Before you start reading, we advise you to turn the electricity off under the pan … because you may be a while! So here is the story of the place where you may decide to come and spend your next holidays …
The story starts in 1984. I decided to buy a piece of land that a neighbour, Mr Roger Thibert, had told me about. Despite the land being a neglected field full of brambles with only two horses as inhabitants, I quickly envisaged what I could do with this site. The ground was either dry or waterlogged, but peaty, and there was a slope I could take advantage of. My imagination started to make plans.
As a teenager living in a small town, my interests were often related to nature. I liked fishing, hunting (which I have now definitely given up!) and gardening. Perhaps the fact that both my father and grandfather were tree nurserymen before I followed them into the family business, may have allowed me to see the practical possibilities for my land. I had also studied to become a landscape gardener and loved nature which enabled me to envisage what could be and where to start. I had a long-term vision, which is just as well, as I had taken on quite a task. Little by little I started work, things began to take shape and my ideas evolved even more.
In 1990 my first step was to design an access track to go down into the site, (the original path was much smaller than it is today), and I started digging out a “river” which now runs in front of the Piste aux Etoiles. After receiving a first estimate for the work, I had to find cheaper solutions. My father was very ill at the time and unfortunately, he did not live to see more than that. A year later, we excavated the first lake - with no laser level. I simply stood on my ladder and with my mother‘s help, I just ‘spotted’ on some kind of landmark.
From my previous fishing experience I wanted to give the fish plenty of hiding places. So I left a few stumps in the lakes so that they could shelter and feel safe there. I gradually bought other adjacent pieces of land and started digging the second lake. The excavators were back ! At the same time, I planted shrubs with berries to attract and feed the birds and evergreens to keep the place alive in winter too.
In 1995, my sister and her husband came back from Africa where they had worked. They were looking for a new professional project, in the tourism sector, and they actually gave me the idea about what my project would become. In 1997, I bought the first holiday house and named it the Colvert (the Mallard). And so another story began…
To access the new holiday chalet, the path had to be lengthened and water and electricity brought to the house. I also had the idea to create a sort of “guinguette” so that the local villagers and our holiday makers might get together a little. Unfortunately it never worked out – deep rooted habits?... I made my guinguette (the Piste aux Etoiles) anyway and invited my own friends to take advantage of it and invite their friends. It was very popular. Very soon because more and more people came, I had to think how to make a little car park without cutting down a single tree!
The sheep are not always amusing and cute. They started making the Piste aux Etoiles their home, so we had to stop them by creating a little stream with a suspension bridge cutting off their access. It does work, except sometimes the younger sheep… Ah youngsters!
After my mother died in 2008 we decided to have two more “chalets”. ‘We’ is Jackie, my pretty but a bit skinny lady friend ( How nice ! I am the one who is actually typing this ! ) and her son Julien, who are now part of my adventure. For myself, I must admit I do not really take time to learn anything about computers, so I appreciate being able to rely on them for using this new tool and for being able to speak foreign languages too.
The fourth house, “the Sarcelle” (Teal) was set up in 2013 after my uncle and aunt passed away. It came in three parts and thanks to the driver’s expertise, he managed to negotiate the narrow lanes and hedges with no damage whatsoever. It was built and had blended into the landscape within a week.
2014 was a turning point in my life. I sold my house, where I also had my office and had spent 30 years of my life, With the proceeds from the sale of my house, I bought my last house “Loriot” (oriole). I settled down in Le Fay near the entrance of the park and have now built an outbuilding and storage area for my professional activity on an adjacent piece of land.
Before ending my story, I would like to thank everyone: relatives, friends, employees, administrative staff, who have never failed to support and help me. I also think of the smiles or even tears sometimes of our guests when they have to leave at the end of their holidays.
I am sorry this is a bit long, but I have tried to explain honestly how things evolved and to answer some of the questions which you so often ask me, showing your genuine interest in this place.
Now, if you like, you can read on… or maybe go back to preparing your dinner?
Bon appétit !