Maison ila

Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Book from GBP Book from £130 per night

Maison ila

Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Welcoming and nurturing wellness-inspired B&B in the hills south of Carcassonne with fragrant gardens and organic breakfasts

Welcoming and nurturing wellness-inspired B&B in the hills south of Carcassonne with fragrant gardens and organic breakfasts

From the outside, Maison ila has quintessentially southern French good looks; a triple-storied maison de maître with green shuttered windows looking out onto the sleepy but beautiful village square of Sonnac-sur-l'Hers in sunny Languedoc. But step inside this Occitan bolthole to discover a chic and intimate wellbeing retreat with just five individually decorated bedrooms and a separate two-bedroom cottage. All overlook the village square and have lovely details including herbal tisanes, super-comfy beds dressed in Egyptian cotton, organic products, including anti-viral herbal handwashes, Himalayan bath salts and fragrant oils.

Your hosts, Denise and John, have imbued all with a wonderfully nurturing vibe – their skin and aromatherapy spa brand, ila, showcases natural and organic products. The house's original features – an elegant banistered staircase, panelling and marble fireplaces – have been overlaid with Indian artisan furniture, romantic chandeliers, and tranquil hues. All senses are satiated here: jewel colours are found in cushions and throws, the leafy garden smells of jasmine, damask rose and herbs, the (mostly vegetarian) food is local, seasonal and bursts with real flavour. You're encouraged to treat Maison ila as you would your own home.


  • The beautiful yoga, sound healing and meditation space which instills restorative calm to all
  • Stay on either a B&B basis and use nature as your healer, or book a multi-day retreat that includes blissful treatments
  • The range of treatments and therapies in question include craniosacral therapy, vitality-boosting massages and gorgeous facials
  • Excellent breakfasts using locally sourced, organic produce and bread and pastries from the nearby boulangerie
  • Sonnac is well off the tourist trail, yet an easy drive from some of Languedoc's prettiest villages and only an hour from Carcassonne


  • You'll need to head out for dinner; local restaurants are a drive away
  • Little to see or do in this workaday little village – and no shops (which is half the attraction); the surrounding hills are beautiful, with views of distant Pyrenees
  • Expect to hear passing traffic as well as the comings and goings of the other guests
  • We have yet to visit since the new owners have taken charge, and can't wait to try the Bien Etre therapies and treatments when we get there
  • There's no WiFi in the self-catering cottage (La Petite Maison) – a chance to disconnect!

Best time to go

To see the wildflowers at their best, May and June is the time to be here. The autumn months are also memorable when first the vines and then the fruit trees change colour. And if you're here to ski, any time between December through to the end of April should guarantee you a decent amount of snow.

Our top tips

Pack your yoga gear, walking boots, plenty of good reading material or watercolours and a drawing block, this is your time to recalibrate, unwind and be nurtured.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
  • Wellness B&B
  • 5 rooms + 1 cottage for 2-4
  • Breakfast
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car recommended
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
Room: Chambre Un


The five rooms are ranged along the building's first floor. All are high-ceilinged with an airy, expansive feel: a perfect canvas for statement mirrors, eye-catching chandeliers, headboards and Farrow & Ball walls. There are antique trunks and old armchairs plundered from the local brocantes. Planked floors, cornicing and marble fireplaces remind you that this is a genuine maison bourgeoise.

Serene Chambre Un is a massive suite with an emperor-size bed, a free-standing roll-top bathtub and a spare bedroom/dressing room. Chambre Cinq 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 Chambre Quatre, and were charmed by the feature marble fireplace and its bold day bed. Whitewashed Chambre Trois has a kingsize bed, while smaller Chambre Deux has a lovely antique bed beside shuttered windows overlooking the square.

For couples travelling together or a small family there's La Petite Maison, which has two bedrooms on the top floor, and a well-stocked kitchen opening onto a cosy living room on the ground floor. Outside is a private terrace garden. Note there is no WiFi in La Petite Maison, so you'll need to head up to the main house if you want to connect.

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 Denise's signature ila organic products. Note that there are no twin beds.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots available
  • Hairdryer
  • In-room treatments available
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


It's always nice to find somewhere with a genuine commitment to buying local and organic produce. Get going with an excellent breakfast: 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 freshly made coffee.

Food can be served in the high-ceilinged dining room looking out to the Place de l'Eglise, or in the magical garden when weather permits.

Hampers for picnic lunches and in-room breakfasts can be easily arranged, these need pre-booking.

For other meals, you'll 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.

Set 3-course dinners of scrummy vegetarian fare are occasionally offered on request at the maison when retreats are running. The honesty bar has a carefully chosen selection of local organic wines, beers and cremant.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Honesty bar
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian options


  • The healing and nurturing here can be in the form of 3, 5 or 7 day programmes (which include organic meals, daily activities, Wild Training, yoga and meditation sessions) or simply choose one of the many treatments and in-room therapies on offer
  • Follow way-marked footpaths out from the village or head off for a day's hiking or skiing in the Pyrenees
  • Get on your bike: this region is very popular for cycling, with the Tour du France passing right through the village. The hotel can organise bike hire in advance of your stay
  • Spend a day in Carcassonne making sure to get going early in summer if you want to beat the crowds. The medieval walled Cité is a Unesco World Heritage Site, as is the stunning Canal du Midi, which used to link the Mediterranean and Atlantic
  • Shop for a picnic in Mirepoix, then head into Cathar country to visit some of France’s most beautiful bastide towns and ruins of spectacular fortresses
  • Swim in the lakes at Puivert or Montbel; both are ideal for families with younger children. There's also wild river swimming across the lane, swimming towels can be provided
  • There are two 18-hole golf courses within an hour's drive, or the hotel can arrange horse riding, kayaking and fishing expeditions. You can waterski, windsurf and sail at Montbel
  • Wander the backstreets of Camon, one of the region's prettiest villages. It's just a 10-minute drive
  • Follow a spectacular gorge down to the Mediterranean and discover the rare beauty of Collioures ; ideal for a day trip

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Rafting
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing


This is not the ideal place to bring your family as there's nothing for kids at the guesthouse, although the garden and village square are both child-friendly. There are plenty of places to explore nearby with kids, and the Med is under 2 hours drive away. We think teens would get bored here.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

A baby cot can go in Room 4 but the best bet for families is the two-storey two-bedroom La Petite Maison which has its own private terrace garden.

Cots Available

Baby equipment:

  • A high chair

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

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Swimming spots in rivers and lakes (2 shallow lakes within 10 minutes' drive)
  • Playgrounds
  • Caves
  • Museums
  • Bamboo park
  • Bison farm


  • Airport: 1 hour (Carcassonne)
  • Shop: 5 minutes' drive
  • Hospital: 20 minutes
Kid Friendly:


Maison ila is set in the charming town of Sonnac-sur-l'Hers in Aude. It's an hour south of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region of southern France.

By Air:
Carcassonne Airport (50km) is the closest, but Toulouse and Béziers are only a 2-hour drive away. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
A taxi will cost around EUR 90 or you can hire a car (see below).

By Car:
If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through

More on getting to France and getting around


  • Carcassonne 50.0 km CCF


  • Beach 100.0 km
  • Shops 3.0 km
  • Restaurant 3.0 km

Rates for Maison ila

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