Chalabre is the nearest town to our holiday cottage and bed and breakfast, an easy 3km ramble or cycle ride along the “Voie Vert”, the old railway line that is great for gentle exploration of the Aude and Ariege. Beautiful tree-lined avenues, medieval streets of huge, ancient houses and the confluence of 3 rivers make for a very satisfying afternoon’s exploration. And of course, the ubiquitous boulanger and pavement bars, all you need for a holiday in France.
Tag Archive for: holiday cottage
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/
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.
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.
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.
The Potter’s Fair takes place each August among the medieval “couverts” of Mirepoix in the south of France. Mirepoix is 14kms from Chez Maison Bleue, our holiday home in Languedoc, a few minutes drive or around 1.5hrs cycle through lush landscapes – fields of sunflowers this time of year. The Fair is a colourful day out and offers some beautiful pieces, very reasonably priced, there are past purchases dotted all around the holiday cottage and B&B. We were there in the lunch hours so the stalls were deserted, the cafes and bars packed – the French philosophy of life is conducive to wellbeing.
For more photos see Facebook
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.
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.
Château de Puivert provides a stunning backdrop to a day out at the lake, 8km from our holiday cottage and B&B in the south of France; borrow our mountain bikes or an easy drive along quiet roads. On a Saturday afternoon where the temperature tipped 31 degrees it was a popular spot for the kids having tremendous fun diving from the jetty. Go early to have the lake to yourself before returning to Chez Maison Bleue for a leisurely breakfast on the terrace. Puivert Château built in the 12th century is one of the Cathar castles, the open countryside more hospitable than the wild crags of many of the Cathar sites. The very lovely, typically French town, houses a small museum and of course in these parts, the ubiquitous medieval church.
The stages of the Tour de France 2012 have been published. Stage 14, the high mountain stage Limoux to Foix passes even closer to our holiday cottage and B&B in Sonnac sur l’Hers than previously thought – through Chalabre, only 3km from Chez Maison Bleue. So a walk or a cycle ride for us to be part of this tremendous sporting spectacle as it passes through the foothills of the Pyrenees.
2 stages of the Tour de France go through Languedoc in 2012:
Stage 13, July 14, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Le Cap d’Agde 215 km (road stage)
Stage 14, July 15 — Limoux – Foix 192 km (high mountain stage).
Limoux is half an hour from our holiday cottage and B&B, although the race comes much closer – through Puivert only 7km away. The Tour is a great spectacle and cause for many celebrations in the towns and villages, lasting long after the riders have disappeared round the mountain! We offer cyclist friendly accommodation and whether you wish to follow the riders up the twisty cols, or prefer cycling for softies through vineyards and along forest tracks, Languedoc has something to offer. If you wish to follow the Tour or any other route, we can provide short distance support (transport, food, etc). Bike hire is available locally and can be arranged prior to your visit.
Detailed routes of the Tour in Languedoc on Cycling Languedoc website.