“London meets Languedoc at this hip hideaway in the hills south of Carcassonne”
Le Trésor has 5 rooms ranged along the building's first floor. All are high-ceilinged with an airy, expansive feel, which provides a perfect canvas for jazzy headboards and Farrow & Ball walls. A mix of contemporary prints and oil paintings enlivens the spaces, while eye-catching chandeliers, angular lamps and Jo Malone candles lighting side of things just right. There are antique trunks and old armchairs plundered from the local brocantes. Planked floors, cornicing and marble fireplaces remind you that you're staying in a genuine maison bourgeoise.
Our leader-of-the-pack would be Room 1, a massive suite that has an emperor-size bed, a free-standing roll-top bathtub and a spare bedroom/dressing room. Room 5 is also stunning - a romantic bolthole with a large freestanding bath, 'Italian' shower, and stylish living area.
In the remaining rooms, showers take the place of baths. We stayed in calm and comfortable Room 4, the largest, and were charmed by the feature marble fireplace. Whitewashed Room 3 can be made up as a twin or double, and smaller Room 2 has a lovely antique armchair beside shuttered windows overlooking the square.
All rooms have really comfy mattresses and crisp Egyptian cotton bedding, and in your bath or shower room you're treated to a generous range of L'Occitane products.
Next door, self-catering 2-bedroom Petite Maison opens onto a flagstoned sitting room with kitchen corner, comfortable sofas and a wood burner. French doors open onto a private, south-facing garden with iron furniture and sun loungers. Upstairs the main bedroom has views to the hills, and an ensuite with twin basins, bathtub and separate shower; the second bedroom has a small ensuite shower.
It's always nice to come across a place with a genuine commitment to buying local and organic produce. Get your Languedoc day going with an excellent breakfast, served in the high-ceilinged dining room which looks out to the Place de l'Eglise, or out in the garden when the weather is right. Delicious local apple juice as well as mille fleurs honey comes from the village whilst your bread, pains aux chocolat and croissants are brought oven-fresh from the local boulangerie. Expect a fresh fruit salad or a smoothie, creamy yoghurt, homemade jams and Nespresso coffee.
Set 3-course dinners are normally available 3 nights a week, depending on how many guests are interested. On our first visit, the hosts prepared us a scrummy supper in the fairy-lit dining room: an entrée of chicory, roquefort and pear salad, followed by magret de canard served with creamy mashed potatoes and roasted root veg, then a dessert of lemon posset. On our second visit, we ate in the garden - equally magical, with a sweet potato and feta tart; poisson with parmesan and buttered courgettes followed by a chocolate and almond cake with blueberries and crème fraîche.
Grazing boards and summer barbecues are also commonplace, but on evenings when dinners aren't being served, you'll only need to jump in the car. The nearest place to eat is 3km away in Chalabre, where you can choose between a simple pizzeria or the rather more staid Hôtel de France. If you're happy to drive a little further, Mirepoix has masses of restaurants, including the excellent L'autre Jardin.
If you're staying in Petite Maison, you can self-cater or eat in the guesthouse on request. Bear in mind there are no shops in the village so it's best to stock up on the way here, but you'll receive a welcome hamper with a selection of local produce (for bookings of 1 week+ only). The kitchen is small but has a double hob, oven, kettle and fridge, plus loads of crockery. In the summer, fire up the barbecue; help yourself to fresh herbs from the garden to complement salads.
All ages are welcome here, and the garden and village square are both child-friendly. There are plenty of places to go nearby with young children, and even the Med is under 2 hours drive away.
Petite Maison is ideal for families with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and plenty of privacy (though longers stays are preferred). For shorter stays, Room 1 is the best option, it has a large main bedroom, bathtub and a small adjoining single room for a child.
Babysitting available by arrangement
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking