Gîte or Luxury Nomad Pad? Andy Mossack discovers Les Hautes de Choranche, the ultimate way to enjoy guilt-free luxury living.
Gilles Falque is certainly something of a one-off. Part artist, part designer, part entrepreneur, part eco-warrior, part visionary, part hotelier, part bonkers, but a complete genius at the same time.
He seems to be able to realise anything he thinks would be a great idea, whether it be a beach restaurant in Grenoble, including sand and beach huts, (but no beach of course) or a hippy hang out on the side of a mountain with hammocks, four poster beds, tree houses, nature trails and rustic hideaways. The latter being The Cabane Café, a rural retreat at the foot of the towering Presles mountains in the quite beautiful Vercors, offering an organic café using exclusive produce from nearby farms, and a place to simply hang out all day eat, drink and enjoy the harmony with nature.
Gilles built Les Hautes de Choranche all himself after managing to somehow get this prime slice of land and then get permission to build on it! Following the success of Cabane Café, he spotted another opportunity, a chance to renovate the ancient, abandoned hamlet directly opposite and turn it into eco-friendly luxury apartments.
Of course, like everything he puts his mind to, Les Hautes de Choranche eventually became a reality with a little help from local artists and skilled craftsmen. This is a little piece of heaven, a wonderous place of landscaped terraces, running water features, an infinity pool, a waterfall, a jacuzzi, sauna, hammam, barbecue and a mature orchard. All of it towered over by the gigantic cliffs of the Choranche massif and the Moulin Marquis waterfall.
The accommodation at Les Hautes de Choranche is made from beautifully renovated hamlet houses that can cater for 2 to 27 guests, all with private bathrooms and fully equipped modern kitchens. My two-bed house had all of the above, with a large wooden dining table and chairs and a fabulous outdoor terrace that was a sun trap for most of the day.
The smell of herbs growing just outside was a constant companion together with the trickling of water pools and the crickets at night. To me, I could sense the old hamlet with a broad smile on its face, reborn once more after decades of neglect
Gilles has filled this place with all kinds of natural wonders, emphasising his love of nature and the outdoors. And all handled with exquisite taste. I particularly loved the interior of the hammam, re-purposing all the original features and adding all kinds of holistic touches that are pure genius. The private hammam and massage therapies can be booked separately.
This isn’t a place to find a flat-screen TV or even a phone signal. Don’t be distracted by all that, just let the natural world be your entertainment.
So, is Les Hautes de Choranche a gîte or a luxury nomad pad? Maybe it’s both or something else entirely. What it is, is straight out of Gilles’s head, which means my case rests.
Tell me more about Les Hautes de Choranche
The Gîtes des Hauts de Choranche and the Cabane Café
620 route des caves, 38680 Choranche, France.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +33 6 78 150 100
Rates from €145 or £124, based on two sharing.