Les Deux Abbesses

France / Saint-Arcons-d'Allier / Dordogne

Lava from volcanoes sculpted the magnificent landscapes of the Midi de l'Auvergne. An improbable fairytale hotel sits in this still wild setting. The heart of this Auvergne lodge, divided up into a dozen rooms, or rather small-restored cottages, is the little 12th century castle which sits above the village perched on a basalt spur, nestled between two rivers. Once you cross the threshold of the austere basalt walls, the dreamlike ambience created in each cottage beckons you to a wonderland: La Grange and its canopy made from birch trunks, straight out of an imaginary forest, or La Cabane with its bathroom carved from lava. With a disarming simplicity, this place with the fragrance of childhood evokes a natural emotion made just for two.