This charming, immaculate 2-bedroomed cottage is in the village of Cailhavel, set in beautiful countryside with vineyards and montains as far as the eye can see. Cailhavel is a small hill-top 'circulade' village about 15 minutes drive from the vibrant, charming town of Limoux, 20 minutes drive from Carcassonne and about 30 minutes drive from Mirepoix - all fascinating places to explore and a great base should you be house-hunting in the region.
The property is a restored former farm cottage and provides both a romantic, rural feel together with modern comforts. Quality is the key word here. It has renovated stone walls, exposed beams and a lovely welcoming ambience. The property is open all year round and features a wood-burning stove for the cooler months as well as central heating. All the rooms in the cottage are very nicely styled and furnished making for a lovely holiday home. Two exterior terraces are available for you - for barbecuing, dining or simply relaxing with a book and a cool drink.
The overall setting is rural but with good access by car to all the sight-seeing highlights in this lovely region. It's great too if you love walking, cycling or bird-watching. Bread is delivered to Cailhavel daily and there are mobile shops (butchers, fishmonger and grocery) that deliver weekly. There are several small supermarkets, shops, restaurants and bars in 2 local villages, both less than a 10-minute drive.
Living / Dining Room and Kitchen: This a light and airy space on the ground floor with renovated stone walls and exposed beams. There's a lovely wood-burning stove for the cooler months, surrounded by a 2-seater sofa,two armchairs and a coffe table. For your entertainment there's a TV receiving both French and English channels, a DVD and a CD player. You can also access the internet via your own laptop and a WiFi connection. The dining area has a good size table and 4 chairs and looks out onto the terrace through French windows. The kitchen has a hob, oven, fridge/freezer,dishwasher, washing machine and microwave is well equipped for cooking. It completes the convivial atmosphere of this open plan living area.
Bedrooms: On the first floor, the master bedroom is a lovely double room with an exposed stone wall and plenty of storage and hanging. The other room is a twin room, again with storage and hanging. Both rooms are very pleasantly and simply styled, decorated and furnished. On the landing, you'll find a collection of books and indoor and outdoor games for your entertainment - and a quiet corner in which to read.
Shower Room: This is very nicely finished with a shower, washbasin, bidet and WC. A hairdryer is provided so you don't have to bring one in your luggage.
Extras to make your baggage allowance go further! - Bed linen and towels supplied including beach towels, a hairdryer, a range of DVDs, a cot, a cool box and a picnic set for those days out sight-seeing.
Outside: Immediately through the French windows is a lovely paved terrace area with a table and 4 chairs, a parasol and a barbecue. An ideal sun-trap in the afternoons! There's also a second terrace you can use which is opposite the cottage and shaded by a fig tree - ideal for those who prefer not to sit in the direct sun. There is safe and covered parking for up to 2 cars.
Internet: Internet access is available free of charge via WiFi and your own laptop.
Telephone: Sorry, there is no telephone connection here.
Baby Facilities: A cot, high chair and stair gate are available on request - please ask Joie de Vivre.
Cooler Weather Heating: The gite can be centrally heated from October to April and you can also use the woodburning stove - this make the gite ideal for stays out the main holiday season as it is lovely and cosy. The supplementary charge for both types of heating if you require it is 42 Euros per week, payable direct to the owners.
Electric and Water: are included in the rental cost.
End of stay cleaning: Is charged at the end of your stay. This is €56.00 payable in cash to the owner.
Bed and bathroom linen: Is included in the rental cost.
Taxe de Sejour: In France it is necessary to pay a taxe de sejour (tourist tax) at the end of your stay.
The cost is 90 cents per night per adult over 18yrs. This will be collected by the owner in cash at the end of your stay.
Damage Deposit: The owners request a damage deposit of 140.00 Euros on arrival. This will be refunded to you at the end of your holiday less the replacement cost of any breakages or damage.
Change over Day: normally Saturday in the High and Peak Season - but please enquire for flexibility in Low and Mid Season.
Long weekend stays and mini breaks: May be available out of High and Peak Season - please enquire - 3 nights minimum.
Pets: are not permitted here - sorry.
Smoking: is not permitted here, sorry.
About the local area
Cailhavel is a pretty, rural village with mobile shops as described above. The larger villages of Montreal and Belveze du Razes are both less than a 10-minute drive away. Here you'll find small supermarkets, shops, post offices, pharmacies, newsagents etc. A greater variety of shops, restaurants and bars can be found in Limoux nestling around the pretty, cloistered square.
As well as walking and cycling on the many marked tracks and footpaths which surround Cailhavel, the outdoor swimming complex in Montreal is open in July and August. There are also tennis courts there. Indoor swimming pools can be found in Limoux and Carcassonne. Also in the Limoux area is the River Aude offering all types of activites to do with the river - canoeing, kayaking etc. For golfers, Carcassonne has an excellent golf course. Locally horse-riding and fishing are also available.
This is a fantastic base for exploring this lovely region. Limoux - a very vibrant and attractive town is just a short drive and is where the sparkling wine 'Blanquette de Limoux' is produced. Limoux has a Carnival which starts in Janury and ends in March with parades in the streets every weekend. And then there's the 'Toques and Clocher' festival the weekend before Easter. Carcassonne is only a 20 minutes drive away where you can visit the fairytale medieval city. Carcassonne has festivals in July and August, and a Christmas market. Don't miss a visit to Mirepoix, probably one of the most stunning medieval bastide towns we have ever seen. Castelnaudary is the 'capital' of the local famous dish 'Cassoulet' and even has a cassoulet festival in August. The town has a great canal basin, public swimming pools, and a cinema. Castelnaudary is the main training centre for the French Foreign Legion. For lovers of the montains you can visit the Pyrenees and Andorra to the South and the Black Mountains to the North. For those of you interested in Cathar history, there are several Cathar castles to visit as well as Rennes-le-Chateau for those of you interested in the Holy Grail stories.
Markets: There are some fantastic markets locally - very colourful and offering lots of fresh, seasonal local produce. Mirepoix on a Monday; Carcassonne on a Tuesday; Limoux - Wednesday evenings in July and August; Bram - Thursday; Esperaza - Friday; Limoux - Saturday etc etc.
Restaurants: There's a restaurant in the nearby villages of Montreal and a further one 'Domaine de Gayda' at Brugairolles - a 10-minute drive. There's a wide choice of restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes in Limoux, Carcassonne and Mirepoix.
Supermarkets: Locally in Montreal and Belveze du Razes, and larger ones in Carcassonne, Limoux, Castelnaudary and Mirepoix.
Excellent - very impressed with the standard of accommodation and helpfulness of the owners, you couldn't have improved on our stay here. Mrs S, Lancs, UK.
'Very satisfied' with our stay at Gite Alouette - very pleasant and quiet, and the owners friendly and approachable. Dr I.N., West Midlands, UK.
Excellent accomodation, we were very satisfied with this property. Mrs G, Belgium.
Very clean, recently renovated, helpful owners, good location for the Cathar Country, lovely valley - we were very satisfied. Miss McP., North Yorkshire, UK, Sept 2008.
Absolutely wonderful, every little detail has been thought about! Mr P, Kent, August 2008.