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Rural gite in France

This is our location (see also map below)

The photo is of our field, looking South towards the Pyrenees.



We offer mountains, castles, caves, vineyards, wildlife, the Canal du Midi, riding, canoeing, parachuting, karting and other activities, all within an hour’s drive.

In Jan/Feb/Mar we can offer a holiday with a few days’ skiing. The local ski resort of Mont d’Olmes is 45 minutes away. It is a small friendly resort, ideal for a day’s skiing. A little further away is Ax-les-Thermes, on the road to Andorra, with its three domains and over twenty lifts. Ax is easy to get to but can be very busy at half term and traffic queues need to be avoided. Out of the peak season it is a lovely place to ski. It has two good high-mountain restaurants. In recent years the season has gone on until the end of March and the snow has been exceptionally good.

The villa is an ideal base for house hunting. Combine this with two or three days of leisure activities and you have a perfect out of season trip.

Mirepoix medieval city
Skiing Bonascre
Carcassonne Castle


A day out in Carcassonne to see the incredible (World Heritage) castle is a must. We can advise on the best times, parking etc. Then you come back to your own villa, with private pool, and blissful tranquillity.

We are just outside the Ariège and medieval Mirepoix is ten minutes or so down the road. This is Cathar country, full of history and sights to see. What is so wonderful here is the absence of noise – except perhaps at harvest time. We have very little light pollution so on a good night you can see millions of stars and the milky way. This is an amateur astronomer’s dream (as long as there isn’t a heat haze!). The absence of traffic noise is quite remarkable. There are few places where you hear nothing during the day. Here there is often an absolute silence. No traffic. Nothing. If there is no wind you may hear the airliners at 33,000 feet on their way to Barcelona. Sometimes a tractor will pass by and we jokingly complain about the traffic. In August you may hear visitors or residents in the neighbouring properties, but they are 50m or more away from the guest house.

The nearby Pyrenees are fabulous for hiking and climbing.

We have recently acquired an ancient disused footpath at the edge of our land. This could be exciting for metal detector enthusiasts as it existed in medieval times and has never been looked at.

We are 30 minutes from the World Heritage Canal du Midi. This is well worth a visit (at Castelnaudary) in the holiday season. Cycling along the tow-path is very special and we may be able to help with cycles and advice.

Canal Du Midi


The nearest open sea beach is at Narbonne Plage, about one and a quarter hours away by car. It is a low rise family resort, with a friendly atmosphere and is very busy in the high season. The coast at Narbonne Plage can be quite windy and this area is famous for windsurfing and kite surfing, both on the open sea and on the inland salt-water lagoons nearby.


Airports: Carcassonne (Ryanair) is a very pleasant 45 minutes drive through vineyards and fields. Toulouse (easyjet, BA, Jet2, Volotea, Vueling, Lufthansa etc) is an hour away. Béziers (Ryanair) is about 1.5 hrs away. St Malo is about 10 hours away by car and two drivers can make it in a long day. The motorway down the west side of France is pleasantly quiet and this route can be recommended. A car is essential for guests.


Mirepoix 11km and Belpech 11km are each about 10 minutes away by car. Both have shops and banks. Carcassonne is 45 minutes away. Toulouse, a big modern city with a beautiful old centre and lovely shops, opera, museums and galleries is one hour away. There are no shops in Villautou, just a handful of houses and a church. The church is only used for services 3 or 4 times a year.

Further Details

Mirepoix has a very good supermarket (Super-U) and a large open market on Monday mornings.  There are plenty of restaurants in the area and we provide an updated list of those we know. The dishes are mostly regional and prices are reasonable. Both the Aude and the Ariege are first class for outside activities, including birdwatching, horse riding and trekking, mountain biking, hang gliding, sky-diving, walking, rambling, mountaineering and canoeing. There is an international go-kart centre twenty minutes away and 4WD quad bikes can be hired in Mirepoix and elsewhere. In spring and autumn our field is full of orchids. We are in the Cathar region with ancient castles and villages all around. This being France, there are cyclists everywhere, but if you like cycling on level ground you may prefer to drive to your starting point. The night sky is magnificent and we have a Meade ETX astronomical telescope, motorised and computer controlled, which careful guests are welcome to use. We keep a stack of tourism leaflets in the living room. We have not vetted all the attractions, but if you have a particular interest, just ask. If the weather is right, you may spend a lot of time by the pool and the feeling of tranquillity while sitting and reading is simply wonderful. You have exclusive use of the pool.

ATMs are available in Mirepoix and in Belpech. Credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants and other venues.

We are on mains water and mains sewerage. Your gas comes from our underground storage tank – no gas bottles to fiddle with. This isn’t a rough gite!

Mobile telephone coverage is patchy and even our landline goes down sometimes, especially in thunderstorms.

Specially interesting are the local historical sites. Mirepoix is a beautiful medieval town (officially a city as it has its own cathedral) in the form of a Bastide, with the remains of a surrounding wall and the famous Couverts (covered areas in front of the town houses). Then there are the ruins of the Cathar castles, dating back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Cathars challenged the Avignon based Popes and were ruthlessly slaughtered. The countryside is very beautiful, resembling Tuscany but so much emptier.

Tour de France
Tour de France

Special Interest Holidays

If you are looking for a house to buy, treat yourselves to a luxury stay here. House-hunting has become a major activity for many visitors to this area. We are an ideal base for those hoping to buy in Languedoc-Roussillon or the Pyrenees. Visiting endless (often unsuitable) houses is a task that takes its toll. Returning at the end of a long day to a dreary hotel, or even worse a tired gite, is a dis-spiriting affair. Your return to this lovely and comfortable small villa is something to look forward to. Your heart will lift at the end of the day. Even in the cooler and wetter months you will find the villa a welcoming refuge. With a properly cooked meal and a nice bottle of wine you can look forward to discussing the day’s viewings. It is also a very good way of seeing the area out of the high season.

Bird watchers do not need telling what to do. They get up before dawn and come back for a late breakfast, enthusing about the amazing number of bird species they have spotted. We have a list of birds seen in the area by keen amateurs. April and May are particularly exciting for birders.