|Villa in Maureillas||Self Catering||Saturday||3||8||2||Two fold-up, comfortable, single beds|
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This is a spacious and pretty villa which is located in a tranquil location surrounded by pine-clad Pyrénéean mountains, vineyards and cherry orchards. It offers total peace, relaxation, seclusion and privacy although nearby are all the lively tourist attractions, beautiful towns, villages and resorts and historic attractions that you would ever want. So you can have a busy exploring day on one day and a quiet chill-out in the house and garden on another.
The surrounding landscape is a real feast to the eyes in all seasons, dominated by the magical Canigou, one of the highest mountains in the Pyrénées and said by the locals to have magical powers. It is certainly a very beautiful three-peaked mountain and is a joy to see every day in its changing moods.
The villa has has a lovely, large, Mediterranean-style, secluded garden which completely surrounds the villa, encapsulating a private, heated, safety-fenced pool surrounded by a its own pretty, landscaped tiled area. The garden is full of fruit trees, shrubs, large jars and pots full of flowering plants and is well maintained. The living accommodation leads out to a sweeping sunny terrace at the back where you can sunbathe all day if you like and eat and drink under a fairy-lit gazebo in the evenings.
The whole of the house is beautifully tiled throughout with colourful rugs and pictures and silk flowers in every room, a real home-from-home.
The terrace runs all along the full length of the back of the house right up to the safety-fenced off pool terrace which sits along the side of the house in its own area. Both the garden and pool terrace are blessed with sun all day long until well into the evening when you can enjoy a welcome aperitif catching the last of the warm rays beside the pool. The pool is flood-lit at night so wonderful for a late or night time swim during the hot months.
The house is incredibly well insulated being only 13 years old, so it is cool in the summer and lovely and warm in the winter as well due to the thick walls and excellent, modern insulation. The house is centrally heated and very snug in the winter when the nights can get very cold, although the days can be pleasantly warm, even allowing outdoor eating at lunchtime. We would thoroughly recommend a winter visit to recharge the batteries and bring some much needed light into dark, northern winter-worn eyes. But, of course, summer is the optimum time in this gorgeous region renowned for its 320 days of sunshine and its delightful and healthy Mediterranean climate.
Sheets and towels are provided, as well as beach towels. We can assure you that you will have a wonderfully comfortable stay as we have tried to cater for your every need as we have for ours! The house has a lovely, welcoming feel as we have made it our home and we would like to feel that you will feel also 'at home' there.
There is a large fitted and airy modern kitchen with a modern eating area with an island and chairs to match. The kitchen is well stocked to accommodate up to 8 people, with every appliance you will need for cooking - if you want to that is... French doors lead out from this area on to a sheltered, fairy- lit gazebo for outdoor eating and drinking at lunchtime and in the long balmy summer evenings. There is a complete modern out door kitchen bbq unit with gas burners, sinks, and table tops
There is a small utility room just off the kitchen area housing a brand new, high-tech lovely fridge/freezer, washing machine and tumble drier.
The living area is open plan covering a large area providing airy and spacious accommodation.
The living room is comfortably and stylishly furnished with ample seating with two sofas and two arm chairs and coffee table. It has a large, flat-screen television with internet connection to all major channels, both British and other major language programmes including Sky and BT Sports, plus a dvd/cd player and radio. There are wide patio doors from the living room leading out onto the sweeping , south facing garden terrace which is shaded by sun parasols for sunbathing in both summer and a warm winter's day (happens!).
The bedroom area is reached by a middle passage-way to the other side of the house tucked well away from the living area. There are three double bedrooms, two with double beds and one with twin beds, all pleasantly and comfortably furnished with fitted wardrobes and drawers. In the twin-bedded room there are also two additional folding beds.
Bedroom 1 - Double bed, bedside tables, chest of drawers, fitted wardrobes, French doors leading to garden terrace and pool
Bedrom 2 - Double bed, bedside tables, chest of drawers, fitted wardrobes, double windows looking over pool
Bedroom 3 - Twin beds, fitted wardrobes, bedside tables.
There are 2 comfy fold up beds available in the house also
Sheets, towels and beach towels provided
There are fans in every bedroom and we recommend that you close the traditional French shutters during the hot days and open the wide double windows to keep the bedrooms cool. Traditional aircon and much more healthy.
There is a modern, beautifully tiled and fitted main bathroom with large, double shower area (monsoon shower!) and a double vanity unit.
There is a separate cloakroom right next door with toilet, basin and mirrors.
At the other end of the house is a shower room with shower cabinet with monsoon shower also basin, mirror and toilet.
The house is centrally-heated throughout and is very warm in the winter.
As detailed above, there is a wide-screen television with all channels provided by internet connection. There are games and cards and also a cupboard stuffed with books for people to help themselves and have a relaxing read.
Around the property are vineyards, vignobles, cherry orchards and olive groves with magnificent views of the Pyrénées and is easily accessible with a network of country lanes and paths.
Maureillas village is very lively and often has live music in the village square. During the high season summer months, there are fiestas all the time on the weekends in the village leisure pétanque area, with live music and discos with food and drinks available to be bought very cheaply. These events are run by the local Mairie and staffed by local volunteers. Events are publicised on boards just by the leisure area or on the digital board in the village.
There is a pony club in the village for lessons or pony trails and hiking/walking trails are on your doorstep.
The garden has been planted to reflect its Mediterranean surrounds.
The pool is large and heated, furnished with sunbeds and parasols, and has a stepped end leading to a depth of 1.5 metres. At one end is a round dining table and chairs under a shady parasol, and at the other is a marble table, bench and chairs so you can sit and eat and enjoy your morning coffee or your evening apéro. There are mountain views all around and it is wonderful to watch the changing light of the wide, Mediterranean sky. The pool is kept in perfect order by Franck, the guardian of the house who passes by to clean it often during the week though he will always respect your privacy. The large garden encircles the whole house and is filled with flowering bushes and fruit trees - an ideal place for maximum peace and relaxation where you can watch the swallows swoop down to drink in the pool and sit and listen to the lovely birdsong. It is truly magical.
There is off-road parking right outside the house and there is a gated drive-way. However, this area is very safe and cars are unlikely to come to any harm parked outside in the off-road area.
The villa is suitable for family, couple/friends holidays. Because the village is within easy walking distance and there is guaranteed entertainment in the village, especially during high season, even teenagers will enjoy its life. The area is peppered with lively resorts and towns to suit the taste of all ages. During the lower seasons, if it's peace and tranquility you are searching for, then this area is just the ticket and ideal for recharging the batteries.
Because there is a stepped entrance and a terrace shelf at the back, the house is not ideal for total wheelchair users. However, the partially disabled have stayed here and got about fine as the house is all on one level.
Families with children of all ages have been coming to the villa for years and enjoyed staying there.
Hi everyone. We are Keith and Vanessa and we live permanently in Wokingham which is a lovely market town in Berkshire. We have four grown up children but they still boomerang back and forth. We are both working full time at the moment so we don't have much time to spend out at our lovely house in France though we do try and get there when there is availability as we love it down there. It is such a beautiful region. We just feel so privileged to have houses in such beautiful parts of the world.
|Year property purchased||2005|
|Why this location?||With reputed 330 days of sunshine a year, the region of the Languedoc Roussillon has so much variety to offer. Our house is right down nearly on the Spanish border and is situated within the old country of 'Catalunya' of which the locals are fiercely proud - so it has a Catalan flavour in its culture,customs and food. We love the spicy food though, of course, you can always get traditional French fare. That's the essence of this area, the best of both worlds. You can drive north and be 'lost in France' amongst the beautiful vineyards of Cahors and Corbières, visit the nearby Cathar castles perched on mountain tops, the gorges and the grottos, have a typical French meal in a brasserie in Narbonne or Pézenas (birth place of Molière) just up the motorway or a fish meal in Sète. Or you can enjoy the Catalan flavour of the region and take advantage of the various fiestas and watch the locals dance the traditional Sardane. And then real Spain is on your doorstep with all its wonders.|
|Unique benefits of property||The villa offers total privacy,tranquility and relaxation.It's truly magical to breakfast on the terrace surrounded by the beautiful Pyrénées listening to the birdsong or enjoying an apéro or evening meal under the fairy lit gazebo on the warm, balmy evenings or enjoying a lovely cooling swim in the pool or just dozing on the loungers in the sun are some of the joys of just 'being' there. The villa is within 10 mins walking distance of the lively village which has two restaurants and a café so no need to drive for entertainment,though beautiful towns like Céret, Collioure, Perpignan or even the Costa Brava are very close. Don't rule out a winter break-you can walk by the sea in the warmth of the sun ,even eat outside at midday and then have a romp in the snow in the mountains the next and come back to a lovely cosy and comfortable house. The house is very well insulated and centrally heated.The insulation works well in the summer also and keeps the house cool on the hot days of summer.|
The village of Maureillas which sits beautiful in the foothills of the Pyrénées is lovely and lively and just 10 mins pretty walk up the road across the poplar-lined bridge. The village has a modern Spar Supermarket, a large pharmacie, a boulangerie, a boucherie and other small shops, plus a cash machine so it's has everything you need on your doorstep if you don't want to travel far. There are two restaurants in the village square (Place de la République), one which is a restaurant/café (so you don't need to go for a meal if all you want is a drink or coffee during the day or a drink after dinner and which is cheap and cheerful and typically Catalan called ‘El Tap’ where they often have live music. The other restaurant is quite gourmet and a bit more expensive called ‘66/sur vins’ – (www.66survins.com) which is highly recommended. We recommend you book a table at either restaurant as the village gets really busy. There is often live music in the village square – when we receive any info on this, we will send it to you as it’s fun to eat or have a drink there when this takes place. There is also a little café on the main road which does tapas, salads and grills at lunchtimes (look at blackboard outside in street) – it’s just been taken over by new ownership and they’ve done it up really nicely with a small courtyard garden at the back. We are sure you will fall in love with Maureillas and want to come back!
Céret is a lovely town only 5 mins down the road. It is famous for it's modern art museum which has an affinity with Picasso who lived in Céret for a while and who donated some sketches of which they are very proud. There is an abundance of restaurants and street cafés in the town and if you go into the ramparts and follow the little ‘ruelles’, you will come to the main square ‘La place De neuf Gets’ which has a lovely fountain in the centre (les neuf gets!) . Here you will find 3 good restaurants – the best one (we think) is Quattrocento – it makes the best pizzas in the world! But you must book in advance as during high season, the restaurants get booked up and you won’t get a place, even at lunchtime. The number of Quattrocento is in the black book. There is a tourist office in Céret where you can get leaflets about everything that is going on in the area and places recommended to visit. And don’t forget Céret’s legendary market on Saturday mornings – the market stretches almost the whole length of the town and the whole town comes alive with live music and lots going on. There is also a more arty-crafty market in Céret on Tuesday evenings during high season so it will be going on whilst you are there.
St. Jean Pla de Corts is our neighbouring village which has a couple of restaurants and a beautiful old church with fabulous mountain views – especially of ‘Canigou’, the magic mountain. Just 5 mins from the centre of St. Jean are two large lakes where they have created a fabulous adventure park with cafés, picnic areas, pedallos, teleski, water skiing, tree climbing and other outdoor activities. It is all supervised so quite safe. You will see sign posts to ‘Ski Nautique’ in the village or just ask and the locals will direct you. The lakes are lovely to walk around too if you don’t want to actually do any of the adventurous stuff.
Collioure is a wonderful and beautiful harbour town in a lovely setting, famous for attracting painters such as Matisse, Picasso, Derain, Chagall, etc. I would recommend a visit to the market on either Sunday or Wednesday morning and then lunch in one of the many restaurants there right by the sea or within the pretty little streets where there are also boutiques, tourist and food and wine shops open every day of the week. Parking is tricky. Best place to park is on the western hill descending to the town where there is a massive pay and display car park where you will always find a space. It costs 5Euros for the stay. When you get to a roundabout on descending to the town which has a sign post to ‘La Gare SNCF’, go STRAIGHT OVER this roundabout and don’t be tempted to turn right down the eastern descent. This road is the western downhill road into Collioure and the car park is on the lefthand side quite high up on the brow of the hill. There is a free bus (Navette) to go back up again if you can’t face the climb – though it’s good exercise!!!
Spain is only a few minutes’ drive away. You could take the old road (Green A9) and take the windy route to Le Perthus which is the border down where there are lots of boutiques and supermarkets – spirits are cheaper in Spain than in France so if you like a drink (we do!) then it’s worth going there to buy them – Perthus has lots of supermarkets selling cheap cigarettes and alcohol. Spain is on the left hand side and France on the right side (I think it’s that way around!) You can also take the motorway, of course, into Spain – the Costa Brava is on your doorstep with lots of lovely resorts to visit, Rosas, Estartit, Ampuria where there are Roman ruins, Cadaques (birthplace of Dali), etc. etc.
That’s what makes our area so interesting – you get the best of both worlds! Also the Spanish eat late so you can always have a late lunch or dinner at any time without any worry.
A visit to the Dali Museum in Figueres which is only 20 mins or so down the motorway is highly recommended. It really shows what a brilliant all round artist Dali was as every style of his painting is shown there, not only his surrealist period. There is also the museum there displaying his amazing hand-made jewellery. A good idea would be to go to Figueres on Thursday as there is an excellent large market in the town and then have lunch in the town centre and then visit the museum in the afternoon. If you go during high season, you may have to book the museum visit in advance but no need in low season. The museum is amazing and really show cases what a versatile and talented artist Dali really was. After the museum visit, the boutiques will be starting to open around 4ish so nice to have a wander around these also. Shops and restaurants stay open till late into the evening so no need to hurry.
Barcelona is only 2 hours drive down the motorway so easily accessible, however, we would recommend taking the train if you want to visit as driving around and parking within Barcelona is very tricky. Park at Figueres Vilafant Station which is the TGV station (AWE in Spanish) and you can be in Barcelona in around 55 minutes. You can book online before hand and get cheaper tickets and the parking is very reasonable in Figueres. The station where you will end up in Barcelona is right next to the metro so you can go anywhere from there. If it is your first time there, a tour on the hop on, hop off tourist buses are the best way to explore the sights. It is a beautiful city, full of life and energy and you will find you will want to go there more than once as there is just so much to take in.
Girona is also a bit of an undiscovered gem with a pretty Plaça Major, the most gorgeous castle with a city-encircling bridge that gives dramatic views all around to the mountains and with little cobbled streets with cafés, restaurants and boutiques within the city walls. Apparently, the Girona Flower Festival is fantastic and is usually held in May. There are other major festivals throughout the year so if you want to visit whilst you are in the area, it is worth doing some research. Girona is well worth a visit and it's only 40 minutes down the motorway.
Argeles-sur-Mer is a town and seaside resort about half an hour's drive from Maureillas, near the border with Spain and on the section of coast known as the Cote Vermeille. It is in an attractive setting with the low hills of the eastern Pyrenees and the massif des Albères behind the beach and Mount Canigou visible beyond.
Argeles-sur-Mer is a town and seaside resort on the Mediterranean coast of France, near the border with Spain and on the section of coast known as the Cote Vermeille. It is in an attractive setting with the low hills of the eastern Pyrenees and the massif des Albères behind the beach and Mount Canigou visible beyond.Argeles-sur-Mer is a town and seaside resort on the Mediterranean coast of France, near the border with Spain and on the section of coast known as the Cote Vermeille. It is in an attractive setting with the low hills of the eastern Pyrenees and the massif des Albères behind the beach and Mount Canigou visible beyond.
It is a popular and pleasant resort on the Languedoc coast, mostly visited for the activities along the coast and beach. The sandy beach is almost seven kilometres long, and interspersed with rocky pools and has been awarded the Blue Flag award for its cleanliness and facilities. It is the most important resort on this stretch of the coast with all sorts of resort attractions for children and adults alike. Aqualand waterpark is nearby and there seems to be a permanent circus just outside the town.
Port Argelès is the modern port area built in a horse-shoe around the marina filled with all types of sail and motor boats. You can hire bikes and ride or walk from the port along the promenade by the beach all the way to Argelès town - a pleasant walk to do when the crowds have gone and you can admire the lovely spacious villas built in La Belle Epoque in the early part of the 20th Century and the beautiful gardens. The port is stacked full of restaurants, cafés and bars and a lovely place to eat and drink.
A visit to Perpignan is also highly recommended. Perpignan is a stylish town with a lovely Medieval town centre of little windy streets full of boutiques, shops, cafes and restaurants. There is good parking available in the large municipal car parks. It will only take about half an hour to get to Perpignan – no need to take the motorway – just take the dual carriageway out of St. Jean Pla de Corts as if you were going to the motorway but at the first roundabout, take the last option right which is sign posted Perpignan. This is a new road they’ve just cut through the mountain and it cuts off a whole corner and any traffic jams through Le Boulou. Just keep following the signs to Perpignan from that road and then once you get to Perpignan, take signs to Centre Ville. This route will also take you through the big retail area where Auchan , etc. is situated (Porte d’Espagne). Auchan is a fantastic hypermarket which sells everything so if you’re a shopaholic like me, you’ll enjoy a visit as there are lots of boutiques in the shopping mall which houses it – good to do on a cloudy or rainy day.
Within a few minutes, you will be climbing up the Pyrénées and come to old spa towns renowned for their healing facilities in places like Amélie-les-Bains. There is also an amazing gorge 'La Gorges de la fou' just above Arles-sur-Tech which is definitely worth a visit just to see the stalactites and stalagmites and the fantastic plants growing from the stones. You can drive right up to the top and cross over to Spain on the other side - well worth doing for the views. All along the way, there are small shops selling organic produce like honey, home made mead and beer and home made dried sausage.
In the winter, you can get to the first ski stations in about 1 hr and a half and then beyond is Andorra which is fascinating place to visit either in summer or winter. You can hire ski equipment at any of the resorts which are not as stylish as their counterparts in the Alps but offer family fun and entertainment and lots of low slopes for learners and children. The joy is that, in the Winter, you can be in the snow one day and down by the Mediterranean walking along the beach in the sun on another.
We would also recommend a drive into the Corbières and The Fenouillades which are the older mountain ranges north of Perpignan and easily reached by heading north on the A9 motorway into France. They are very beautiful and boast many household names of wine which you will see growing up the slopes. You can explore the Cathar Castles that are perched high up in the mountains. There are a ring of them and you can walk right up to the top of the mountain to explore around the ruins and admire the amazing views out to the Mediterranean. On the ring, you will come to Tauteval where you will find the European Centre for Prehistoric Research and a museum displaying the ancient finds like the tooth of the Tauteval man said to be 500,000 years old.
The Castle at Salses and Castelnou are also worth a visit.
These are towns north of Perpignan well worth exploring and all do-able within a day though an overnight stay inn Sète is highly recommended. They are all beautiful towns with historic or tourist interest, Narbonne for its beautiful cathedral, Gruisson for its topography, Cap D'Agde for its tourist beaches, Pézanas for its beautiful architecture and affiliation with Molière, being his birthplace and Sète as it is a working port with an amazing topography as it has a sea canal which comes up right through the town and is lined with fishing boats. It is a working port with daily 'criés' (fish markets). You can eat wonderful local specialities based on fish themes, of course.
These are all seaside towns and resorts all along the wine route from Collioure to the Costa Brava. The journey along the coastal corniche promises fabulous views across the Mediterranean and there are wine tasting stops all along the way for a dégustation of the local wines, cognacs and muscats which are commonly drunk as an apéritif or a 'digestif' after a meal. Delicious!
Besalu in the Spanish Pyrenees is a absolute gem – a beautiful Medieval town with an amazingly preserved Roman Bridge and medieval village in a stunning setting. It’s only 45 minutes down the motorway so easy to get to but you can also take the dramatic drive over the Pyrenees from France into Spain and into the fabulous Garrotxa region of the Pyrenees. This is a lovely area - a natural park being one of the most important volcanic landscapes across Europe where there are 38 recorded volcanoes. Check out its other beautiful towns such as Compradon and Olot, the area's capital. Definitely worth an explore.
We had a wonderful at this lovely villa. The photos do not do the villa justice.
Inside we had use of the ground floor, the upstairs is locked off for the owners use. The downstairs is roomy/bright, with shutters if needed.
The bedrooms were spacious, with fans, plus wardrobe and drawer space. The beds were comfortable.
The shower was powerful and easy to use. There was a second shower and toilet off the utility room, which was handy.
The open plan kitchen/living area was great, full of equipment for cooking plus a huge American style fridge freezer, perfect for storing lots of food/drink and my children loved the automatic ice maker which meant their drinks were always cold. The outside fridge meant extra drinks were kept cold until needed.
Outside was lovely. A beautiful heated pool, with sun loungers around it. Steps at one end, the other was deep for some fun bombing! Super decked area, covered end with the dining table, useful for shade or summer showers. It was lovely to pick the grapes around this area. There are lovely flowers around the garden. We loved sitting out in the evening watching the birds, then as dusk arrived watching the bats. Our favourite nature 'spot' was the hedgehog who popped out of the bushes.
The villa is close to the village we walked for breakfast, baguettes and lovely meals. El Tap is a lovely pub/restaurant we were made to feel very welcome. 66 sur vins restaurant with amazing food.
I highly recommend a this villa.
Thank you for your wonderful review Nicky. We so love it when people are happy staying at our villa. You were fab guests and we hope to welcome you again soon.
What can we say?! We have just spent two marvellous weeks in this delightful property. Vanessa and Keith ensured we had plenty of information prior to our visit and kept in contact via email during our stay to ensure everything was running smoothly - we could not have asked for more helpful owners.
Having looked at the websites for this property many times before travelling we found everything to be exactly as it said/looked in their description/photographs. The house was very clean with every piece of equipment we could have asked for, including travel adaptors in a couple of rooms and a massive supply of bath/pool towels.
We were a party of 2 and so had plenty of room! Having said that a larger party would also have found plenty of space to sit and relax/eat with large bedrooms complete with ample wardrobe space. We had glorious weather for the whole two weeks and therefore ate most of our meals under the pergola - beautifully shady during the day and wonderful with the fairy lights in the evening. The pool was used every day (quite often twice!) and was wonderful to get into in the late afternoon after a hot day's sightseeing.
We visited numerous places around the area, both in France and Spain. Highlights have to be Castlenou, Collioure, le petit train jaune and Mont Louis in France and Besalu, Pals and Peratallada in Spain.
Thank you Vanessa and Keith - you ensured we had a wonderful time in your beautiful house. We hope to return!
Thank you Veronica and Ian for such a wonderful review. It was such a pleasure to have you both at the villa and we are so happy that you had such a lovely time and that it provided a great back drop to your stay. You certainly explored the area! Please do come back again . It was lovely to get to know you too! We have been so lucky to have such delightful guests
property was all as we expected clean tidy with plenty of towels and kitchenware very good customer service and nice that the owner kept in touch while we were there and responsive to any queries we had would recommend this property to anyone looking for a relaxing holiday very close to the Spanish border for a visit but traffic into Spain very busy depending on what time you go but well worth going
worth a drive up the mountain for the views but be prepared for a careful drive took about 40 min to get to the top but worth the drive views were fantastic and were fortunate to see a couple of paragliders
Heartfelt thanks for your lovely review - so glad you enjoyed the villa and the locality. That is paramount to us. Yes, traffic always busy to Spain during the high tourist season, ie July and August with tourists and road users taking the route south but also popping to Spain for shopping and to take advantage of the cheaper alcohol, cigarettes and general stuff. But it does die down at other times and it's lovely to be able to just cross the border so easily for a totally different experience.
Hope to welcome you and the family back very soon! Thanks v much again
Beautiful villa, home from home everything there that you need. I would go back again.
Thanks for the wonderful review Pat. You were lovely guests and we look forward very much to welcoming you again at the villa.