Bedrooms 5, Sleeps 9, Ratings 1 10/10
|Village House||Self Catering||Saturday||4||7||2|
13, Rue du Cabanot, Lapradelle, is a traditional village house in a terrace, set in a narrow, peaceful street. The structure itself is probably very old, but in the past few years it has been tastefully renovated to a very high standard and with careful attention to detail. The house is all electric without the use of gas cylinders. All linen is provided, including hand- and bath-towels for domestic purposes. There is a large number of books, including cookery books, to suit most tastes. You have wifi, internet access.
The ground floor consists of a hallway leading to a twin bedroom and separate bathroom with shower, wash-basin and wc. Beyond them to the rear of the house is a single bedroom and a kitchenette. The latter has a sink, tumble dryer, kettle, toaster and small grille stove, not a full-size cooker. The little single bedroom is a children's favourite. A patio leads into the rear, fenced garden of about 200 square yards. At the end of the garden the ground slopes away sharply to the river bank. The patio and garden are south-facing.
The first-floor comprises a double bedroom and a twin bedroom; a bathroom with w.c. and bath and shower; a separate wc.; a kitchen/dining-room and pantry. The kitchen is very well equipped. There is a dish-washer, washing-machine, refrigerator, freezer, a microwave and a four-ringed electric cooker. There is ample seating at the dining-table for seven people. Off the dining area, there are porte-fenêtres leading to a south-facing balcony, spacious enough for taking breakfast outside in the mornings. The balcony shares the sublime view with the roof terrace above.
The second floor consists of the large living-room and its roof terrace. The room itself which is parquet-floored has windows at both ends and the original beams running along the roof. It is furnished to a very high standard, with two book-cases, a DVD player with 100 films, and a radio-cassette wth cassettes. You have wi-fi, internet access.
Porte-fenêtres lead to the large roof terrace, again south-facing like the first-floor balcony and the ground-floor patio beneath it. The view from this terrace is magnificent indeed, not least when the castle is illuminated at night. Beyond the garden and the river Boulzane, the twelve arches of the railway viaduct; the village of Lapradelle; rising over the village, the castle of Puilaurens set on its precipitous crest; behind the castle and continuing around it on both sides, the high crags of the mountains which overlook the valley and this entire landscape.
The kitchen is located on the first floor in a long room which includes the dining table and the porte-fenêtres to the balcony. There is a portable barbecue on the balcony, with chairs and small tables. The kitchen and pantry are well equipped with dish-washer, washing-machine, microwave, fridge, freezer and the usual utensils and equipment, toaster, kettle etc. and good work surfaces. The ‘bar’ runs along one side of the kitchen, making it easy to serve meals to the dining table just beyond. All very convenient. On the ground floor there is an apology for a kitchenette with kettle, toaster, sink and tumble-dryer. Few people seem to use it, because they prefer to sit out on the balcony and roof terrace.
This lovely large room is on the top floor. With the roof terrace, it extends over the whole floor area of the house. It was the attic, black with soot, when we bought the house. It has a fine beamed ceiling. There are comfortable leather chairs and settees, beautiful décor, two book-cases with books in English. Regrettably (at present) the television cannot receive UK programmes. There is a telephone, and you have wi-fi, internet access. At one end are windows looking over your narrow street; at the other, porte-fenêtres taking you out onto the broad roof terrace with its superb view. Leisurely seating allows you to relax in such spectacular surroundings.
On the ground floor there is one twin bedroom with cot; also the single bedroom facing the garden. The latter seems to be a favourite for children since it is out of everyone’s way! You have a shower room with wc and basin on this floor. Small groups of 4 people or fewer could dispense with the ground floor completely and live entirely on the top two floors. The double bedroom and the second twin bedroom are on the first floor. All bedrooms have ample wardrobe and drawer space. We provide sheets, pillow cases and towels, but please bring your own towels for the beach or for sun-bathing; and please bring your own cot sheets.
On the ground floor there is a shower room with wash-basin and wc. On the first floor, there is the main bathroom which has a bath, a shower cabinet, wc and wash basin. There is also a separate wc on this floor.
The house does not have central heating. The electric heaters are effective and easy to control.
We regret that, since there was some ‘adjustment’ to the satellite in recent years, the television cannot, at present, receive UK programmes. It would not be economic to obtain access to such programmes by installing more advanced technology, even if it were effective. In such a rural area, it may well not be. Internet access is available. There is a telephone. No doubt you will bring your mobile telephone. There are hundred of books in English, a dvd player and many dvds, a cassette-player and many cassettes. One visitor has told us that the collection of jazz cassettes was the best he has ever seen. If the cassettes have not walked since then, enjoy! There are occasional fêtes in the village, as well as jumble sales and community get-togethers for one purpose or another, often laced with good food and drink.
Most people prefer to sit out on the balcony or roof terrace. Nevertheless, the garden is easily accessible through the kitchenette on the ground floor. You have a covered patio leading out onto a wide terrace where steps take you to the grassed garden. It is fenced for security. The garden is quite adequate for sitting out, in sunshine or shade, or for children’s play.
When we bought the house, the ground floor had an earth floor for beasts, but no interior walls. I suppose we could have turned it into a garage, but now you park in a wide space about 30 yards from the house, along with other local residents. You will have no difficulty in parking since there is plenty of space there. We have neither experienced nor heard of any problems regarding the parking area. You can drive to your front door, deposit passengers and luggage, and then drive round the hamlet to the parking area. Your street is narrow, however, so you can’t hang about – but it is really easy and local residents are very understanding!
In an earlier paragraph, I have indicated the people to whom this house and area are best suited. Sadly, the beauty of the place passes some people by. It would be a pity if our visitors were not able to enjoy the wonderful walks which await them in all directions. Please don’t worry if you fear that your French won’t take you very far – you will get by. There are 2 flights of stairs in the house, neither particularly steep or arduous. People with mobility problems may find them a little difficult. The path is flat from the parking area to the house. Children are very welcome. The terraces and garden are fenced for security. We provide a cot, highchair and pushchair.
You are in rural France where small villages have a general store and little else. Thus it is with Lapradelle. The general store offers a huge range of produce. If what you want is not visible, it will be at the back somewhere. There is at least one restaurant which we have tried and found to be very acceptable. There is a bar at the cross-roads. In response to the summer advent of tourists, shops can pop up for a few months and then disappear. This is unpredictable. There is a really good restaurant, Le Grand Duc at Gincla, only a few miles away up the valley. Your nearest supermarkets are at St. Paul to your east and at Quillan to your west. Either will serve your every day-to-day needs.
We are a domestic concern, not a commercial company. Our processes are therefore very simple. We trust our visitors to look after the property as we try to look after them. My wife, Alexis, and I have worked in the social services. I am retired. Alexis heads the England and Wales national enquiry into the sexual abuse of children. Chris Jay.
|Year property purchased||1994|
|Why this location?||In one word, we chose this location for its beauty. Lapradelle is set in a valley, surrounded by high forested hills. There are walks in all directions, strenuous or otherwise. Beyond the village is the Cathar castle, a vestige of the area’s sanguinary past. We say that Lapradelle and your house are perfect for second honeymooners, for lovers of the countryside, of France Profonde, of history, of rambling, of village life, of fauna and fauna, of bird-watching – or just lazing in such an inspiring place.|
|Unique benefits of property||Your house is set in a small hamlet on the edge of Lapradelle. From your balcony and the roof terrace above it, you command a truly spectacular view across the village and the valley towards the Cathar castle and the ring of mountains beyond. The view uplifts the spirit. After 100 yards or so, your street turns into a footpath leading down the valley towards Caudiès. There are forest paths everywhere, and ‘plans d’eau’ for the occasional dip. The house offers high standards of comfort, décor and convenience.|
To the north and north west.
Carcassonne. Magnificent medieval fortified 'cite'. Good shops in new town.
Cabrespine & Limousis. Gigantic caves.
Montolieu. A village full of book shops, antique and modern.
Saissac. Fine hill-side setting. Large feudal fortress.
Castelnaudary. Lake with pleasure boats. Old mill.
Mirepoix. Beautiful central square. Good market. Remarkable church.
Limoux. Interesting and picturesque town.
St. Hilaire. Benedictine abbey. Son et Lumiere in the summer.
Alet les Bains. Medieval village with old houses, ramparts. Like a film set.
Rennes le Chateau. Mysterious, eerie. Visigoth capital. Odd shops. Views.
Esperaza. Dinosaur and hat museums.
To the west:
Chalabre. Medieval village with castle. Montbel lake nearby.
Foix. Castle. Magnificent views from the top of the round watch-tower.
Montsegur. Awesome Cathar castle with sanguinary history.
Puivert. Castle and lake for picnics and shallow bathing.
Montaillou. Medieval hamlet (ref. Penguin book 'Montaillou'). Little to see.
Plateau de Sault to Ax-les-Thermes, spa town. Road to Andorra.
To the south.
Gorges de St. Georges. The Aude valley south of Axat leading to the Capcir.
Usson, Querigut, Le Donezan. Villages 4000 ft. up - a bleak Pyrenean area.
Mont Louis fortress. Solar mirrors. Ski slopes. Road to Andorra.
Cerdagne, rift valley framed by mountains. Llivia, a detached part of Spain.
The Tet valley. Round trip via Sournia & Roque Jaliere. Villefranche-d-C, fortified town. Vernet-l-B & abbey of St. Martin.
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