Mas Du Moulin

France has an overabundance of lovely places.  Villages are encouraged to beautify and retain their historical charm. Today we are expected up the road a few kilometers from Olargues…



Another small village nestled in the crook of a babbling small river, well, actually a hameau really, not a village. A hameau is smaller even than a hamlet. Three to five houses clustered semi-together without a chapel or a church that would have been the start of the designation of a village in the middle ages. Here is the lovely peaceful little hameau of l’Arcas then, nestled in the crook of a babbling brook is an ancient millhouse that is in use currently as a family dwelling, a gîte of great charm and even a home to a few chickens.


Our host this day is a gentleman of irrepressible charisma, the perfect host for your next vacance ( Here he shows us the overgrown entrance to the old effluent of the milling operation.


Inside is a great wonderful cavern where the horizontal wheel(s) would have been run by the water coming from the dual chutes and driving the axle to the grind stones above. Really an atmospheric and spooky place! As our owner explains <video here:> “Hello, I’m Philippe Gonzalez, I’d like to present myself, I’m the owner of this water mill which I bought ten years ago now – it was in ruins. I have a passion for old stones and the heritage our ancestors left us. My ultimate aim is to produce hydro power with my mill. To reach this goal, I have developed a guest house and restaurant activity to share the pleasure of living in this beautiful part of the Natural Regional Park of the Haut Languedoc with my guests, and also to convey our ancestor’s heritage to the future generations.


Quite cavernous and closed in. So forgive a few random snaps with and without flash …


A small explanation “So here is the reservoir of the mill which is filled by an intake canal of approximately 500 meters length to the weir in the river. With the pressure, the water is pushed through the two holes we can see under the mill, which is the building in front of you. The system used horizontal water wheels with metal vertical shafts, powering the runner millstones in the room above. The miller could from there, regulate the water flow and the space between his millstones.


The Jaur really is a lovely little river. Where the ox-bow is there is also a grotto where the river has undercut the stone banks and a small staircase has been built into the stone. During the heat of the summer what a lovely place to come and relax.


Here is the old water channel, made of solid hewn stone slabs. What a lot of work this would have been!


Our proprietor is needing some assistance in cleaning out this old aqueduct and is interested to see if anyone is interested in a Volunteer Vacation (ref )

Come and stay with him, spend a few hours a day shoveling and cleaning out a middle-ages waterway and restoring a water wheel and then a few days exploring the Languedoc!


The weir on this fast moving river is a most rudimentary diversion. Our proprietor shows where an access road exists if mechanized help is needed …


Pensive faces looking carefully at the amount of work and effort …



But where is the pleasure in idleness if it does not follow a bought of hard work? For without the contrast idleness grows stale and with industry and effort grows the sense of accomplishment and pleasure in the idle moments: a bit of cleaning and tidying and making the old millstones a presentation place would go well …


Out front they are still in process of restoring portions of the old mill.


There is talk that maybe the place would come on the market, We hope not, as our hosts are the loveliest of people and perhaps a small local micro-grid electrical supply for the four to five local households and any excess run across the stream to a nearby electrical post. But meanwhile, a peaceable aspect …


Ooops, on down the road a few kilometers we find the onslaught of modern civilization …


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