In the year that many travel plans were cancelled and postponed, we were lucky enough to be able to get to France and stay at Hello Velo – winning the dubious prize of being the only Brits to have managed to do so in 2020.
Hello Velo is family friendly accommodation located in the Burgundy region of France, in a tiny hamlet called Grond (so tiny, in fact, that up until a few years ago the houses there were not individually numbered or named, any deliveries would arrive in Grond and it was then up to the postman to call and find out which building corresponded to the name).
In France, bed and breakfast accommodation is called Chambre d’hôtes. This literally means guest’s bedroom, and is genuinely like staying as a guest in a friend or family member’s house. Like your average B&B, breakfast is provided, but slightly less common is the idea that the owners will often sit down with you to enjoy the meal. This was new to us, but we absolutely loved it.
The owners at Hello Velo are Jo, Greg, and their son Solomon. They are originally from England but made the move to Burgundy after falling in love with the location ten years ago. They’ve built both the accommodation and the accompanying bike hire business (hence the velo in Hello Velo) from scratch, renovating their barn-style house from an empty shell to a comfortable and welcoming home.
As a family home there are many features that meant our stay at Hello Velo was a highlight of our time in France. Although the rooms are basic – there’s no tv or guest wifi – this meant that we felt like we could really relax and unwind in ways that we just don’t have the time for in our hectic lives back home. We went for bike rides, read books in the beautiful garden, and watched shooting stars in the night sky. Even our dog Liquorice was welcomed into the family with open arms, especially by Solomon.
As guests at Hello Velo, you will enjoy a breakfast of fresh bread, croissants, juices, and a selection of homemade jams every morning. We joined Jo one morning to cycle to the local bakery to collect the bread, returning to the house via meandering roads through the sunflower fields – could it get any more French?
There are a number of restaurants nearby, within cycling or driving distance, but it is truly worth staying at the house for at least one evening to sample Jo’s delicious cooking. As with the accommodation, meals at Hello Velo are a shared family-style experience, with the hosts and groups of guests sitting down to share dinner together. Dinner at Hello Velo is an absolute feast, with a mixture of French and English options and all cooked to perfection. I could go on about it all day, but honestly you have to try it yourself.
As well as relaxing and enjoying all the delicious food, the area is perfect for cyclists and walkers. The nearby canal is part of a long-distance cycling route and many cyclists stay at Hello Velo as part of their journey. We took our bikes with us, but you can just as easily rent bikes from Greg and Jo for a day out exploring the local area. On one of our outings we stopped at a cafe along the canal, where there was also a lovely swimming area in the river that runs alongside.
As Grond is on the outskirts of the Morvan national park, there are lots of stunning hiking routes and lakes to swim in very close by. Jo and Greg know the area very well and are always happy to suggest places to go and things to do. There are no major tourist attractions nearby, but for us that was a positive, as it’s a quiet and traditional area where you can really switch off and get back to nature.
Hello Velo really is a home from home, albeit one with a much higher quality of cooking. We felt rejuvenated after our short stay there and can’t wait to return one day. See you again soon Jo, Greg and Solomon! Love from Jenny, Simon and Liquorice. Book direct with Hello Velo here.