If you enjoy comfortable surroundings, fine food, nature at its best and peace and quiet, then we can highly recommend the superb instants d'Absolu Ecolodge and Spa at Lac du Pêcher near Chavagnac in the Cantal.
We were lucky enough to stay there for a few days in June of this year.
The Ecolodge and Spa
The hotel is run by Laurence Costa and Daniel Siegel, a charming and very capable couple, and their emphasis upon environmental values permeates everything that they do. Yes, the hotel is superbly comfortable, the food is exquisite and the decor is just fabulous. Celebrate because there are no TVs or telephones in the rooms. The scrumptous food is locally-sourced and the encouragement – if needed – is for everyone to leave just a light footprint on the majestic environment in which the hotel sits.
This is a three-star hotel where attention has been given to the smallest detail, but nothing gets in the way of the views from every window. Sitting right beside the lake, everything about this place positively encourages you to tune in to the tranquility of this unspoilt corner of the Cantal.
The lakeside Spa
The 20 hectare Lac du Pêcher's is a protected haven for wildlife, and the hotel has a very private spa that is neatly positioned to overlook it. As well as there being a sauna and hammam inside, there's a hot tub in a private corner outside (with a sliding glass enclosure), nicely positioned so that you can best appreciate the north-west end of the lake and the volcanic park that runs alongside it.
Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne
With the hotel and the lake being inside the Park, the environment is pristine and unspoilt. One can walk out of the hotel's grounds directly into the Park and turn immediately onto a footpath that winds round the edge of the lake (past a bird observatory that looks onto the lake) and up onto a small, extinct volcano. Violets, anemones and gentians are everywhere. There are discrete information posts to help with species identification and, on the flat top of the volcano, there are ones devoted to the landscape and the pastoral traditions of the Cantal uplands. The views back to the lake and the hotel are as interesting as the views northwards.
The Pinatelle Forest
Running along the north-east edge of the lake, just behind the hotel, is the Pinatelle forest, a 2,500 hectare expanse of mixed pine forest. In its shady embrace, we saw narcissi, violets and horses!
It is place apart and the hotel is a perfect base from which to explore the region. We were looked after splendidly – and unobtrusively.
The ecolodge's website is at: http://www.ecolodge-france.com/.