The chance to prove that you have the requisite leadership skills to succeed in life and debunk the urban myth that all mules are stubborn.”
This green hiking adventure is tinged with a bold hint of grey, as you enjoy a fabulous walking break in the Upper Loire Valley accompanied by a long-eared and four-hoofed companion – i.e., a Taste of Stevenson with a mule.
You hike approximately 27 miles/ 42 kms of the Stevenson trail over three days through stunning Haute Loire countryside. Accompanied by a local ass, who is well-versed in the region’s geography and traditions, you thus replicate another key condition of the trek undertaken by the Scot 132 years ago. So it’s quite literally following in the footsteps, and hoofs, of Robert Louis and Modestine, with the exception that you stay in welcoming accommodation en route and don’t get to sleep alongside your asinine friend – who, by the way, is well-fed and cared for by each host along the way.
Taste of Stevenson with mule: The Ass-ential Stevenson commences with a little induction session in donkey handling and negotiation skills in Le Monastier and finishes in the remarkable granite cite of Pradelles, from where your onward or return journey is easy. If you possess well-honed leadership and management skills and are looking for another domain in which to apply them, then this is the short break you have been looking for.
- €645.00 Euros or £570.00 Pounds Sterling [per person, shared double or twin-bedded room]
- €1850.00 Euros or £1635.00 Pounds Sterling [Two adults and two children or one adult and three children.]
Special Family group rate:
Note: Please contact us to check for the latest Sterling prices. Sterling prices are confirmed at the time of booking.
- Discover the beginning of one of France’s classic hiking trails
- Enjoy fine scenery of Haute Loire in the company of two and four-legged companions
- Let the donkey take the strain – you carry just a day backpack
- Light hikes, short distances, maximum enjoyment
- Visit fascinating hamlets and villages en route to the remarkable medieval cité of Pradelles
- 4-night, self-guided light walking tour accompanied by a donkey
- Arrive any day of the week from mid-April to mid-October
- Tour starts in Le Puy en Velay and finishes in Pradelles
- Best access: Lyon airport or SNCF, with onward regional train to Le Puy via St Etienne
- Good accommodation standard
- B&B: 4-nights in 2-star hotels or equivalent chambres d’hotes.
- 3 evening meals, leaving you free to choose where to eat dinner in le Puy and buy packed lunch in Le Monastier – options are available.
- Taxi transfer to Le Monastier at the start of the tour.
- Taxi transfer to Langogne at the end of the tour [included in fees] or transfer back to Le Puy – not included in fees. Please ask for details.
- Induction session in donkey handling.
- Up to 30 kgs of luggage transported by your donkey¹.
- Donkey hire, overnight nourishment and accommodation.
- 1:25,000 maps, excellent walking notes & dossier.
- 7/7 Emergency telephone back-up & support and emergency assistance for the donkey./li>
¹ Note: This means luggage weighing up to 15 kgs per person. Supplements are payable for extra or overweight luggage.
- Nearest airport or SNCF station is Lyon [3 hrs on TGV from Paris or Lille] with onward train journey to Le Puy via St Etienne.
- Next-best access is via Nimes, Marseille or Montpellier airports, with onward TGV to Lyon – 30, 120 and 60 minute journeys, respectively.
- Alternative convenient option is via Clermont-Ferrand airport, with onward regional train to Le Puy via St Etienne.
- By train from Langogne Gare SNCF to Nimes [south] or Clermont-Ferrand [north].
- Good level of character and comfort, all with en-suite facilities.
- Carefully-selected 2-star standard hotels, chambres d’hotes or auberges.
- Generous picnic lunches and diners that showcase regional specialities but that do not include drinks.
- Warm, dry summers; mild spring and autumn
- Undulating volcanic plateau; medieval villages & historic hamlets
Tour Itinerary – Taste of Stevenson with mule: The Ass-ential Stevenson.
Day 1: Arrival in Le Puy en Velay and hotel check-in. A visit to Puy merits a day’s stay in itself, so much history is there here to enjoy – get there early! Night in Le Puy.
Le Puy to Goudet
6.5 miles-9.5 kms, 3½ hrs, +190ms -325ms
Taxi transfer (20 kms) to Le Monastier and the start of the trail. Gently ascend to the volcanic plateau with its myriad ‘puy’ and get acquainted with your new companion. The trail after St Martin is a gem; and the descent into the Loire valley breathtaking. You stay in a walkers’ inn coveted by Stevenson himself.
Night in Goudet.
Goudet to Le Bouchet
8.5 miles-12.5 kms, 4½ hrs, +400 ms
Black & Red earth
The fine climb out of the deeply-incised Upper Loire gorge and past chateau Beaufort leads you through isolated and picturesque villages on route to Le Bouchet, Stevenson’s first overnight stop, with its fine lake.
Night in Le Bouchet St Nicholas.
Le Bouchet to Pradelles
12 miles-19 kms, 5½ hrs, +285 ms -375 ms
The ascents and descents are less steep today, but the walking is far from flat as you climb to the volcanic plateau from the Arquejol Viaduct before the descent to the fine granite ‘City of the High Prairies’.
Night in Pradelles.
Day 5: Departure day and end of your Taste of Stevenson with mule – Short morning transfer to Langogne Gare SNCF for onward train north or southwards or transfer back to Le Puy – ask for details.
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