“Relax by the stylish pool or sun-dappled river at this idyllic, family-friendly and foodie guesthouse, 10 minutes from Carcassonne”
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.
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.
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.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
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.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Wholesome menus are concocted to take note of children’s needs, and you can cook for yourselves if you stay in The Atelier.
A river runs through the garden, and the pool is unfenced