1878... it seems a long way away. And yet, today,
it is always 1878. All is similar. Nothing changed. Except (of course!) the
quality of the inns... All the famous places are still here, waiting! The
buildings, the streets, the paths... you will lack only the Modestine donkey
Stevenson rode, and we can provide you with a suitable replacement.But the
spirit has not left, even without Stevenson to document it is would still be
It is an extremely literary... though basically entertaining tour. That of a search for the impossible voyage. That of an accumulation, a stacking of very Scottish mishaps in our beautiful country of Gevaudan. You could not make this journey of ordinary pretenses.
In hills haunted with gods and knights, in the highest and most unforeseeable part of Lozere, at the time when it starts to undress its luminous autumnal ornament for the first bragged, its fogs and some pearls of rain, this is a discovery, ven for we who live here.
It is during this time of the year in harsh climate that our hero takes the road which goes down from Monastier towards Langogne. The road? Rather let us say goat paths his donkey determines through obstinacy. Because Modestine, it is a fountainhead; a crossed head of poetic, emotional, gustatory projects.
Thus the Cevennes, the winter, on foot, with an ass. And that one worthy of the English image of mischief. One which would have signed Prevert:
a frying pan to be fried
a whip with egg
a sleeping bag
a spirit lamp
a bottle of Beaujolais wine
another of Brandy
and much, much ropes...
Because stowing and ropes are the two udders of the voyage.
It is even the center of this adventure. It is the Gordian knot. And like any Gordian knot, it will be necessary to slice to advance. Good-bye stove, gigot! Beaujolais wine and bread! Vicit Asinus!
Consequently,all is ready to go, the fog and the heart of the fog. Is it well, not well with the local inn? Is it all right to sleep there? In all manners, one either is chilled there, or the object of mockeries. Both sometimes at the same time when the chance finishes by you smiling !
Of all these misadventures, our glorious author had made only one mouthful if the quarrels metaphysics containing monks and of converted Irishman who had come somewhat to disturb it with Our Lady of Snows. But how can a Scottish convenantaire can imagine without shivering, to spend one night in a monastery papist?
It is to throw itself in the mouth of the Wolf. Dangerous with the Country of the Animal, meets always dreaded but can be always desired..."Wolves, alas! like the gangsters, seem to move back in front of the functioning of the travellers."
Because, after all, the goal of this voyage, that
acknowledged, isn't it the meeting of Cevenne camisarde, mysterious, and perhaps
the still dangerous one ?
Buy the book: Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes and the amateur emigrant
Christmas At Sea by Robert Louis Stevenson
The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
But ’twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops’l, and stood by to go about.
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard:
So’s we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.
The good red fires were burning bright in every ‘longshore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.
For it’s just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard’s was the house where I was born.
My mother’s silver spectacles, my father’s silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves.
And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
“All hands to loose topgallant sails,” I heard the captain call.
“By the Lord, she’ll never stand it,” our first mate, Jackson, cried.
. . . “It’s the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,” he replied.
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter’s day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.
Old romantic Hotel, L'Etoile Guest-House is a mountain retreat in the South of France. With a beautiful park along the Allier River, L'Etoile Guesthouse is located in La Bastide-Puylaurent between Lozere, Ardeche and Cevennes. Many hiking trails like GR7, GR70 Stevenson trail, GR72, GR700 Regordane way, Cevenol, GR470 Allier river trail, Margeride, Gevaudan, Ardechoise. Many hiking loops around L'Etoile Guesthouse. The right place to relax.
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