It's hard to know what is better -- the pretty, spacious bedrooms decorated with pastel paintings or the lovely, charming hostess of Les Asphodeles, who herself may be decked in flowers, as she was when I visited last summer. Either way, it is a memorable B&B.
Les Asphodeles is located in a large medieval building that back in the 12th century was part of the silk-making business that created great affluence in the town of Saint Hippolyte. Today, the broad stone staircase, hallways, bedrooms and living room are filled with the watercolors, paintings and pressed flowers created by the owner Corinne de Royer. On my last visit, I purchased a beautiful watercolor that was in the hallway next to my room and is now in the hallway next to my own bedroom back home. The work is full of pastel watercolor yet full of wild beauty. (Saint Hippolyte has a Silk Museum if you want to know more that describes the fascinating history of the silk trade and silk route in France.)
With her abundant red hair and perfect English, Corinne is the most delightful guide to the adjacent, wild Cevennes Mountains (Saint Hippolyte is called the "gateway to the Cevennes") and all sorts of other nearby attractions and villages. She'll happily provide counsel on your day over breakfast, which is delicious and includes an assortment of yummy confitures that she makes herself -- cherry, wild blueberry, melon. Every time I stay -- and I've now stayed there twice -- I meet the nicest guests around that breakfast table on the terrace.
Although I've never taken one of her courses (called "stages" in French), Corinne teaches paper making from plants, painting, wild medicinal herbs and other classes. She knows the Cevennes mountains very well, goes into the mountains often and can take you if you arrange a personal tour.
From the comfort of the rooms to the attractions of the region to the charm of the hostess, you'd have to go a long way to find a better B&B in the Gard. Highly recommended!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 45' From Nimes, Uzès and Montpellier, 3 or 4 comfortable bedrooms with private bath in an XVIIIth century provencale demeure dedicated to painting and to the natural flora of Parc National des Cevennes, UNESCO world heritage. Painting and artist paper workshop proposed as well botanical and gastronomic tours. ... more less