Tag Archive for: carcassonne

Wild Swimming in southern France

If you feel like something more adventurous than a chlorine soaked pool next summer, then “wild” swimming close to our holiday home in southern France may appeal.

Wild and beautiful Lac Montbel

Wild and beautiful Lac Montbel

Lac Montbel (5kms) is a huge expanse of shimmering, emerald green waters, busy only in July and August, even then it’s possible to find secret places along its shores off the [beaten] track.

Lac Montbel, lots of wild, secret places for a private dip

Lac Montbel, lots of wild, secret places for a private dip

We have walked the perimeter (16kms) in just a few hours. There are a couple of cafes and picnic areas, however, better to find a bit of sandy shore all to yourself for a lunch (or supper?) of local bread, cheese and wine purchased that morning at Mirepoix market.

Puivert Chateau, listen to jazz by the lake in summer

Puivert Chateau, listen to jazz by the lake in summer

Lac Puivert is 11kms from our holiday home and is much smaller, the medieval Cathar chateau provides a magnificent backdrop. A gently sloping shore and calm waters make for safe swimming. Early or late in the day outside July and August you may have it to yourself. Night markets each Wednesday in summer sell food that you can enjoy on the trestle tables set out by the lake, or bring food for a barbeque. The Fete du Lac in July ends with spectacular fireworks, exploding across the lake.

Carcassonne Plage, combine with a visit to La Cité

Carcassonne Plage, combine with a visit to La Cité

Carcassone Plage is a bit further, perfect when combined with a day out to the medieval Cité. Only a few minutes from Carcassonne, the lake, its sandy beaches and palm trees are a great alternative to the coast. There is an adventure park in the forest, bits of rope were hanging scarily across the lake and lots of things seemed to be going on very high up (age 4+, March – October).

At the foot of wooded slopes, spend all day

At the foot of wooded slopes, spend all day

The mighty Hers flows past the village. 3kms drive or cycle along the road brings you to a rough track through the woods leading to a great spot by the river. A tiny pebble beach, shady meadows, a deep pool for a decent swim, and flat rocks where the kids love to scramble to catch those pesky crayfish, a perfect summer’s day.


Biker friendly B&B in the south of France

Great guests! Our party of Belgian bikers heading out from our B&B south of Carcassonne. We had a lively week, Sonnac sur l’hers seems very quiet just now.

Heading for adventure in the higher Pyrenees

Heading for adventure in the higher Pyrenees


Carcassonne, setting for new series for Channel 4

The beautiful, medieval city of Carcassonne is the setting for an adaptation of the best selling novel, The Labyrinthe by Kate Mosse. http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-03-27/labyrinth-discover-the-setting-of-channel-4s-new-fantasy-series

Stay at our holiday cottage or bed and breakfast in Languedoc and spend the day exploring the cobbled streets of the ancient city. They offer a poignant insight into what life must have been like, lived among the ramparts, besieged by the Crusaders. The stained glass windows in the Basilique Saint-Nazaire alone are worth the visit. Spring time in the south of France avoids the baking heat and crowds of the summer months. Grab your cheap flight into Carcassonne… http://chezmaisonbleue.co.uk/getting-here/


Carcassonne, close to our holiday home in the south of France


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

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

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

Biker friendly B&B

We were delighted to welcome more bikers to our biker friendly accommodation in the south of France. Angela livened things up in the foothills of the Pyrenees for a few days, she wrote in my guest book…”good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.” Ha, fabulous.

Our biker friendly B&B south of Carcassonne

Cycling in the hills south of Carcassonne

A sixty km round trip from our holiday cottage in the south of France covered some beautiful terrain. It’s a marvellous time to be in the south of France, fields stuffed with sunflowers, grapes ripening on the vine, the sun mellowing the ancient stone of ruined chateaux that stand on rocky outcrops, testament to past conflicts of Languedoc.

We had an early start from Sonnac sur l’Hers following the old railway line through Camon, a plus beaux village de France, onto Mirepoix and Fanjeaux, all key strategic towns during medieval times and the crusade against the Cathars. Quiet roads, twisty cols (if you want them in this heat) and wide valley floors that sweep through vineyards and ancient towns and villages, make cycling Languedoc joyous. I was grateful for the old French law decreeing its people should always have free access to drinking water as I replenished my water bottle (and dunked my face and arms) in the centuries old lavage (communal washing facilities in a bygone age) in a tiny village by the roadside.