Metairie Montplaisir

near Carcassonne, Languedoc, France Book from Book from £140 per night

MOST INCREDIBLE HOSTS MOST INCREDIBLE HOSTS
Relax by the stylish pool or sun-dappled river at this idyllic, family-friendly and foodie guesthouse, 10 minutes from Carcassonne
Tall gates open to dove-grey shutters, a bank of trees, an elegant pool - and Amélie, who has poured love and passion into renovating this old métairie (farmhouse). The house is on the edge of the summer-popular village of Conques sur Orbiel, but all you hear is the sound of the river in the lovely large garden; from a couple of bedrooms it will even lull you to sleep.

Métairie Montplaisir is a vibrant place in any season, and the attention to detail is exceptional, from newspapers at breakfast to sarongs for the pool. With just 5 guest rooms and a 1-bedroom cottage, you may have the gardens (or the cosy fireside) to yourself. Sip an aperitif on the terrace or relax indoors: the interiors are a gorgeous mix of Latin American colour and old-world French charm (Amélie is much-travelled). Wonderful smells waft from the kitchen; the food - a fresh carpaccio of scallops, a silken panna cotta - comes courtesy of cook Françoise, and the wines are carefully chosen. Amélie’s happiness is infectious, her personal insight into the area invaluable, and the service is warm and charming. Take a tour with an excellent local guide, sign up for a perfume workshop, enjoy a wine-tasting session. For us, staying here exemplified the good life.

Highs

  • Arrive as strangers, leave as friends - families, couples, even pets are welcomed with open arms
  • Idyllic gardens with a serene pool, and a river to sing you to sleep; unflashy pampering doesn’t come better than this
  • Big, gorgeous bedrooms with zinging colours
  • Delicious breakfasts, lunches and table d’hôtes dinners from market-fresh produce
  • An easy drive to Carcassonne, wild hilltop castles, vineyards and the Canal du Midi; Amelie shares her local knowledge with guests

Lows

  • Metairi Montplaisir is currently closed for renovation due to damage from severe flooding in the area (Oct/Nov 2018)
  • With so few rooms, you’re obliged to be sociable
  • No bathtubs in Rosalie, Nandette, Francesca and the The Atelier - but you do get excellent showers
  • The pool is unheated
  • Francesca is only open during peak season
  • You'll need to book ahead for summer

Best time to go

Métairie Montplaisir is a pleasure to visit all year round. In summer, prices are higher and traffic queues longer, but Carcassonne throws France’s biggest party on Bastille Day (14 July), when the skies are ablaze with fireworks. Other notable events from Europe’s finest fortified city include Spanish week at the end of August, wine festivals in May and October, jazz in May, and the Christmas fair in December.

Our top tips

Resist the temptation to stay here all day! The Languedoc is one of the most rewarding regions in France, so get out and explore. Come home to cards in the living room, a wine-tasting session, sofas by the fire, or, in summer, an aperitif by the elegant saltwater pool.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 5 rooms + 1 cottage
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 12 Dec 2018 - 19 Dec 2018
  • 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
  • Bicycles Available
  • Cookery classes
  • Tour guide
Room: Rosalie

Rooms

Style, space and charm characterise the five rooms in the main house and a cottage beside the river.

We stayed in warm, sunny Carlota suite, named for Amelie’s daughter, with colours and textures of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. Notable also for its bioethanol double-sided fireplace and superb bathroom with white oval bath, vibrant orange wall and drenching shower. Suite Francesca, in a converted stable has double and twin rooms, a spacious bathroom with walk in shower, and pool views.

Ségur - more zinging colour with two walls in turquoise, punctuated with bright pink alcoves, and luxurious bathroom with bath and walk-in shower - is great for romantics. As are Rosalie - a deep pink and aubergine double with old Persian fabrics mixed with contemporary lighting and furniture - and second-floor Nandette, inspired by the Majorelle gardens in Morocco with deep blues throughout.

Light-filled two-storey The Atelier (with a large workshop-like window) is separate from the main building, with a secluded terrace and the river beneath the window.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • Terrace
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is a treat, taken either in the dining room or under the chestnut tree in summer: we feasted on freshly squeezed juice and fresh fruits, homemade yoghurt, delicious orange cake, bread, croissants and warm brioche, good butter, eggs cooked to order, cured ham, coffee and jams of the garden's bounty. Lunch (perhaps homemade tomato soup, carpaccio of scallops, a chanterelle omelette) is served pool-side in summers (you can order a pool plate of one course and one dessert).

In the evenings, the daily culinary soirée begins with an aperitif, tapenades and fresh anchovies. We enjoyed seasonal local vegetables, duck in a red wine reduction and a dreamy chocolate mousse with garden figs, all accompanied by well-chosen wines. Françoise was awarded a Michelin fork at her previous restaurant in St Tropez. And there's also a weekly crêpes night to enjoy too.

Unsurprisingly we didn't dine out but Amélie can recommend restaurants in Carcassonne and around. You can self-cater in The Atelier (the kitchen has an oven, fridge, kettle, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery), but breakfast is included in the rates and most prefer Françoise's excellent cooking.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The must-see medieval citadel of Carcassonne is only 8km away. Navigate cobbled ramps and narrow streets brimming with gargoyles and history. Tour Château Comtal, brave the Musée de l’Inquisition, then pick a restaurant for a hearty cassoulet. The walled cité draws 4 million visitors a year
  • Amélie can organise wine-tasting sessions, book an excellent trilingual local guide, bikes or days out on the tree-lined Canal du Midi, or visits to local workshops, such as artisan soap or handmade chocolates
  • Visit elegant Montolieu, 15km away, the ‘Village of Books’, which honours bookbinders and has a monthly book market. Nearby is the last working paper mill in the region: Brousses et Villaret (established in 1698)
  • Lastours is the closest of the area’s amazing Cathar sites. The 4 ancient towers, which survived 10 centuries of raids and sieges, have a breathtaking view from the top, 1,000 feet above the valley
  • Some of the biggest caves in France, Gouffre de Cabrespine, are under 30 minutes' drive away
  • Cookery classes, occasional perfume workshops, and in-room massages are also offered
  • An on-site shop Manufacture des possibles selling gifts and products from local artisans such as hats, candles, ceramics jewellery

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Picnics
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting

Kids

As long as you’re aware of the small river, and coax your children to put away the pool toys at day's end, this is a delightful place for families, thanks to the laid-back atmosphere and welcoming presence of Amélie, Françoise and Carlota. Families should be cognisant that this is also a relaxing couples' retreat, luckily the garden is large and has plenty of space for all.

We brought our family here for half-term, and had a wonderful time exploring Carcassonne, Cathar Country and local caves, all within easy reach. Parents and children alike felt instantly at home at Metairie Montplaisir.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Family room Francesca has a double room and a twin room for kids, plus it can fit a baby cot. The Atelier and Carlota, where we stayed, can each take 2 extra beds/cots for kids under 12; Ségur has space for an additional child's bed or cot. Nandette can fit either an extra bed or a baby cot, while Rosalie is suitable for a cot only. No extra beds are possible for children over the age of 12.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs

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

Children's meals:

Wholesome menus are concocted to take note of children’s needs, and you can cook for yourselves if you stay in The Atelier.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming in the saltwater pool, pool toys available
  • Bikes to hire
  • Large gardens to play in
  • Cooking and chocolate-making workshops
  • Marble paper-making workshops on request

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The fortified city of Carcassonne, buy the treasure hunt and discover hidden secrets of this iconic medieval city or take a train through the ramparts
  • Hilltop castles at Lastours and other Cathar sites such as Saissac
  • The impressive caves at Gouffre-de-Cabrespine are just under 30 minutes away
  • Wild swimming spots in nearby rivers (Amélie can advise)
  • Boat rides on the Canal du Midi
  • Take the paper mill tour at Brousses et Villaret

Families Should Know:

A river runs through the garden, and the pool is unfenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 15 minutes (Carcassonne)
  • Hospital: 10 minutes (Carcassonne)
  • Shop: 5 minutes (Conques sur Orbiel)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Métairie Montplaisir is set on the edge of the small village of Conques sur Orbiel, 8km from Carcassonne in the Languedoc region of southern France.

By Air:
Carcassonne Airport (11km away) is just a 15-minute drive. Alternatively, fly into Béziers (108km away), Toulouse (112km away), Perpignan (118km away) or Montpellier (162km away). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
Most guests hire a car, but transfers can be arranged on request - see Rates.

By Train:
If you'd prefer to travel overland from the UK, you can reach Carcassonne via the Eurostar then the TGV. Carcassonne station is midway along the line from Toulouse to Narbonne - see Seat 61 for more information. Amélie can arrange a transfer from the station, or you can take a taxi.

By Car:
Car hire is advised for making the most of the region - see our recommendations. Free on-site parking is available.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to France and getting around

Airports:

  • Carcassonne 11.0 km CCF
  • Béziers Cap d'Agde 108.0 km BZR

Other:

  • Beach 45.0 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 32 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

Just to give you some feedback, the hotel was beautiful and very relaxing, I would score it 5 out of 5 in every category. I agree with the reviews on your site that it is a great place to stay and lives up to the recommendations.

10/10,

Luxurious and welcoming guesthouse, perfect for an indulgent family holiday. The house and gardens were lovely, and the food and wine excellent. Every aspect of the service is of a very high quality, with no undue formality. Amelie gave very good advice on exploring the region, which has much to offer. Our young children had a fantastic time, and we are already planning to return. Thanks to all at Metairie Montplaisir.

10/10,

The trip from Carcassonne airport is quick and easy. The area is of great historical interest with many medieval sites of importance, for example Lastours which is not far away. And there are medieval towns other than Carcassonne itself eg Minerve and Lagrasse. There are tourists but they are all far more interested in the area and the history than in getting drunk and sunbathing. You may wish to know that hostess Amelie praised i-escape. I hardly ever give top marks to anything but this is probably the best place we have ever stayed!

10/10,

We loved Amelie - she is the perfect host and does it all with wit and humour.

10/10,

Wow, what a truly wonderful place! The host, Amelie, is one of the most beautiful and generous people we have ever met on our travels. From the moment we arrived, she made our whole family feel totally welcome, and she was incredibly helpful throughout our stay. Our two boys immediately fell in love with her and her daughter! Metairie Montplaisir is gorgeous and the perfect place to unwind, read, write and sketch. Our room (Carlota) is very well thought out and perfect for a young family of four. The details in the room, including the gorgeous writing desk, lovely-smelling products in the luxurious bathroom, robes, and sarongs for the pool make you feel immediately relaxed, refreshed and at home. We loved hanging out by the pool, after a delicious breakfast, and then heading out on various and unusual adventures that Amelie inspired us to do, returning for what can only be described as perfect evening meals cooked by her mother. Amelie is incredibly detail-orientated and she has a real sense of what each of her guests is looking for in their holiday. Everything she inspired us to do was unspoilt, which was such a pleasant surprise in the school holidays. We cannot recommend staying here enough! It was simply perfect.

10/10,

This is the most delightful B&B. Amelie is a charming, well-travelled and thoughtful hostess who made sure we were well-looked after. Amelie’s mother is a wonderful chef and served simple yet classic lunches and dinners of the highest quality. We had forgotten how good proper French food can be! Top notch!
Friendly atmosphere for families and couples alike. Amelie has sourced some lovely artisan pieces including ceramics, hats and candles which all are available to buy.

10/10,

We had the most wonderful holiday at Metairie Montplasir and cannot recommend highly enough. Our daughters adored the breakfasts and swimming with their new friends. Amelie is an impeccable host and her mother is a fabulous cook.

10/10,

We returned yesterday from a fabulous week as guests. We felt more like family. Amelie is a wonderful hostess. Her Mother an amazing cook. Her Father a fabulous chauffeur (I messed up hire car and he took us back to the airport the next day.) And her daughter is a delight. We were truly sorry to leave but will return. Amelie had an itinerary for us every day or advised a day by the pool. A fabulous holiday.

10/10,

A truly beautiful location with amazing food and incredible hospitality.

10/10,

I have just written about a typical day.
Metairie Montplaisir is just perfect; I cannot think of anything I would wish to change. Following a good night’s sleep in a super comfortable bed and after a wonderful shower, breakfast under the spreading chestnut tree is a real treat - homemade yoghurt and jams, fresh fruit and juice, delicious croissants, breads and eggs from a local farm. The decision is then where to visit, there are lots of options, castles, canals and of course Carcassonne and Amelie is at hand with ideas, maps and even a bottle of water to set you on your way. Returning late afternoon for an espresso in our room, before reading in our favourite spot in the garden. And then there is dinner - three wonderful courses of delicious food using lots of fresh local ingredients. So yes everything really is very special: in fact the colourful eclectic bedrooms, delicious meals and incredibly warm welcome (Amelie works tirelessly to ensure her guests have an amazing time) have made it our favourite place to stay. My only request for our next visit would perhaps be a bench in the garden by the stream.

10/10,

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