History of la Costette

1978-1980, JEEL project and building construction

The JEEL (Youth of the Evangelical Liberist Church) aim to offer to the children of its denomination a place to holiday. In 1978, this association chose the village of Mazet Saint Voy, situated on the plateau of Haute-Loire, known for its Protestantism and volcanic region with breathtaking and atypical landscapes to construct a holiday centre, with a view of the Lizieux. The centre is called la Costette 1000: costette is the name of the local area which means little hill and 1000 refers to the altitude in which it is built. To get the project going, the JEEL created a construction committee of 7 membres: M Jean Gardrat, Pierre Bonnet, Charly Marilleau, Camille Dutronc, Jean Ponsonnet, Rolland Barriol and Jacques Maurel. The committee chose the architect Mr Datchary from Grenoble to come up with the plans. After having come up with the final plan, Mr Datchary chose architect Boudignon from Puy en Velay to be the contractor. It is here that the 2 years of construction began. The Fournier enterprise from Tence built the big part of the main building and left the big work of the Mazet wing and the Lizieux wing to the work camp led by Camille Dutronc and Jean-Pierre Delpeche. The first work camp took place from the 5th to the 25th of August 1978. He gathered people from all over the region and particularly from the evangelical liberist church of Riou, from all of France (Paris, Lyon, Orthez, etc) and all of Europe (students' camp concordia: Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, England). The Fournier enterprise went on to build the roof for the entire la Costette. A second work camp took place from the 1st of July to 15 of September 1979. This allowed for the central building and the Mazet wing to be finished which enabled la Costette to have its first kids' camp a year later from the 3rd to the 24th of August 1980. In the same year the last works were done, the Lizieux wing was finished and marked the completion of the buildings. It should be noted that during these 2 years of construction, the elected locals and especially those of Mazet Saint Voy were of invaluable help to this project of the JEEL.

The centre and the directors of la Costette

From 1978 to 1991, the launch and putting roots down

To manage the construction and to welcome the group of volunteers and the first occupants, passionate people who are full of energy were needed, which is where Marc and Janie Moncaut came in to be the directors of the centre from 1978 to 1980. From 1980 to 1981, it was a year of transition. The Moncaut couple stay at la Costette to welcome groups while the new directors, the pastoral couple, Jean and Mireille Gardrat, manage the centre from a distance while still playing an active role in a church in Nimes. The Gardrat couple move in in 1981 and stayed until 1987. As well as the kids' camp in August which has become a key event in the calendar, they launched the older camps in September 1986. In 1987, the centre welcomed Regis Teissonière as director until 1991. In 1991, it was the pastoral couple Pierre and Eliette Bonnet that took over the direction. The centre has put down roots and developped as a holiday centre for christians and had marked its own identity.

From 1991 to today, new projects, new prospects

In 1991, the new project of the JEEL for la Costette 1000, the multi-purpose Garay hall which seats 500 places, became a reality after 2 years of implementation. La Costette 1000 hence had new prospects. It can now hold weddings, conferences, gatherings, concerts but also allowing sports' clubs to play tennis, football, volleyball, and basketball. At this point, it offered all these activities to the people staying in all weathers and season. It was the Bonnet couple who were the first to work with these possibilities until January 2000. In the same year, the centre welcomed its new directors Jean-Pierre and Martine Charlemagne. Jean-Pierre, who worked as a teacher of science and a passionate geologist, put in place ecological discovery classes. La Costette 1000 received young students and their teachers as new clients. The Charlemagnes were replaced temporarily in March 2006 by a temporary team, their son Michel Charlemagne and Jean-Claude Nougier who ensured that activities continued until the end of the summer aided by a group of hardworking volunteers.

From January 2007, the gouverning council decided to change the way of organisation and to share resources with another local association in which some members of JEEL were invested in. Hence, up to this day, Thierry Ferrand, director of l'ESAT les amis du plateau took over the administrative direction of La Costette 1000. In March, Annabelle Devaux came to become the hospitality manager. The staff of l'ESAT (formerly known CAT) participates in the serving of food and in the kitchen, as well as the exterior maintenance and the Garay hall. In 2011, Christian Bury became the hospitality manager, then Dominique Belsoeur in 2013 and Florence Velhuizen en 2016.


Today, Kévin Chamard is the new hospitality manager. Since end of August 2015, the employees of l'ESAT occupies the renovated kitchen and cooks the meals for La Costette and the municipal canteen.