Tag Archive for: holiday cottage south france

Walking in Cathar country

On a gloriously warm, early Spring day, leave the car and walk from the door of our holiday cottage in southern France. Reasonable fitness is required for this circular hike from Camon to Belloc. Take the Voie Verte, green way to Camon, the roses offer a beautiful, fragrant display against the mellow walls of this ancient bastide.

Fetes des Roses, beautiful, ancient Camon

Fetes des Roses, beautiful, ancient Camon

 

Ancient bastide of Camon in Spring

Ancient bastide of Camon in Spring

A left turn in the village follows a steep road to some lovely forest tracks, deep in Cathar country. The dappled shade affording some welcome protection from the heat of the sun, even in Spring. There is a choice of well marked routes to the pretty hamlet of Belloc. We followed the river until it was apparent that the “footbridge” shown on the map was a tenuous looking zip wire with a bit of frayed rope hanging loose.

So called footbridge, not for the faint hearted

So called footbridge, not for the faint hearted

In summer you could probably wade across quite safely but today the river ran fast and deep so we made our own path through some dense forest, eventually reaching grassy meadows and an alternative return route to Camon. A number of private spots along the river bank committed to memory for picnics and “wild” swimming in a few weeks time.

Cycling to Mirepoix

On a glorious April morning in southern France, we cycled to Mirepoix market through lush green landscapes unable to contain the Languedoc Springtime any longer. The cycling is easy for anyone of reasonable fitness, about an hour and a half along the mainly flat Voie Verte – greenway. Still plenty of snow on the higher Pyrenees, our guests took the cable car in Ax Les Thermes and had lunch on the mountain.

Snow topped French Pyrenees on a glorious April morning

Snow topped French Pyrenees on a glorious April morning

Beautiful, ancient towns & villages are on the doorstep of our bed and breakfast and holiday cottage in southern France, the Abbaye and ramparts of medieval Camon:

Medieval Camon hosts the Fete des Roses in May

Medieval Camon hosts the Fete des Roses in May

And broody Chateau de Lagarde looks down with disdain in its ruinous state, there are fireworks in summer and Repas Gourmands in the evenings celebrating local produce:

Broody Chateau de Lagarde

Broody Chateau de Lagarde

Then onto Mirepoix for the best farmer’s market in the region. Lunch in one of the many pavement cafes is a treat – and a must for sustaining the return journey.

Mirepoix market, a cycle ride on a glorious Spring morning

Mirepoix market, a cycle ride on a glorious Spring morning

 

Walking in the south of France

The Pig Walk from the door of our holiday cottage

The Pig Walk from the door of our holiday cottage

The Pig Walk is one of the first hikes we did from our holiday cottage in the south of France and remains one of my favourites. The path from the Voie Verte, the greenway, towards Lake Montbel is steep, however, all the hard work is done in the first hour, you can then enjoy lovely, open views across wildflower meadows to the near Pyrenees. The pigs live in the woods, you can smell and hear them before you see them. Today there were 4 or 5 weaners, happily snuffling around the forest floor, previously we have met huge sows with their newborn litters.

Explore Lake Montbel on the Pig Walk

Explore Lake Montbel on the Pig Walk

You can descend to the edge of Lake Montbel and spend another happy half day exploring its perimeter and taking a dip, or, take a left turn through an ancient, seldom trod forest to Chalabre for a well earned treat from the boulangerie or a cold beer. From Chalabre it’s an easy stroll home or take the steep hill – lovely views – via the tiny Chappelle du Calvaire.

 

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.

Auction bounty

I didn’t come away from the Vente aux Encheres Publiques (public auction) in Pamiers with what I intended, but the car boot was fairly laden nonetheless. The bidding rose furiously on the lit de coin (corner bed) reaching 250 euros, no doubt still a bargain but more than my budget. I bid 1 euro (!) for an ostentatious soupier, 5 euros for the range of coloured glass and 15 euros for the prints in the pastiche frames.

Just right for the B&B

Best of all, the old luggage (5 euros) was very heavy when picked up and was I discovered, stuffed full of old French linens, some of which are the coveted monogrammed sheets, lots of bolster pillow covers in candy striped colours, and baby clothes and pram sets which are just delightful.

Lovely old French linens

It’s a delicate process restoring the old linens which are often discoloured and stained from many years in musty attics. Who knows how long our cases had been lying somewhere with their hidden bounty. I am loving my foray into buying antiques in France. If you want to pick up lovely old French linens at bargain basement prices, then come and stay in our lovely 18th century holiday cottage or bed and breakfast in the south of France on a weekend that co-incides with the auction – and bring an empty suitcase with you.