Languedoc Hideaways

Aude, Languedoc, France Book from Book from £75 per night

A clutch of rustic chic cottages with 20m lap pool and sunny gardens, 30 minutes from Carcassonne (each sleeps 2-7, or 14 in total)
Will and Tilly Howard had successfully run a nearby village B&B for 9 years when the opportunity arose to move to a farmhouse with barns overlooking a bucolic vineyard valley and small lake. They jumped at the chance to bring their boys up in the country and set about converting the barns into 4 self-catering cottages complete with 20-metre lap pool and south-facing terraced gardens.

Interiors bear Tilly's trademark flair and simplicity: whitewashed walls, splashes of colour, roll-top baths, flowers, exposed beams and the odd print. Will is a dab hand at creating and reclaiming useful bits of wooden furniture. Each cottage has private space to the rear and wonderful views; the smallest is separate from the other dwellings, perfect for couples, while the largest can sleep up to 7, ideal for families. There's a nascent kitchen garden (evening meals can be arranged on request), hammocks strung between trees, communal weekly barbecues and a sociable Barn Bar complete with ping pong and pool table. And you're in the heart of dramatic Cathar country: ruined castles, rushing rivers, authentic market towns for delicious local provisions and brocante shopping, and a wealth of wineries.

Highs

  • Lovely relaxed style and set up, you'll feel instantly at home here
  • Friendly helpful owners who live on site
  • Easy to find, just half-an-hour from Carcassonne
  • Delightful part of the world, with heaps to do in the region, and fascinating Cathar history
  • Great value

Lows

  • The cottages have a wonderful rustic style but don't expect immaculate interiors
  • Improvements are ongoing, there have been some changes since our 2015 visit
  • Expect to be sociable; no hardship for most
  • Summers get booked up fast
  • Just set in from the road; luckily it's not very busy

Best time to go

Languedoc Hideaways is closed every January and February. Spring is charming in the region (the hills are full of wild orchids), the summers wonderful and warm (can be very hot at times), and the autumns a riot of colour and harvests. Rain falls mainly in the winter months.

Our top tips

Visiting the Cathar castles is a must: although a bit of a steep climb to the summit for most, they repay your efforts with amazing views and a real sense of a bygone era.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique gites
  • 4
  • Self-catering, drive to shops and restaurants
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Towels & linen provided
Room:

Rooms

Two of the cottages flank Tilly and Will's home, the whole forms a stone terrace bookended by large barns. The largest, Le Jasmin, where we stayed, has 2 bedrooms – a high-ceilinged double and twin attic room for kids – plus TV snug with sofa bed on the top floors. Below is the kitchen-diner-living space and bathroom with excellent walk-in shower and clawfoot bath.

L'Etoile is also on 3 floors but narrower so there's one room per level. In descending order: the master bedroom with shower bathroom, a living room with sofabed and Juliet balcony for those awesome vineyard views, and the funky kitchen-diner.

Smallest, for couples, in the garden and mini-orchard near the pool, is stand-alone Le Figuier with galley kitchen and shower bathroom (with underfloor heating) beside an airy bedroom.

Since our visit, Le Marin has been added. The owners promise that this ground-floor apartment is a spacious home-from-home, with one bedroom (kingsized bed), a small kitchen, shower bathroom and a private terrace.

All have whitewashed walls, natural materials like rattan or flagstones on the floors, kingsize beds, a private terrace or patch of garden with table and chairs (and your own BBQ) and full kitchens.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Oven
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

The 3 kitchens have all you need for self-catering. Each has a coffee machine as well as oven, stove and fridge-freezer in which you'll find your bottle of Blanquette de Limoux (the inspiration for Champagne) for booking through i-escape. Tea, coffee and milk are supplied on arrival. The 2 larger cottages have dishwashers and dining tables, Le Figuier's bistro table and chairs are on its private terrace overlooking the orchard and vines.

Your convivial hosts arrange a weekly communal barbecue and pizza night, dinners and apero boards can be arranged on request. The Barn Bar has an honesty bar, clay pizza oven, pool table and ping pong as well as sofas; here Tilly provides a Sunday brunch May-October. Delicious cassoulet and pizza can be delivered (we partook on our first night). Alternatively head out for dinner to Limoux, Mirepoix, or Belveze-du-Raze, we enjoyed a meal at winery Domaine Gayda, or plunder the local food shops and markets (Mirepoix Mondays and Thursdays, Limoux Fridays - about 10-15 minutes drive away).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Communal dining
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Oven
Eating: L\\\'Etoile
Activity:

Activities

  • This is Cathar Country: hike along the Cathar Trail or climb up to soak up the views from these magnificent castles (we visited Montsegur and Puilaurens) and discover a fascinating period of history
  • With a vineyard in the valley below, and wineries all around, sampling local fruits of the vine is a popular pastime
  • Check out the local markets and brocante shops
  • For active types canyoning, canoeing, white-water rafting, wild swimming and paragliding are all possible nearby; Tilly and Will can make bookings for you
  • It's easy to explore the area and cycle and walk from the property; Tilly and Will can advise

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Canyoning
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Paragliding
  • Rafting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Wine tasting

Kids

We enjoyed bringing our family to these boutique gites which are very well set up for children (Tilly and Will have two sons so know about providing for families). There's even a lovely big rocking horse to ride at the entrance. Our children romped around the grounds, eagerly bouncing on the trampoline, playing football, swinging in hammocks, feeding the chickens, and playing with the toys and games in situ. The pool is gated and the cottages are well-equipped for easy self-catering. And there are lots of child-friendly activities in the area. Fun for all the family!

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Le Jasmin, where we stayed, and L'Etoile are perfect for families: both are over three storeys, with useful kitchens and comfy living rooms. Le Jasmin sleeps up to 5 in two bedrooms and has an additional TV snug room plus a tub in the bathroom, while L'Etoile has a master bedroom and shower bathroom on the top floor and a sofa bed in the living room below. Both have their own small terrace/patio area outside their kitchen doors for valley views, Le Jasmin also has a hammock at the front. Le Marin has room for an extra bed or baby cot, and can work as an annexe to Jasmin or Etoile, or for a family of 3

Baby equipment:

  • Baby bedding
  • Night light
  • Baby bath
  • Stair gates
  • Books and toys

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

All cottages are well-equipped for self-catering

Kids Activities on site:

  • Fenced swimming pool
  • Trampoline
  • Hammocks
  • Chickens to feed
  • Swings and slide
  • Toys and outdoor games to borrow
  • Table tennis
  • Pool table

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Tennis
  • Bison farm
  • Butterfly farm
  • Goat farm 2 minutes away
  • Parks
  • Accorparc
  • Caves and castles to explore
  • Water park in Carcassonne
  • Underground river trips
  • Beach is an hour's drive

Families Should Know:

The pool is fenced. A few drops and steps around the property so keep an eye on toddlers

Distances:

  • Airport: 35 minutes (Carcassonne); 1hr 15 minutes (Toulouse)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes (Limoux); 35 minutes (Carcassonne)
  • Shops: 10-15 minutes (Belveze-du-Razes, Limoux and Mirepoix)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

I cannot describe what a wonderful stay we had at Languedoc hideaways. A perfect match for us with daily cycling (Tilly matched us up with elite bike hire) and lazy days soaking up the sun by the pool. The gite was beautifully decorated (the photos don't even begin do it justice) and perfectly equipped for self catering, cosy evenings and also for families. The whole setting is incredibly beautiful, with wonderful views and a serene, beautiful atmosphere. The nearest supermarket is about 15 mins drive away (there are plenty by the airport though!). All in all an absolute steal and lovely generous hosts, we couldn't recommend it more highly. We will be back!

10/10,

All 4 members of our family cannot recommend Tilly and Will's Languedoc treasure highly enough. The grounds are lush, with a beautiful pool, hidden gardens and a small soccer pitch perfect for kids and parents alike. There are countless thoughtful nooks and crannies: the honor barn bar replete with outdoor lounge, pool table nook, a garden chess table, and outdoor dining alcoves in several spots. The apartments are whitewashed, bright, roomy...we felt instantly at home and spoiled rotten at the same time. All of this in a setting looking out over vineyards, the mountains, and near so many fun adventures. The very best part was Tilly and Will and their boys. They make the whole place light up with their smiles, kindness, and enjoy doing what they're doing. It shows. Go out of your way to stay if you need to...you won't regret it and like us, you won't want to leave.

10/10,

This review is long overdue as this really was one of the loveliest places in which we've ever stayed. Arriving at the house after dark, having driven from Toulouse, was pure magic - from trundling over country roads and hillsides through the dusk, to picking our way through a fairy-lit garden to our little cottage in the grounds. The whole place is beautiful - all climbing flowers, herbs and fruit trees, opening outwards onto rolling vineyards and woodland stretching away to the horizon. And with a pool! Which was lovely - and long enough to get in some laps when not gazing at the view with wine in hand. We stayed in the little one-bed cottage, which was private and perfect and had everything we needed. Coffee on the little terrace was idyllic, as was a BBQ we fired up with coal donated from other friendly guests. Tilly and Will are fantastic hosts - relaxed and warm, always on hand to help, but never hovering (they v. kindly fired up the pizza oven just for us on an evening when other guests had already checked out). Away from the house, there's a ton to explore - but definitely with a car. In a few days we took in forts, picturesque villages, beaches, valleys, plains and a family of wild boar crossing the road from Carcassonne. We had a really wonderful holiday here - so peaceful, and everything felt like a luxury. I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

10/10,

In a way I don't want to review Languedoc Hideaways in order to keep it a secret but that would be a disservice to all the owners hard work. A beautiful idyllic home from home with a dose of luxury.

10/10,

A fantastic holiday destination. The views are amazing, there is a great pool and communal area. The description on i-escape is totally fitting. The owners are so helpful and welcoming and their pizza night is awesome!

10/10,

We had an amazing stay with Will and Tilly! Whilst the rooms are simple, the whole place has just a wonderful atmosphere. Will and Tilly treat you as friends, and really make a difference to your stay. Tilly is an amazing cook who offers a meal once a week and Will made excellent pizzas in the home made pizza oven. The place is a paradise for kids, and our six year old did not want to leave at all. We spent most of our days lazing about by the pool or by the bar area, whilst our son was running around with the other kids. We will definitely recommend this place to our friends and come back ourselves.

10/10,

Tilly & Will have created a charming hideaway in a beautiful part of France. They are perfect hosts (and great cooks when they've fired up the pizza oven!) We stayed in Le Figuier, which is simply but tastefully furnished and slightly removed from the main house so you get a little privacy while still remaining connected. Internet access in the cottage is sporadic (though better in the main house) so relish the excuse to switch off and enjoy dozing off overlooking the vineyards. We wish we could have stayed longer but hope to return.

10/10,

We had a really good stay. Tilly was very helpful we our car broke down and offers a extra night free of charge. Thanks Tilly

8/10,

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Rates for Languedoc Hideaways