Languedoc Hideaways

Aude, Languedoc, France Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
A trio 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 3 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.


  • 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


  • The cottages have a wonderful rustic style but don't expect immaculate interiors
  • Opened in 2015, improvements are ongoing
  • 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
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique gites
  • 3
  • Self-catering, drive to shops and restaurants
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Jan 2017 - 28 Feb 2017
  • 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


Two of the 3 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.

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:

  • Barbeque
  • 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


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: Jasmin


  • 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.

    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


    • 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:

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