There isn’t a sign announcing Maison de la Roche but the directions say “if you get to the bins, you have gone too far, the wooden gates are just before it”. Wooden gates that simply say “27” on the Rue de Carcasonne in the pretty Languedoc village of Ferrals de Corbieres. Not wishing to knock on the wrong gates I jumped out of our hire car (picked up at Carcasonne airport which is little over half an hour away) and peeped through the gap between the gates and the wall to see if I could see any hint of this being the right place. And there in the courtyard was Bob the Pyrenean mountain dog who is a bit of an Instagram legend.
So we pushed the buzzer and the gates opened on the courtyard in front of Honor, the owner’s house, and two of the three gites she lets out. As the gates closed again behind us Honor was already running across the courtyard to give us the kind of hug reserved for old family friends and Bob was wandering over to give us the once over too.
We had arrived. Despite chatting to Honor online for years and seeing her regular posts of life at the gites I had no idea what to really expect when we arrived. Told to park anywhere Honor helped us with our bags to the gite we were staying in, tucked around the corner from the first two, it had its only little courtyard that looked out on to the pool. In the shade of an olive tree with stone walls on all sides and a wisteria showing off it couldn’t have been more perfect.
We had stopped en route from the airport for supplies (there are at least three supermarkets on the way, all open until 8pm so if you want to travel with hand luggage and not worry about shower gel / shampoo etc it is easy to stock up before arriving) of bread, milk and cheese and so having dropped our bags in our room we instantly felt we were on holiday.
It might have only been for four days but in an area of France we don’t really know that well at all so we were keen to cram in as much as possible. On our first morning Honor invited us to come with her on a short walk with Bob so we could have a chat and also see a bit more of the village of Ferrals les Corbieres. Slap bang in the heart of the Languedoc, the village, and therefore the gite, are in the middle of wine growing country and there are vineyards just across the road, and on every available parcel of land as far as the eye can see. Any road trip is through row upon row of vines, all beginning to show the first signs of foliage and a tantalising glimpse of what will become this year’s vintage.
So whilst this little village (complete with restaurants and a boulangerie) is in the heart of the countryside it is only a stones throw from the main road that takes you to the medieval towns of Lagrasse (dubbed the best medieval village in France by many), Carcasonne, Narbonne, Perpignan, Tolouse, Collioure and the Spanish border. We ventured to many of these during our stay and I am going to write about them each day this week in a series of posts about the area. There was also a great selection of leaflets and info on the local area, plus Honor was always on hand with recommendations of places to go or restaurants to visit. Even booking tables for us, nothing was too much trouble for her.
For now though, this is a glimpse of the rest of Maison de la Roche. It comes with everything you would expect of a luxury gite, fully equipped kitchen, stunning power shower, board games, TV with British TV channels, barbecue, Wi-Fi, heating for chillier evenings, bed linen and towels. You name it, it’s here, and all spotlessly clean.
To show you just what I mean, here are some pics of two bedroom cottage we stayed in:
Along with a little glimpse of the outside and rest of the property.
I was totally mesmerised by the blue sky on our last day, and the stark contrast of the stone and the wisteria growing up from Honor’s garden.
Our two bedroomed gite slept four, as do the other two apartments so it would be possible to take over the property and accommodate 12 if you wanted to, though it wouldn’t feel over crowded if you had just one of them and were sharing the pool with other families, there is plenty of space both indoors and out.
We couldn’t have asked for anything more from a self catering property in the south of France.
Except maybe a timeshare in it so we can be guaranteed being able to stay again