Taanayel – A Fascinating Escape
Taanayel can be summarized with these two verses because once you stand there, you will feel compelled to question whether this place is real or not.
This gorgeous village is a piece of heaven; alleys made of a multitude of trees are all over the place, ducks roaming a small lake’s calm water, vineyards that bring Italy’s Tuscany to one’s mind and white vacant benches.
We took the Damascus road and continued towards Daher el Baydar, Mreijat. Then, we took the Masnaa road as soon as we reached Chtaura. From there, it was a straight drive. The convent is to the left of the entrance of Taanayel. It is an old mesmerizing rocky building with green windows. The trip starting from Beirut will take on average 70 minutes and no SUVs are required.
We visited Taanayel during the autumn. The village was filled with the leaves of deciduous trees which made the scenery even more spectacular. In order to visit the woods and the lake, one has to pay 1000 L.L (We have been told that this sum was increased to 2000 L.L lately) as an entrance fee which is a very small amount! A big number of the employees in the convent are handicapped, some of them are Syrian refugees and others are Lebanese. This is because the 230 hectars are handled by Arc en ciel.
Taanayel is home to a variety of animals. You will see cows, goats, chickens, rare birds, peacocks, horses, pigs etc. Next to the little farm, you will find a shop that sells the produce of the farm such as labne, yoghurt, gouda cheese, halloum, jam, milk, wine etc. Bear in mind that the prices are cheaper in the shops outside the farm but the same high quality is definitely not guaranteed. This shop also provides the entrance and activities tickets. In order to see the village, one can rent a bike or choose to walk. We preferred to walk in order to contemplate the beauty of the place more thoroughly.
Once you enter the farm, you will notice three graceful horses you can ride. The 15 minutes ride will cost you 5000 L.L. It was a pleasant experience for us and we advise everyone to go for it. As you walk through, you will be surrounded by countless trees and then you will behold one of the most astounding vineyards in Lebanon. It will definitely remind you of some of the scenes from the movie ‘Letters to Juliet’. Finally, you will reach the lake! Sit on one of the benches and enjoy the sight of the paddling of ducks.
Taanayel can be visited during each of the four seasons because each of them displays its ravishing beauty from a different angle.
Kids would have a blast over there. The area is perfect for them to run or ride their bicycles.
Having breakfast in the convent’s shop will make your trip even more enjoyable because of the tasty dairy products and bread.
You can spend the night at the nearby traditional eco-lodge that is also managed by arc en ciel.