Bedrooms 5, Sleeps 9, Ratings 1 10/10
|La Bomba||Self Catering||Saturday||6||12||4||3 cots|
La Bomba is an exquisite farmhouse that has been lovingly restored and furnished to a very high standard. The house is enormous and perfect for family holidays, anniversary celebrations and group get-togethers.
Situated at the foot of the picturesque village of Saint Paulet in the region of Aude, La Bomba offers very spacious accommodation for 12 people, a private pool that can be heated, and wonderful views towards the Pyrenees. It boasts maxi-sized bedrooms, 4 generous bathrooms, a fab modern kitchen, a second kitchen (with second fridge and second dishwasher!), an enormous beamed double height Grand Salon sitting room with a traditional Lauragais fireplace, dining room, a cosy 'den' with satellite tv and a library.
Guests often comment how well the house just ‘works’. Everything is perfectly proportioned with no-one ever getting a duff room. The house is neatly laid out in 2 wings so is perfect for 2 families who can each enjoy their private space. The kitchen has its own walk-on terrace which is just next to the pool so you can chat to someone taking a refreshing dip while you are mixing up the evening drinks! Everything feels right. There’s no better place to relax.
The property also has a delightful garden, nestling beneath the Chateau of St. Paulet, bordered by Italian Cypress and bounteous cherry and fig trees. There are also 2 outside dining terraces covered by ironwork pergola and climbing roses with seating for 12/14. Located an easy 50 min drive from both Carcassonne and Toulouse airports. Bbq, table tennis, and badminton. You can read and see much more of the house at www.labombafrance.com
Guests are always pleased and surprised to find the main kitchen has a second ‘sister’ kitchen linked to it which has a second dishwasher and fridge. There’s more prepping area and a further sink too. You’ll find all the cutlery and dishes you need for large groups plus a wide selection of salad bowls, roasting tins and cake moulds. Guests always comment on how well the kitchen is equipped and there is even a Kenwood K-Mix for your Great French Bake-off competition!
At La Bomba, you will also find lots of dining options. Inside we have the kitchen with seating for 6-8 and there is a dining room with a round table which seats 8. Perhaps most used is the dining area for 12-14 in the Grand Salon where you can dine in great style under a spectacular 20 metre high beamed ceiling.
There are even more options outside. Just off the kitchen is a terrace with 2 round tables just perfect for breakfast. Second, adjacent to the house is a pergola with a shaded cane roof surrounded by roses.
La Bomba is lucky to have 3 reception rooms giving guests lots of options. Firstly, we have the impressive Grand Salon converted from an old grenier. The ceiling is 20m high and offers seating for your entire party round a magnificent Lauragais fireplace. There’s also table tennis and a good selection of boardgames.
Second and perfect for a relax after a hard days fun in the sun we have the den with flat screen tv and satellite British channels. Thirdly, you’ll find the library with a selection of books to borrow and a desk where you can write all those postcards you always promise yourself you will send to friends back home!
Bedroom 1 has a queen-sized bed has a lovely antique Lauragais headboard, the floor is the original tiled terracotta, and it has a handsome Provencal armoire.
Bedroom 2 - We always call this the kids’ room but it actually has 2 full sized single beds and has happily played home to children of all ages. It also has a cot. There is a lovely view out on to the kitchen terrace and pool.
Bedroom 3 has a queen bed and enjoys views towards the Pyrenees.
Bedroom 4 has a queen bed with French windows opening out on to the garden terrace. A pair of Moroccan side tables complement the antique Lauragais bed.
Bedroom 5 is kitted out in exquisite grey and white toile de jouy and has its own balcony overlooking the pool. It also has its own sink.
Bedroom 6 - Every bedroom at La Bomba is a good size but this one is perhaps the loveliest. It enjoys an impressive aspect with a fabulous beamed ceiling and a magnificent superking bed.
Upstairs you will find 3 bathrooms. Bedroom 1 has an excellent sized en suite bathroom which has a vaguely nautical theme – well, it’s decorated blue and white with some original tiles which we found in the attic when we started work on the renovation!
Bedroom 2 actually has two en suite bathrooms! That is to say it has two doors leading off it – one linking it to Bed One’s bathroom and the other to Bed Three’s bathroom. As both are lockable it actually works really well for families who want to share the same bathroom.
Bedroom 3 also features a large en suite bathroom which looks out on to the pool – It has a red marble design and enjoys a corner bath and double sinks.
Bedroom 6 has its own romantic en suite bathroom with a claw-foot bath and many guests have described it as the honeymoon suite.
Downstairs you will find shower room which is suitable for use by Bedrooms 4 and 5 (though both rooms have their own sink) and then there is a further cloakroom just off the study.
The house has central heating throughout and the pool can also be heated for an additional charge. Please note that as the pool heating and the house heating run off the same boiler it is not possible to heat the pool and the house at the same time. Pool season is May until mid-October.
La Bomba has wi-fi broadband included in the price and also enjoys Sky television with access to all the British channels. There is a table tennis table in the Grand Salon, numerous boardgames, boules are available and there is a nearby tennis court in the village of Les Casses.
The pool at La Bomba has been designed to be very much part of the house. Just up a few steps from the dining terrace and kitchen, you can chat with the swimmers while preparing dinner. It’s also easy to keep an eye on the children. A traditional stone barbecue completes the pool area. Worth mentioning too that the pool is completely private – for the sole use of the guests staying at the house – and it is not overlooked by any neighbours.
The pool is 12m x 6m, has Roman steps, and is fitted with a special perimeter safety alarm that, when turned on, sounds if anything bigger than a cat crosses the infra-red line.
Plants with a heady perfume dominate with lots of lavender, roses, honeysuckle and jasmine and we have a soft spot for potted geraniums which add fantastic colour.
The lawn is unusually green and luscious for the Languedoc region and great for badminton. At the foot of the garden is the historic Rigole, a gently flowing stream.
There is parking for 3 to 4 cars in the driveway.
Francophile and former tv executive-turned-chef, I first bought the house as a wreck back in 2001. After 4 fraught but rewarding years, La Bomba was finally habitable and fit for guests in the summer of 2005.<br/>The following year my wife and I got married in the village church and we held the reception in the house and grounds.<br/>After 15 years in London we now live in the bustling port city of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.
|Year property purchased||2001|
|Why this location?||We fell in love with the area when visiting my sister who was living there for a few months on an exchange back in 2001. The area is known locally as the Lauragais and it is a truly undiscovered gem of a region. Fantastically fertile, in the summer it is a riot of colour with wonderful vistas of sunflowers, wheat, and poppies in every direction. Though there’s masses of good wine produced locally (Minervois, Corbieres, Fitou) the soil of the Lauragais is far too good for grapes!
If there’s one thing lacking it is immediate proximity to the sea but there’s a fantastic pool at the property and there’s even a lakeside beach just 15 minutes away at Lac Saint Ferreol. Once you’ve come once you will want to come again and again. It is one of the most delightful spots on earth.
|Unique benefits of property||3 Key benefits:
1. Size and Ease of Living
Holidaymakers always comment on the scale of the house, the well proportioned layout, and the fact that all the bedrooms are a good size (no duff rooms!). The pool is just off the kitchen so its easy to keep an eye on the little ones. There is an enormous beamed grand salon for everyone to share. There are 6 bedrooms - 3 of which are up one staircase and the other 3 are grouped around a further staircase so two families can easily share the house without being on top of each other. Inside are 3 dining spaces and a further 3 in the garden. Everything has been planned for your maximum comfort.
2. Proximity to Airports
We are very lucky to have 2 international airports within a 45 minute drive - Toulouse and Carcassonne. Getting to the house really is a breeze.
3. French Rustic Chic Style
For anyone looking for the picture perfect French farmhouse holiday this is it. The house is furnished with antiques and great brocante finds.
Without a doubt the best food market for miles around and regularly listed among the Top 100 markets in all France. It all takes place in the central square with many of the stall-holders pitched directly under the beautiful covered arcade. It’s noisy, crowded and not especially cheap but the exceptional quality on offer is worth the trip. Locals make an early start but if you need a lie-in just make sure you get there before midday. And don’t forget to take your own bags.
The construction of the Canal du Midi in the 17th century was the technological equivalent of sending man to the moon. The idea of a waterway that would connect the Atlantic to the Mediterranean had been around forever – it would avoid the month long pirate-infested journey around Spain. Even Leonardo da Vinci was brought in by Francis I in 1516 to advise the best way to build it. It was not until 1662 when a visionary local farmer Pierre-Paul Riquet persuaded Louis XIV to cough up the funds that work began. Riquet himself died just months before the canal was opened in 1681. What is perhaps most striking about the project was the way it combined technical prowess with exquisite landscaping and architecture. Well worth an afternoon jaunt, 2 hour boat trips leave every day from the central bassin in Castelnaudary.
Despite their best efforts to market it wider, this Cistercian abbey remains well off the main tourist trail and we reckon all the better for it. Remote, serene and slightly eccentric, Villelongue makes for a very rewarding afternoon out. The 12th century cloister is perhaps the highlight but the ruined church is spectacular and the extensive gardens encourage the contemplative. A real medieval mindwarp – as one visitor said the perfect place to “pause for an instant and taste the calm of eternity”.
A stunning market town 45 mins to the south east of La Bomba, Mirepoix’s chief attraction is its gloriously higgledy piggledly central square. Home to a famous market on Monday mornings, the square is bordered by half-timbered houses all supported by ancient wooden arches that combine to create a beautiful cloistered arcade. The surviving houses of the richest medieval merchants are adorned with some splendid sculptures – look out for the tortoises, frogs and demons. The cathedral of St. Maurice also has the second widest nave in Europe at some 22 metres.
The Disneyesque medieval walled city of Carcassonne has become the stuff of legend – legendary mobs of weekend-tripping tourists flooding the narrow cobbled streets, scrambling over the ramparts to score the best photo spot and jumping the queues for ice cream. All that said, if you’ve not been before you must go. The pristine fortifications are breathtaking and put one quite at odds with the 21st century. Not a hint of medieval ruination here, just film-set perfect towers and ramparts. Of course it’s almost a cliche to mention it’s nearly all fake being restored by madcap genius Viollet-le-Duc in the late 19th century. Just don’t go at the weekend.
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