Explore Languedoc & the Midi

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Cycle through vineyards &  fields of sunflowers, picnic by the lake, shop at farmers’ markets, explore ruined Cathar chateaux

FROM YOUR DOOR

Leave the car and walk or cycle from your holiday home. Take quiet paths and bridal ways into the hills, the wild flower meadows are glorious. Listen to the cuckoo in the woods and watch the birds of prey circling on warm thermals. Join Le Sentier Cathare, the Cathar Way, and visit ruined castles on rocky outcrops, passing through astonishingly lovely, ancient towns and villages. We cycle all year round on roads that are quiet even in August, take the flat (easy!) Voie Verte. green way, or more challenging twisty cols. We offer cyclist friendly accommodation, maps and advice on routes freely given; secure storage and workshop. Bike hire at Velomondo and Mellow Velos  from around 15 euros per day, delivered to the door. The Tour de France  passes close-by every July.

RIVERS, LAKES & SEA

Take a picnic and spend the day by the sandy beaches and emerald-green waters of Lac Montbel (5km). Boat hire from Leran Sailing Club – kayaks, catamarans and sailing dinghies. If you seek more adventure than a chlorine soaked pool, “wild” swimming in the river and lakes is a treat. Listen to music by Puivert Lake in the summer – the Cathar chateau provides a stunning backdrop – and barbeque your purchases from le marché nocturne, the night market. After a leisurely breakfast you can still reach the Mediterranean in time for lunch. Visit beautiful, coastal towns and sandy beaches such as Collioure and Argeles, about 2 hrs drive, although much closer Carcassonne Plage makes a great alternative to the coast.

In the high valley of the Aude between Quillan (29km) and Axat, the dramatic white water rapids of Gorges de St George you can go [crazy] rafting, hydrospeed and canyoning. Just check your insurance.

MARKETS

A visit to France would be incomplete without the joy of buying fresh produce at the local markets. Mirepoix (14km) is one of the best in the region, the medieval couverts provide a wonderful setting ((Mondays).  Limoux (Fridays) where you can enjoy a glass of Blanquette in one of the many pavement cafes and les marchés nocturne in Leran, Puivert and Mirepoix, July/August.

VINTAGE FINDS

Make sure you leave some room in the case for quirky finds from the vide greniers, literally, empty attics, and the Brocante de Mirepoix – perfume bottles, 70s kitsch, metal signs, and old French linens, especially the coveted monogramed sheets, all very collectable. For more serious collectors there are many opportunities for buying antiques in France, Art Deco pieces are amazingly cheap.

** For more photos of the house and the area see us on Facebook.

More ideas ~

Lands of the Cathars

Painting in the south of France  

Bird watching in the Aude