But there are plenty of 21st-century features to enjoy too: a large infinity pool and sun terrace with panoramic views across the lush valley, tennis courts, an onsite restaurant as well as fully-fitted kitchens in all the rooms. The décor leans towards the comfortable and sympathetic – roomy sofas and armchairs, lots of exposed brickwork, wooden beams and flooring, as well as cavernous open fireplaces and wrought-iron bannisters. All of the rooms also have private terraces.
We found it difficult to tear ourselves away, but the surrounding region is well worth visiting. There are swimming lakes and caves to explore; bustling Carcassonne (15km) is crammed with wonderful shops and eateries; and historic Narbonne is an hour's drive.
- All the apartments are set up for self-catering, but there's also an onsite restaurant where you can dine in the converted wine vaults (very romantic) or out on the beautiful terrace
- Fantastic infinity pool with spectacular views that’s also big enough for laps or lilo-lounging
- The range of accommodation makes it great for children of all ages as well as groups of varying sizes (well-behaved pets welcome too)
- The sprawling grounds, encompassing tennis courts, vineyards, orchards and landscaped gardens, are beautiful
- Nothing is too much trouble for manager Marlin - she was super helpful during our stay and always on hand when we needed her
- A car is pretty much a must if you want to leave the estate
- The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- No twin beds in any of the accommodation, and only some apartments have air-conditioning
- Toddlers or those with mobility issues might struggle with the uneven steps in many of the apartments
- We felt that rooms could do with blackout curtains
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Chateau
- 13 apartments & villas for 2-6
- Restaurant + self-catering
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car recommended
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Tennis Court
- Laundry Service
There are 13 apartments, and they can all host at least 2 adults and 2 children. Each has been individually designed and has its own layout and idiosyncrasies.
The largest are the two separate villas. The Villa Mas du Chateau is probably the grandest – a bright, airy villa that has its own private pool and garden (and terrace) and two bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom. The Villa Benoué is located near the main pool and has a bright, spacious open-plan living area and huge bay windows.
The rest of the accommodation is in the castle itself and incorporates beautifully restored features. Highlights include the Quéribus, which is located in one of the towers. It has three rooms, a 7-metre-high ceiling, a double staircase and a huge fireplace. Puivert also has three rooms and is a winding apartment with rustic stone floors and an authentic old kitchen. Peyrepertuse is a two-bedroom apartment on two levels and features a 6-metre-high natural stone barrel vault. If stairs are an issue, choose Lastours (although it does still have a couple of steps).
We stayed in Tautavel, an elegant duplex with a living room and kitchen at the bottom and two bedrooms on the floor above. It felt airy and spacious with its big mirrors and high ceilings. Decor is soft pinks and blues, and the charming stone bathroom is incorporated into one of the old towers of the Chateau. Views are of the central courtyard on one side and the French garden on the other.
All of the apartments have some private outside space, a few have air-conditioning, and wherever you stay, you get a full kitchen for self-catering.
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Pool towels
All of the apartments and villas have kitchens, each equipped with an oven and hob, dishwasher, pots, pans and plenty of crockery. Stock up on supplies at the markets and shops in Carcassonne. Crispy pastries and crusty bread from the local boulangerie can be delivered to your apartment each morning, and basic supplies (salt, pepper, etc.) can be provided on request.
Or you can be catered for. Le Castel restaurant offers breakfast every day (croissants, toasts, yogurts, cereals, fresh fruit). In the evening, it's great for a romantic dinner a deux. Dining takes place in the cosy wine vault, or you can sit out on the pretty sun-trap terrace overlooking the gardens. Here we tucked into a beautiful feast of tomato and potato tartar, duck with plum sauce, and chicken with almonds, followed by a comforting banana and raspberry crumble. It was all spectacular. As you'd expect, the wines were top-notch too - make sure you ask about pairing.
Needless to say, French cooking is the predominant cuisine in this region, and no visit would be complete without sampling a local cassoulet – the white bean, meat and vegetable stew that originated in nearby Carcassonne, centuries ago. There’s even a cassoulet academy (L’Academie Universelle du Cassoulet)!
But there are also plenty of dining options a short drive away, particularly in Carcassonne, which boasts two Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as assorted bistros and cafes. Given its nearness to the Spanish border, there are lots of tapas outlets and even one or two burger joints. The diet here can be a little meat heavy but vegans and vegetarians are also well catered for.
- Kids' meals
- You’re in Languedoc wine country, with the vineyards of Minervois to the north and Corbieres to the south, so doing a wine tour and tasting is almost de rigueur
- Sightseers are spoiled for choice. The main draw is La Cité Citadel in nearby Carcassonne with its watchtowers, Gothic cathedral and medieval old town. Further afield you can explore the prehistoric (and chilly) caves of Limousis, the 12th-century Cathar castles or the Mayronnes Sculpture Trail
- The more active can head for the Lac de la Cavayère, a 40-hectare leisure park that’s great for hiking, zip-lining, fishing, swimming and paddleboarding; there are also restaurants, food vans and sun decks
- The best shops are to be found in Carcassonne in the lower city, Bastide Saint Louis, bustling with clothing stalls and interesting independent retailers. Foodies should head to the vast Les Halles de Narbonne, a huge Baltard-style covered market brimming with gourmet produce from all over France
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Shopping / markets
- Wine tasting
Children of all ages are very welcome, and there's accommodation to suit different family sizes (up to 6). Kids will love the amount of space there is for playing, and there are lots of activities on site to keep them busy - like tennis, swimming, chess, and boules. Elsewhere there are outdoor adventures aplenty (cycling, boat trips, zip-lining). Baby cots, extra beds and high chairs can be provided, and the restaurant's chef can create healthy, kid-friendly dinners on request.
Family friendly accommodation:
The apartments and villas range in size from 1-3 bedrooms, but all can sleep a minimum of two adults and two kids. Each has its own kitchen, and baby cots, extra beds and high chairs can be provided. Note that there are no twin rooms. For added privacy, choose one of the villas (Mas du Chateau or Benoue), which are separate from the main chateau.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
- High chair
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool with inflatables
- Giant chess board
Kids Activities nearby:
- Lac de la Cavayère (with beach, zip wire, watersports and an aqua park)
- Australian animal park
- Donkey Sanctuary
Families Should Know:
There are lots of stairs in some apartments, and the windows are a little low for adventurous children, so be extra cautious.
- Airport: 30 minutes
- Hospital: 20 minutes
- Shops: 5 minutes
Chateau Villarlong is located 16 km from the medieval city of Carcassone in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of south-west France.
The closest airport is Carcassonne (17.5 km). You could also fly into Toulouse (117 km).
You'll probably want a car to explore the region (see our car rental recommendations).
Carcassonne is served by TGV trains as well as direct trains from London St Pancras (journey time: 9-10 hours).
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.
- Carcassonne 17.5 km CCF
- Toulouse 117.0 km TLS
- Beach 85.0 km
- Shops 4.0 km
- Restaurant 4.0 km