For those looking for an astronomy vacation in France, the Little French Fancy is a destination worth considering. The property sits on the edge of France’s latest international dark sky reserve, the Regional Natural Park of Millevaches in Limousin.
The destination is located at 2400ft on the top of a hill in a very small hamlet just outside Dontriex. The Limousin area is one of the least populated areas of France and benefits from very little light or air pollution providing the most amazing night sky. The Milky Way is visible at a glance.
An International Dark Sky Reserve is only awarded to land that possess an exceptional or distinguished quality of night sky. The Regional Natural Park of Millevaches is a vast territory classified as a nature reserve since 2004 for the high quality of its landscapes, its unique environment, and the richness of its biodiversity.
The average sky brightness on clear nights is about 21.6 mag/arcsec² but can be as high as 22 mag/arcsec² under the right conditions, ensuring that the Milky Way is visible with the unaided eye year-round.
Daytime activities abound to enhance the nighttime astronomy activities.
Etang de Chancelade is a hidden gem nestled in woodland just 15mins drive from the house. A little further you will find the larger Lacs de Fades-Besserve in Confolant.
The Massif Central is tailor-made for walkers and the lovers of the outdoors. There are miles of quiet footpaths for you to explore that start at your very doorstep but should you wish for more challenging hikes, the Chaine des Puys volcanoes are less than 60mins drive from the house and rise to over 6000ft.
For mountain biking you have doorstep access to miles of ancient tracks impassable to cars. For road cyclists the area has very little traffic providing miles of peaceful countryside rides while the more experienced riders can be peddling on past Tour de France mountain stages within an hours drive.
If you like searching for antiques or just something retro and unusual you can spend hours rummaging through one of the many brocante’s in the area.
Being the least populated area of France together with extensive woodlands, lakes and rivers there is an abundance of wildlife. You only have to walk down one of the many sunken tracks that lead out of the hamlet to enjoy wildflowers, butterflies, deer, hares and most notably the rich variety of birds. What stands out to even the untrained eye is the abundance of raptors including eagles, buzzards, kites, hawks and owls.
Not often talked about by the locals is the important part this region’s inhabitants played in the second world war. The maquis du Limousin were one of the largest groups of resistance fighters – many of them hiding out in the woodlands and barns in this area. Statues and plaques can be found dotted around the country tracks showing the names of fallen local fighters.
The 2,400 feet of accommodations sleeps 6 with 1 king, 1 double & 2 single beds available. There’s a small bathroom with both a shower and bath. A fully equipped kitchen includes a dishwasher, washing machine & iron. There is a good sized secluded garden providing fantastic views of the glorious sunsets. A private decked courtyard with table and chairs that is perfect for eating alfresco.
All and all, for an astronomy vacation in France, Little French Fancy is an ideal place to for an astronomy related adventure.
You can learn more here.
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