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Help Needed Languedoc-Roussillon, September 2020

Doug Phillips

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Initial stage of planning a week in the area next September. Looking for suggestions for a base - village or rural gîte. General area or specific place - either works for me. Also seeking recommendations for guides, novels, films for prep. over the next few months. Thanks, in advance.
 

Kathrynj

10+ Posts
We stayed in the Balcony Gite, on the river in Lagrasse a few years ago. It was a lovely, large property and Lagrasse was a charming (but small) medieval village. It was within an easy drive to Carcassonne and a number of other towns, plus the sea. I enjoyed both the gite and the village.
 

Anne

100+ Posts
We stayed in the Balcony Gite, on the river in Lagrasse a few years ago. It was a lovely, large property and Lagrasse was a charming (but small) medieval village. It was within an easy drive to Carcassonne and a number of other towns, plus the sea. I enjoyed both the gite and the village.
Oh fun - this is the same rental that I sent Doug the info for recently! Isn't it gorgeous? My mom, my daughter and I spent a week there in spring 2018...could have settled in for a month! We also found Lagrasse very charming and well positioned as a home base for us.
 

Sharon J

100+ Posts
Anne, could you give us the information for the Gite? We have given up on our rental in Beynac, which we loved, as the climb has gotten too hard for us. Kind of looking for a new area to explore in France. Hopefully, the Balcony Gite has easy ingress and egress, and close parking.
 

Dennis

100+ Posts
We stayed in Castelnou D'Aude and found it a perfect base for us. We enjoy walking, wine and history. The local family-run wineries provide a good product. We stayed at the Petit Reve and found it suited our needs. Questions were answered promptly and quickly. If there are mobility problems in your family I would recommend against renting this place as stairs are involved.
Of particular interest for us was exploring the Cathar movement and subsequent crusade against it. This provides some information on castles to visit: http://www.catharcastles.info/ .
 

Anne

100+ Posts
Anne, could you give us the information for the Gite? We have given up on our rental in Beynac, which we loved, as the climb has gotten too hard for us. Kind of looking for a new area to explore in France. Hopefully, the Balcony Gite has easy ingress and egress, and close parking.
I'll be happy to! The gite has changed hands, but appears to be managed by the same local woman who managed it before, Amelie, so I imagine the rental experience will be similar, regardless of owner. It's now listed on airbnb: The Balcony Gite. (We rented through the former owners, who have two other lovely looking rentals in the same building: Holidays Lagrasse.)

We found the place very accessible. It's on the main level, although we had to enter through a dress shop - we were given the shop's security code so could come and go anytime, we weren't restricted to the shop's open hours. (We thought this point of entry was charming and quirky.) Driving in the centre of town is mainly resident only, but we could pull the car into the little square by the apartment, drop our luggage and then move the car to a big parking lot maybe a 3-5 minute walk away. The outdoor garden space is down a set of narrow stone stairs and out through the basement. But mostly we used the terrace, right off the gite's dining room.
 

phirhon

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
The are five departments in the Languedoc which is now part of the larger Occitanie region, so you have plenty from which to choose.

In 2012 we stayed in Couiza in the Aude and from here we visited Carcassonne, the Gorges of the Galamus, the Cathar castles Peyrepertuse and Queribus, Mirepoix.

In 2014 we stayed near Clermont l'Herault and enjoyed that area. Pezenas is an attractive small town which is a popular base. We were a little further north and from there we went as far as Millau to the north and down to Aigues Mortes on the coast. My report is here. scroll through to the Herault. There is a lot to see in the region.


In 2018, we stayed just over the border from the Gard in the Ardeche about 45kms north of Uzes which is a popular village to use as a base in the Gard. It is a lovely place with a very good Saturday market. Some of the lovely villages we visited such as La Roque sur Ceze, Montclus, Lussan would be easily reached from Uzes. The week before we were back in the Aude in the Minervois region. Earlier in the trip we were in the Lozere which is another department in the Languedoc. The jewel in the crown is of course, the gorges of the Tarn. We really enjoyed this area as well. This is my report on the trip. The areas- Lozere, Aude and Ardeche ( near the Gard ) - are labelled. I see now that you have looked at this.



The Pyrenees Orientales is the final department and we stayed near Prades in 2008. There are some lovely villages and towns such as Collioure, Ceret, Eus ( we stayed in this lovely village ), Villefranche de Confluent as well as several abbeys and priories.

You could spend a lot of time in this region. It is a case of deciding what appeals to you most.

Bon voyage.
 

Doug Phillips

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We stayed in Castelnou D'Aude and found it a perfect base for us. We enjoy walking, wine and history. The local family-run wineries provide a good product. We stayed at the Petit Reve and found it suited our needs. Questions were answered promptly and quickly. If there are mobility problems in your family I would recommend against renting this place as stairs are involved.
Of particular interest for us was exploring the Cathar movement and subsequent crusade against it. This provides some information on castles to visit: http://www.catharcastles.info/ .
Thanks Dennis, Castelnau d'Aude looks great, also La Petite Reve. It is a very small village. Are there any restaurants?
 

Doug Phillips

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
You could spend a lot of time in this region. It is a case of deciding what appeals to you most.
Thanks phiron. Definitely going to visit Aigues Mortes at some point next year. We have been to the south of France 4x, but the last visit was several years ago & never made it there.
 

Anne

100+ Posts
Pezenas is an attractive small town which is a popular base. We were a little further north and from there we went as far as Millau to the north and down to Aigues Mortes on the coast. My report is here. scroll through to the Herault. There is a lot to see in the region.
We spent a few days in Pezenas and also went up to Millau, which is most impressive! Our time in Pezenas was mostly rainy, so we didn't get out to explore the town on foot as much as we would have liked, but still found it a charming town and a great location. (If anyone wants a rental rec, we stayed here - Pezenas apartment - and enjoyed it very much. The creperie down the street is fantastic!)
 

Anne

100+ Posts
Doug - if you have any interest in cave art and this is not already on your radar in this area - I cannot recommend a visit to the Niaux cave highly enough. Viewing the original work of a prehistoric master artist was breathtaking. I was literally brought to tears, it was such an exquisite and moving experience for me. It was a 2+ hour drive each way to/from Lagrasse, but worth every moment...plus it's a gorgeous drive so win-win! Advance reservations are required.
 

veronicafrance

100+ Posts
Doug - if you have any interest in cave art and this is not already on your radar in this area - I cannot recommend a visit to the Niaux cave highly enough. Viewing the original work of a prehistoric master artist was breathtaking. I was literally brought to tears, it was such an exquisite and moving experience for me. It was a 2+ hour drive each way to/from Lagrasse, but worth every moment...plus it's a gorgeous drive so win-win! Advance reservations are required.
Yes, it is really worth seeing. Check language of tours, I believe they do some in English. Lagrasse is a good base for the Corbières and the Minervois. It's my neck of the woods, so feel free to ask for more info about the area. Another village you might consider is Fabrezan. It's smaller, but sisters Aude and Florence have some fabulous gites in a converted winery: Domaine Paul Huc. Aude speaks very good English, she used to live in the UK.
 

Dennis

100+ Posts
Doug:
Sorry for the tardy reply; just back from a short trip. No restaurants in Castelnau that we found. There were a couple in La Redorte, about 5 km away and in Hoomps on the Canal du Midi about 10km away. The larger centre of Corbieres is about 10 km away.
 

veronicafrance

100+ Posts
Doug:
Sorry for the tardy reply; just back from a short trip. No restaurants in Castelnau that we found. There were a couple in La Redorte, about 5 km away and in Hoomps on the Canal du Midi about 10km away. The larger centre of Corbieres is about 10 km away.
I think you must mean Lézignan, as the Corbières are the entire range of hills. There are only two restaurants in Lézignan I would recommend, the Tira-tap and perhaps surprisingly the Korean one. But I know nothing about Korean food, I have just enjoyed meals there.

PS it's Homps not Hoomps.
 

Anne

100+ Posts
Yes, it is really worth seeing. Check language of tours, I believe they do some in English.
Yes, we had a tour in English. The woman who took us was incredibly knowledgeable and clearly loved her work, which added immensely to the experience!
 

Parigi

100+ Posts
Hi Doug:

Sorriest I came to this thread late. I see Veronica has shared her recs with you. I would just do everything she says.

Last September we took a 2-week trip in the area, joined by Freda in the end. We staying in
Pèzenas,
ColliouNïmes.

Collioure and Nîmes are not part of Languedoc but are very near and may be on your drive, so I include them in my recs.

In Nimes

This 3-rd floor walkup is a very large 2-bedroom. Very elegant and comfortable. Very central. I counted 8 sets of vintage sea services. You can invite the whole building to tea.
It is half a block from the famous pastry/candy shop Villaret.

This 1-bedroom is on the 4th floor and has a lift. The interior is very nice and full of paintings from the owner's collection. He lives one floor below and is super-nice. Very central.
There is one very low beam that may be dangerous for taller people. Did not bother Freda or me. I hung a scarf on it noose-style, and Americano was able to avoid banging his head on it.

Freda has stayed in the 1-br and visited us in the 2-br and can vouch for their quality.

Pèzenas

In Pèzenas, we rented an apartment from
Le Couvent des Ursulines.
The airy former convent has a swimming pool and is a 5-minute walk to the Medieval center. The owners are very nice. Our unit has 2 bedrooms and a mezzanine. I remember the owners mentioned there is a one-bedroom unit, but it does not seem to be on the ad.

Collioure

We have stayed in Collioure several times and hands down this rental is our favorite. Just the view alone was hypnotic. The interior was adorably decorated and comfy. Excellent kitchen for us who love to cook. Which reminds me. Don't forget to mainline the fideu from the fideu dude i the bi-weekly market.
Near Collioure we love the village Céret which has a wonderful old town and an unsuspectedly superior contemporary art museum.
We also love the nature reserve Les Paulilles, its wine, its beach. But that's a local secret.
 

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