapes shaped by the hands of men and women, the traditions of refuge and resistance, the local role in the struggle for freedom and human rights, as well as the current vibrancy of the Cévennes with peasant agriculture, family farms and local arts and crafts.
We are happy to suggest itineraries for stimulating walks, taking in the drailles (drovers' roads) and forests, mountains and valleys, and also sites of historic interest (menhirs, etc.) and the architecture so characteristic of the Cévennes.
Our guest rooms have been arranged so as to take full advantage of the Cauvel's favourable position ('Cau-val' is thought to mean 'warm valley'), sheltered from the wind and looking out across the valley to the south. We offer our guests a level of comfort commensurate with this setting [i], where possible using natural ventilation and good insulation. During the autumn and spring, guests are usually housed in the rooms of the main house itself, which is heated by a wood burner. The rooms in the other buildings of the hamlet have a separate power supply, to limit unnecessary electricity use.
The vegetable patches and flower beds are planted in a way that takes account of the soil (schistous), sunlight, altitude and limited access to water. The same is true of the livestock, and we have opted for hardy breeds comfortable on austere land.
[i] E.g. The 'Clède', an old chestnut drying house refurbished as a family cottage, constructed from dry stone, insulated with sheep's wool and with interior walls decorated with organic paint.