Tag Archive for: bed and breakfast south of france

Bird watching in the Aude

The region around our holiday cottage and B&B in the south of France is fabulous for birdwatchers. The Aude has a wide range of habitats, home to around 200 nesting species. From our terrace buzzards are a common sight, soaring high on the warm thermals. Watch the delightful “bobbing” habit of the black redstarts and at dusk, see the barn owl heading off on its nightly patrol. In summer watch the amazing spectacle of swifts racing round the square hurling themselves into the eaves, often colliding with the zinc guttering with a resounding clunk whilst the house martins look on bemused. Surrounded by such goings-on, it’s easy to feel close to nature.

 

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

Christmas magic in Carcassonne

A month of Christmas celebrations in medieval Carcassonne lasts until schools go back on 6 Jan. Christmas markets every Saturday, handmade crafts, fairgrounds, skating, sledging, and free concerts in the beautiful Basilique Saint-Nazaire among the ancient ramparts. About an hour from our cosy 18th century bed and breakfast and holiday cottage in the south of France – think homemade cakes and hot chocolate by the roaring log fire. Watch out for cheap flights into Carcassonne and Toulouse. The full Christmas programme is here (en francaise only).

A winter wonderland, Sonnac sur l’Hers in the hills south of Carcassonne

Celebrations at our bed and breakfast in the south of France

We were delighted to be part of a young couple’s very special day when they become engaged at Chez Maison Bleue in the summer. The bride to be knew nothing of secret preparations arranged by her [now] fiancee and which included a special meal on arrival at our B&B and champagne and rugs and cushions on the hill at the back of the house with moonlit views of our ancient village and church. This was where the question, along with the the champagne would be popped! Our engagement present to Caitlin and Thomas was a celebration meal on their return visit, which we hope they are able to cash in soon. It was a privilege to be part of their special time and we are pleased that our B&B nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees, deep in the south of France, will always be a special place to them.

The happy couple on the village square, Sonnac sur l'Hers

B&B in the south of France

August 2006

I love my French country home in the foothills of the Pyrenees in this beautiful, unspoilt region of the south of France. It is almost the polar opposite of what we set out to find – it’s not small, it’s not manageable, it was partly derelict (still is) all the things we said we would avoid during the planning stages, many of which took place in various licensed premises in Workington, my home town. Mmmm, maybe that was it.

Nick had put in an offer for another house on a recent visit that he had made alone, and so confident was everyone that it would be what I wanted, the vendor had set off from Holland to sign the necessary paperwork. So despite the consternations of the agent having made assumptions about what I would and wouldn’t like despite never having met me (not sure what Nick’s excuse was) we continued our search.

Which led us to our house in Sonnac Sur l’Hers on the border of the Aude and Ariege in the south of France. Really 2 houses that the previous occupants had begun to knock together, i.e. bash 2 holes in the wall between the ground and first floors. The main house had 6 bedrooms, all in various states of repair, and with potential for at least 4 more in the attics (bed and breakfast?) a brown bathroom suite in a bathroom “big enough to hold a tea dance” according to the agent, and a huge sunny terrace with views across the churchyard, fields and hills.

Oh, but what a lovely feel there was. The huge blue shuttered house standing on the ancient village square with its church and beautifully restored stone walls of the Marie – our taxes obviously stretch to proper, authentic, lime render. The church bells chime right outside the bedroom window that Matthew and George shared on one of their many snowboarding trips to the Pyrenees. So no sleeping past 8am although thankfully they don’t ring through the night. We have stayed in some of the most remote, picturesque villages in the south of France and returned home shattered, each night’s sleep ruined by the incessant tolling of church bells.

The purchase was fairly smooth and the house was ours within 3 months, although where the log burning stove was that would keep us warm during the cold winter nights of the Aude, was a black hole. There was a cat in the secret garden, which didn’t concern me at all, and a bat in the corner of the mezzanine room which concerned me a great deal. (We left the door open taking a chance that it would fly out rather than all its mates fly in).

Our first few days in the house were spent in a daze, wondering what on earth had possessed us. The house we discovered had been 3 houses in the more pragmatic days of the 1700s. There was evidence of 3 front doors and 2 staircases remain, lovely winding oak stairs from the main sitting room all the way into the attic (derelict) and a spiral staircase tucked away in the back of the kitchen. The third probably crumbled away sometime in the 19th century. So, completely overwhelmed, we spent the week drinking wine then set off to catch our flight home.

Blog

Welcome to our blog for Chez Maison Bleue, our holiday cottage and B&B in the hills south of Carcassonne. Scroll down to explore the different categories listed on the left, click the centre of  the photos to enlarge. Hope you enjoy it, feedback welcome – be nice!  We hope to welcome you to our very French holiday home in the south of France.

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