|Cerisiers||Self Catering||Saturday||3||6||2||Travelcot/cot bed for babies/toddlers|
Les Cerisiers is a large house on the outskirts of the medieval village of Chalabre, surrounded by farmland and forest in an area that is one of France's 'hidden secrets'. The area is wonderful for walkers and cyclists, the mountains are very close and the Mediterranean is one and a half hours away. The local French people are very friendly and welcome visitors. Chalabre is just one kilometre away and has convenience stores, cafes, restaurants, doctors, pharmacy, butchers, baker, etc.
The accommodation comprises the complete top floor of the house with separate entrance and separate access to the pool and grounds. The owners live on the ground floor with Frank, their friendly and gentle Springer Spaniel and there are no other guests.
The area offers a wide range of attractions within easy reach; the beautiful medieval town of Mirepoix with its Monday market, the dinosaur museum at Esperaza, the prehistoric cave paintings at Niaux (one of the few remaining where you can actually visit the original paintings rather than replicas) and the remarkable city of Carcassonne, a World Heritage site that from a distance looks like a Disney movie set. The hot springs at Ax-Le-Thermes are housed in modern, purpose-built baths and are a great outing for everyone.
You are in the heart of Cathar country here, with its rich heritage going back hundreds of years. Fans of Kate Mosse ('Labyrinth', 'Sepulchre' and 'Citadel') will feel at home, and there are many Cathar castles to visit, most of which are perched on mountain-tops.
We provide all bed linen, towels and pool towels.
The modern fitted kitchen with solid granite work tops is equipped with a Rangemaster electric cooker with griddle, plate warmer and twin ovens. There is a washing machine, microwave, Neff fridge-freezer and Neff dishwasher.
A full range of dishes, glasses, pots and pans is provided.
The lounge features comfortable sofas and armchair. A tv shows programmes from UK Freesat.
Double doors lead to a small balcony that is ideal for 2 people to enjoy a cup of coffee. Leading from the lounge, the dining area has a large pine farmhouse table that seats 8. A pine dresser houses dishes and table accessories. The kitchen is open to the dining area, separated by a granite-topped island.
A door leads from the dining area onto a large balcony with table and chairs, a great place to enjoy eating while enjoying the weather and the views across open farmland. Steps lead down to the garden, barbecue area and pool.
Bedroom one is a double with a dressing area and ample wardrobe and drawer storage. An en suite bathroom contains a large walk-in shower, wc and washbasin.
Bedroom 2 is also a double, with a large pine wardrobe and a chest of drawers.
Bedroom 3 has twin beds, a wardrobe and drawers.
There are 2 bathrooms. The en suite serves bedroom one while bedrooms 2 and 3 share the main bathroom, equipped with full-size bath/shower, wc and washbasin.
It is extremely unlikely that summer guests will need heating, but if the weather should turn chilly then heating is provided by a mix of radiators and electric heaters. There is a plentiful supply of hot water.
A wood-burning stove sits in the lounge and a supply of logs is provided. Should further logs be required, they can be purchased from the owners.
The satellite tv contains a dvd player, and there is a wide selection of dvds available on loan from the owners. A range of games and playing cards is also provided.
There is a good selection of books available on a 'borrow or take-home-and-replace' basis.
Internet is available free of charge, subject to reasonable use.
The garden is one and a quarter acres. The area for guests' use is accessed from the balcony and includes a barbecue and picnic table, swimming pool and large play area to the rear of the pool.
The pool measures 10 metres by 5 metres and is a uniform 1.5 metres depth. Large shallow steps provide an ideal place for small children to play under adult supervision. There is a selection of pool toys, lounge chairs and sunbeds, and a shady area beside the pool is a great place to relax while staying close to family members in the pool.
It can be very relaxing to swim lazily in the pool while taking in the views of the Pyrenean foothills. Looking up, you may see buzzards, red and black kites, Griffon vultures and even eagles circling overhead. Don't worry though - they're not eyeing you but much smaller prey!
Ample off road parking is available.
The property is ideal for families of all ages. However, because the property is accessed by steps it is not suitable for wheelchair users.
We are an active, retired couple enjoying our great 'second life' in France. Alan was in the Army and Barbara was a piano teacher.
|Year property purchased||2012|
|Why this location?||The area is beautiful, with rolling hills leading towards the mountains which can be seen in the distance. Ours is mainly a farming community, with a mix of cattle and crops. It is peaceful, and even in the summer months there are not many tourists. With no light pollution and clear skies, you can stargaze to your heart's content.|
|Unique benefits of property||Cerisiers (Cherry Trees) is located on the very edge of Chalabre, surrounded by fields with the nearest neighbour about 100 metres away, so we are quite secluded and peaceful yet within an easy walk, cycle or drive into the village. The property sits on about one and a quarter acres of garden and the land leads down to the Hers River which is full of trout. You can swim in the pool while enjoying the view of the Pyrenean foothills.|
For mountain bikes and those who like to 'off road' there are literally hundreds of official, well-marked paths and tracks for all abilities within easy reach. Road cyclists will love the almost traffic-free roads, and if you really fancy a challenge there are plenty of routes through the mountains. You can even follow the routes chosen for the Tour de France.
For those who do not bring their cycles with them, there are plenty of cycle shops that hire them and can also handle repairs.
There is a wide range of restaurants within easy reach. In Chalabre there are 2 bar/cafes, plus the Hotel de France which has a good restaurant. Just one kilometre away is the Restaurant Moulon d'Leveque, occupying what was once a Nazi prison camp (don't worry - these days it's a warm and welcoming restaurant that even has crazy golf!). In Puivert, just 15 minutes drive away, is a micro brewery run by Brits, which produces excellent beer. You will need a designated driver!
A little further afield is the Relaise du Pays de Sault in Espezel. Known by locals as Chez Louis after its colourful owner, It's a truly French country dining experience!
In the medieval town of Mirepoix, there are a number of excellent places to eat including La Commerce and the Restaurant le Relaise.
As you would expect in France, there are so many great places to eat and we can advise guests on places to suit their taste and budget.
The Dinosaur Museum at Esperaza is just 30 minutes away. It claims to be the only one of its kind in France and is certainly a great day out for everyone.
The caves at Niaux, are one of the most famous palaeolithic sites in France. They are unusual, not just for the amazing cave paintings dating back around 14000 years, but for the fact that you can actually see the original paintings - most other similar sites have closed the originals to the public and constructed replicas. To get to the paintings you go on an adventure walk through caverns.
Ax Le Thermes is close to Andorra on the Spanish border and as well as a good ski station has an amazing hot spring spa. As well as the modern baths there are saunas, steam rooms, hot waterfalls and lots of other facilities. There are age limits so check with us first before you go.
Carcassonne is about an hour away. From a distance the old cite, dating back to the time of the Cathars, looks like a Disney set. Inside the walls are loads of restaurants and the inevitable gift shops, but also a fascinating museum. You can walk along the battlements, and if your visit includes 14th July (Bastille Day) the town puts on an amazing fireworks display based on the cite.
This is Cathar country (Kate Mosse fans will feel at home) and the area is full of Cathar castles, usually perched impossibly on the top of a peak. You can visit almost all of them, although be ready for a climb up a steep path! The closest is Montsegur, reached by a steep path but offering stunning views once you reach it.
There are many other attractions and guests will never be short of something to do.