Chateau Les Carrasses

Quarante, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Book from Book from £125 per night

Picture-perfect chateau with stunning food and self-catering villas for 2-8, set amid vineyards near the Canal du Midi; ideal for families
Our jaws dropped as we swept up the tree-lined drive, through vineyards bursting with colour, to Château Les Carrasses - a 19th-century castle straight out of a fairytale. And this hideaway comes with a magical tale, too. It was built in 1886, at the height of Languedoc's wine boom, on the foundations of a pilgrimage rest stop. Over a century later it fell into ruin and lay abandoned for many years, before being rescued and completely transformed by Irish owners Karl and Anita.

Now, 28 self-catering suites and villas sit within the chateau’s original structure: bathrooms nestle in turrets, 3-bedroom villas occupy the former wine cellars, and the gardener’s cottage is a romantic retreat. Each has private outdoor space and is tastefully decorated with French antiques. There's also a heated infinity pool, a Mediterranean-style brasserie run by eminent chef Valère Diochet, and wonderfully warm staff full of local knowledge. Spend your days playing pétanque under pine trees and visiting Languedoc’s picturesque villages and markets, or drive 30 minutes to glorious sandy beaches. On top of being beautiful, this is one of the warmest regions in France, with over 300 days of sunshine a year.

Highs

    • The idyllic rural setting - 10 acres of vineyards, meadow and woodland, and the Pyrenees mountains as a backdrop
    • A relaxed ambiance but luxurious feel
    • Heaven for families with various sizes of accommodation (some have private pools) plus tennis courts and a kids club in July and August
    • Bikes to borrow; pack a picnic and cycle along the famous Canal du Midi
    • Mealtime flexibility: you can self cater, eat à la carte in the excellent brasserie, grab takeaway pizzas or get meals delivered

Lows

  • Seven-night minimum stay preferred in peak season (July and August)
  • Don't expect full hotel facilities such as a spa; this is a self-catering property with perks
  • You'll need a car to get here and explore the region
  • The brasserie menu is light on vegetarian options but the chef is happy to create something on request
  • Some private gardens are overlooked
World Favourite Family Hideaway

    Best rooms for families

    Various 1- to 3-bedroom villas, which can sleep a maximum of 8 people, all with well-equipped kitchens. A number have private pools and all (except the Suites du Chateau) have enclosed, private gardens.

    Parents should know...

    Steep steps in some properties; all private pools are alarmed but unfenced; terraces/gardens enclosed
  • Baby cots
  • High chairs
  • Stair gates
  • Potties
  • Baby baths
  • Baby monitors
  • Bottle warming

Some equipment may need to be requested in advance

On request

There’s a kids club during Easter week, spring half-term and the summer holidays for children aged 4-12, with a range of activities including pétanque, arts and crafts, acting and singing

The brasserie has a kids menu. Private kitchens in the villas mean you can prepare meals and snacks throughout the day; note that the nearest supermarkets are a 10-minute drive away

  • Heated infinity pool
  • Tennis court
  • Bikes to borrow for the whole family
  • Volleyball court
  • Petanque
  • DVDs, books and toys
  • Safari park
  • Horse riding
  • Waterpark
  • Aquarium
  • Zoo
  • Fairground

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • Boutique chateau
  • 28 suites and villas
  • Self catering, restaurant on-site
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Babysitting
  • Creche / Kids Club
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

There are 28 self-catering suites and villas spread across the grounds, hidden between lavender, honeysuckle and jasmine, and amongst fountains. Suites occupy the main chateau and feel more romantic. They also benefit from traditional hotel servicing and incredible views across the vineyards. For honeymooners, we’d suggest the cosy and secluded gardener’s cottage (Maison du Jardinier), hidden at the edge of the property, with its own pool.

Within the former wine cellars, blacksmith’s quarters and stables, you find a mix of 2- and 3-bedroom villas. Some have a private pool or Jacuzzi; all have gardens or terraces. Our favourites were the atmospheric villas in the old wine cave with incredible views towards the mountains and mezzanines perched atop wooden beams (Les Maisons de la Cave).

Décor is chic throughout, blending modern comforts with original features and bespoke local handicrafts. Expect vintage prints of mushroom varieties, ancient wooden chests and gilded mirrors.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • DVD player
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Phone
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

All suites and villas have state-of-the-art kitchens, equipped with every gadget you need to whip up a feast. Mouth-wateringly fresh produce is available at the local markets.

The Mediterranean-style brasserie - fronted by chef Valère Diochet - is a relaxed place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the morning, a long table heaves under a spread of fresh pastries, cheeses and meats - we couldn’t stop eating succulent figs from the estate. Lunch was a delight, too: pea soup topped with burrata, followed by grilled sea bass. For dinner, choose à la carte dishes such as pan-fried scallops with chestnut velouté or try the chef's tasting menu. We washed everything down with a bottle of the chateau’s Syrah. Perfection.

If you prefer to dine in the privacy of your accommodation, all meals can be ordered to take away. In summer, there's a pizza delivery service and barbecue packs are available. For a change of scene, there are wonderful restaurants in the surrounding villages; ask reception for suggestions.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Welcome hamper
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Laze by the infinity pool with a book and soak up the views
  • Work up a sweat: the chateau has a pétanque court, a clay tennis court and a beach volleyball pitch
  • Enjoy a wine-tasting afternoon. There are hundreds of vineyards close by; try St Chinian, Faugeres or the Minervois
  • Borrow bikes and explore the chateau’s 10 acres of vineyard, meadow and woodland
  • Take a trip along the picturesque Canal du Midi - either by barge or kayak
  • Explore the Languedoc region: we’d recommend trips to hilltop Minerve, colourful Sète and seaside Gruissan
  • The gold-sand beaches at Serignan and Portiragnes are a 25-minute drive

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse riding
    • Kayaking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Petanque
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Volleyball
    • Wine tasting

Best Time to go

Both early summer (May and June) and early autumn (September) are beautiful - the weather is warm and the area not too crowded. Wine connoisseurs, take note; September sees the region’s grape harvest so is a great time for winery tours. We visited in October and found complete peace, but temperatures were cool and we had a few downpours. If possible, avoid July and August as prices rise and restaurants are often fully booked.

Our Top Tips

  • Take a book and a glass of wine to the orangerie. It’s a magical hideout full of plants, books and sofas.

  • Make a trip to the coast: we had the most blissful day at Gruissan taking long windy walks along the beach and feasting on our French picnic while overlooking the lagoon.
  • Kid Friendly:

    Location

    The Château Les Carrasses estate lies between the villages of Quarante, Capestang and Puisserguier in the Languedoc region in southwest France. It’s 30 minutes from both Béziers and Narbonne.

    By Air:
    The largest and best-served airports in the region are Perpignan (85km), Montpellier (95km) and Toulouse (165km), but nearby Béziers (33km) also has an airport. You'll definitely need to hire a car to get here as there's no public transport to the hamlet.

    By Train:
    If you'd prefer to travel overland from the UK, there are good services to Montpellier. If you're coming from London and your train is not direct, change in Lille (a platform change) rather than Paris (a station change).

    Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

    More on getting to France and getting around

    Airports:

    • Béziers Cap d'Agde Airport 33.0 km BZR
    • Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport 95.0 km MPL

    Other:

    • Beach 30.0 km
    • Shops 3.5 km
    • Restaurant 3.5 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    9/10
    Room
    7/10
    Food
    8/10
    Service
    8/10
    Value
    8/10
    Overall

    Our apartment, Le Parc Bellevue, was a very convenient and spacious apartment, anything you could think of in terms of kitchen utensils and childcare stuff was available. Lovely large heated pool which was great for our windy September stay. We had expected a little bit more from our dinner, which was OK but nothing special. The beautiful views from the terrace made up for the food though. Kids loved the little bikes available.

    8/10,

    Our garden was very small and enclosed and felt claustrophobic. The terrace just wasn’t big enough for 4 beds and a garden table and the garden also need pruning which would have opened it up. Recommendations were excellent - Latino beach club at Sérignan plage (gorgeous sandy beach backed by dunes with quite atmosphere) and seafood restaurant near Le Grussian - la cambouse du sanier - reservations made for us and both place were highlights of the holiday. Le Gruissan beach much bigger and busier - only one very small private part with some umbrellas and parasols otherwise it’s exposed) with a long wide beach with more wet than soft sand - backed by cool beach bars many offering water sports. Also a wet suit shop.

    9/10,

    We were delighted with our stay at Les Carasses and will be recommending it to friends as somewhere wonderful to stay. The house itself was very impressive and it made our holiday, having somewhere so lovely to spend time in. Pool alarm was a nightmare and with teenagers it wasn't needed, so very relieved once we spoke to the maintenance guy who turned it off. Much more relaxing! Might be worth establishing ages of children at check in and establishing if alarm is necessary. Staff were all so friendly and helpful - always happy to help with any request at all. I'm sure we will be back in the future. Thank you for a lovely holiday!

    10/10,

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