Archive for category: News / Views / Reviews

Loyalty rewards

Introducing a few extra goodies to say thank you to all our lovely guests who wish to return to our self catering holiday cottage or bed and breakfast in southern France:

* A bottle of local fizz, Blanquette de Limoux on arrival (cottage guests)

* Complimentary breakfast on your first morning (B&B guests)

* 1/3 off weekly prices Nov – April (excl Xmas & New Year)

* 2nd week half price Nov – April (excl Xmas & New Year)

Surrounded by fields of sunflowers in Languedoc

Surrounded by fields of sunflowers in southern France

Our 3 bedroom self catering cottage from only 495 euros per week,  elegantly appointed B&B rooms, from just €68 per night for 2 people – even better value just now at current £ exchange rates.

Keeping chickens in the south of France

We have been preparing our potager behind our holiday home in the south of France to receive its first residents, les pondeuses, laying hens. From the market in Mirepoix, six Les Noires (Black Rock we think) prête à pondre, at point of lay, are now scratching around in the warm Languedoc sunshine. The hens are 18–20 weeks, and as promised, have already begun laying.  Apparently they had until Friday and then they were for the pot, Chef has already named them, Chasseur, Au Vin – you get the picture, he’s hilarious, Chef will be for the pot first.

Zero food miles for your fluffy breakfast omelette

Zero food miles for your fluffy breakfast omelette

I have already spent hours with them and my camera, getting to know them. They are timid, as am I, does their peck hurt? My son Sean said I would be scared of them! They have to be persuaded to leave their corner of the coop, perhaps unused to so much space. Already their characters are becoming apparent, one is bolder than the rest and is therefore easily distinguished, one has a darker coat that shimmers emerald green in the spring sunshine.

We are interested in eco tourism and the provenance of food and already source much of the produce locally that we serve at our bed and breakfast in Languedoc. It will be marvellous to collect the eggs each day, I am certain guests will share the delight and be assured that their fluffy lavender omelette has travelled zero food miles.

Festival de Carcassonne 19 June – 3 August

The programme is announced for one of the premier music festivals in the south of France this summer. An eclectic mix of opera, ballet and contemporary music, venues include the spectacular Roman theatre of La Cité. Over 120 shows, more than 80 are free. Highlights include Elton John 23 July, Patti Smith & Lou Reed 22 July, opera in the open air 6 July. The stunning medieval Cité de Carcassonne is about an hour from our holiday home in Languedoc. Click for the full programme (en francais).

Festival de Carcassonne summer 2013

New routes into Beziers

Ryanair have announced additional [cheap] flights into Beziers for 2013 from Edinburgh and Glasgow Prestwick. Beziers is an easy 2hrs drive from our holiday home in Languedoc south of Carcassonne. See Ryanair

Last minute Christmas break

Try our Gourmet winter treats in our holiday cottage and bed and breakfast in the south of France this Christmas and New Year. Think bracing country walks followed by hot chocolate and home made cakes in front of the roaring log fire. A day’s skiing in the beautiful Pyrenean resorts of Ax les Thermes or Les Monts d’Olmes, it won’t break the bank, no queues either. Wine tastings and lavish dinners of local produce, and visits to Cathar chateaux – Montsegur and the stunning medieval citadel of Carcassonne are close. For more information visit Gourmet Winter Treats

Christmas & New Year in our holiday home in the south of France

Bugarach and apocalypse 2012

Bugarach is the highest peak in the Corbiere hills, 40km from our holiday cottage and B&B in Languedoc. There has been unprecedented interest in this tiny mountain village due to the impending date of 21 December 2012, regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count Calender, now associated with the Maya civilisation (250 to 900 AD, source Wikipedia). A New Age interpretation of this date suggests Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, others suggest 21 December 2012 marks the end of the world.

Made of limestone with galleries of caves beneath it, the peak is a geological oddity as its top layers are millions of years older than its bottom ones, making it an “upside down” mountain. In the 60s and 70s Bugarach was a popular hippie hangout followed by New Age followers who believed the mountain had mystical powers, helping to spread the belief that the village would provide a safe haven in the 2012 apocalypse. Cult followers believe aliens reside inside the mountain and will save people who decide to leave the planet with them [on 21 December]. Maya scholars refute these interpretations saying they are misrepresenting Maya history and culture.

Bugarach in the Corbiere hills, Languedoc

The number of visitors descending on the tiny village of Bugarach has caused the Mayor to call for access to the mountain to be banned during December. I am afraid our B&B in the south of France has added to the Mayor’s angst; guests from Moscow, Canada, Portugal and Holland, have all visited and reported experiencing, “the positive energy which emanates from the mountain”. Mystery indeed.

Review of our holiday home in the south of France

Tammie was our guest in our 18th century holiday cottage in Languedoc during October / November …“I booked 3 weeks in the gite near Chalabre and stayed another week. This has been a true home away from home (but with maid service!). Nick & Carolyn are so gracious, friendly yet respectful of your space. Interesting and informative too about the area and where to go. I love this area, an excellent base for exploring Cathar country. I shall return. The bathtub rocks too!”

Medieval Mirepoix, the best market in the region

Tour de France 2013

The route for the Tour de France 2013 shows Stage 8, Castres to Ax 3 Domaines, coming close to our B&B in the south of France when it passes between Limoux and Quillan. Limoux is 26km from our French holiday home in the hills south of Carcassonne. Our holiday cottage is booked already but we have rooms available in our very French bed & breakfast on the tranquil village square near Chalabre.

Tour de France, Chalabre 2012

Tour de France in Languedoc

A busy, exciting month in Languedoc when the Tour de France passed through Chalabre, only 3km from our B&B and holiday cottage in the south of France. This meant we and our guests from Wisconsin could avoid the traffic congestion and simply walk to take up our positions by the roadside. We offer cyclist friendly accommodation and so often welcome those who wish to sample the cycling terrain of Languedoc for themselves, including a family from Thunder Bay, Ontario who according to comments in our guest book, “…had a wonderful time, Everything has been beyond anything we could imagine. The gite was beautifully renovated, everything was perfect, beds, breakfast, wine, herbs, champagne, scooter, toys and books for the girls, it was just lovely.” And from Brooke, aged 8, “..I love the Bedrooms! The Scooter and Love the Restaurant next door!! Oh and the crossaint!!” How lovely, though please be assured we did give her more than 1 crossaint during her holidays.

Tour de France, Chalabre, July 2012

Great reviews for our holiday home

June has been a very busy month for us in our holiday cottage and bed and breakfast in the south of France. And it is soooo satisfying to get some great reviews for what we are doing here at Chez Maison Bleue. All from our guest book in June…”5* hospitality, accommodation and food” – Roy & Elaine, UK, “Great service and friendliness, fabulous place for hiking and bicycle rides” – Robert & Catharine, Germany, “What a welcome to this part of France, nothing was too much trouble and no effort spared, the best gite we have stayed in” – Terry & Elaine, France, “A wonderful place to stay, great company, we have loved it” – Deane & Ella, Utah.

This is our first year running our business in this beautiful part of Languedoc / Midi Pyrenees. It is interesting to see what our guests are choosing to do – walking the GR7, cycling,  the towns and cities, especially Mirepoix and Carcassonne, wine tours including Blanquette de Limoux, the ruined chateaux of the Cathars, and now that the weather is baking, swimming in the river and in the lakes at Puivert and Montbel. So you could do something different every day, or you could simply put on a CD, pick up a book from our library, and lounge on your terrace ’till the cows come home (literally) it’s up to you.

Puivert Chateau, a magnificent backdrop for swimming in the lake