Places of Interest

Concerts, Spanish and music festivals. Don’t forget the fabulous Bastille Day fireworks in Carcassonne. Cabaret acts at Narbonne Plage. Night Markets and every Sunday vide greniers (antique and bric a brac markets) we are happy to find out days and times for you and will let you know of anything that might be of interest. Off season there is just as much but different … us and we can plan your break for you filling it with all sorts of different and new experiences to try.

Narbonne-There are many historic places to visit including, dating from 1272 the cathedral (Go up to the Treasure Room (small admission charge) and check out the whispering wall. Hours of fun for adults/children! ) and the attached Palaisdes Archevêques, theArchbishop’s Palace. Enjoy its quiet cloisters and the clipped hedges of its gardens . Other historical sites to visit in Narbonne are the Musée Archeologique – an archaeological museum in the town centre – and the Roman Horreum, a former grain warehouse built underground as a cryptoporticus, and now home to the local Narbo 118 wine. Sit in the main square at one of the many cafes and watch the world go by and the children run around the preserved section of old Roman Road. Visit the Musee de la Chevalerie and find out about 1000 years of history of the Cathar Knights (Rue Gustave Fabre just behind the Cathedral) Also visit the food halls – there is often things going on, tasters or little performances. Narbonne - Canal du Robin Carcassonne Cite– Totally charming seeped in history. Lots of museums and restaurants. Jousting in the summer months, the best biscuit shop in the world! carcassonne Ribaute-This is a small village in between Fabrezan and Lagrasse and is a beautiful river swimming place with lots of mini cascades and water pools young and old will love this. If you stand under the mini waterfall at the bottom the fish might nibble your toes! Take a picnic and grab a place under the shade. Further into the hills there are plenty of wild blackberries growing (August) and worth the prickly effort!


St Laurent-If you love gorgeous rivers you will love this, plenty of places to swim, paddle and explore but complicated to find, ask us for directions (its about a 10 minute drive from here)

Mirepeisset– There is a lovely river spot here and big park with children’s playground and picnic spot but if you carry on past the village and follow signs to the horse riding stables and then keep going straight on, you will come to the Pont Canal de la Cesse. There is where the Canal du Midi flows over an aquaduct over the River Cesse. There is a little cafe to stop and watch the boats go by or you can walk down to the river and swim and splash and build dams to your hearts content. Lovely!

Lagrasse-Totally gorgeous medieval village – Once you leave Ribaute and come round the corner to Lagrasse, have your cameras at the ready for the fantastic view of the Abbey and Monastery and the 2 bridges. There are a number of restaurants here but it never seems too crowded. Walk through the old market place and take a circuit walk crossing over the bridges on either side of the village. The Abbey and Monastery are open to visitors but please check times as they vary. There is also a charming museum to visit and stacks of places to eat and drink!

lagrasse 1

Canal du Midi– Anywhere along here is gorgeous, but Le Somail is an interesting spot, with restaurants and a really old book shop, hat museum, small art gallery and even little boats to hire by the hour.


Ferrals les Corbieres– in the summer as in many of the villages there are many free shows and concerts in the village square. But going to visit the goats at feeding time is lovely and taste all the different varieties and buy straight from the farmer. Look out for the signs advertising, ‘spectacles’, wine tastings, meals etc. For those wanting to go splashing about in the river and be away from any tourists, ask us for directions to a really picturesque spot along the river where you can swim and paddle and picnic. Kids fishing Gruissan/Bages/Peyriac sur Mer– All these places lie by the coast or the lagoon alongside the coast. Wonder around the old villages, in Gruissan there is a lovely old fort to climb up to with a great view at the top. In Bages there are a couple of art museums, both places have lovely restaurants and if you are lucky you might see the pink flamingos that live here. Peyriac has a pontoon where you can walk out into the Etang and see the wild life close up!

peyriac de mer 2

Abbaye de Fontfroid– gorgeous old abbey about 20 mins drive away, stunning stained class windows in the church.

Rennes-le -Chateau -inspiration behind the Da Vinci Code, where a local priest ‘apparently’ found some parchments that lead to the mystery of the Holy Grail!! A stunning hour’s drive through lush countryside – very different to the vineyards around here – on the way stop off the stunning ‘Repunzel’ style castle ofArques tickets also include entry into the museum in the village.

Queribus/Peyrepertuse– Drive through the winding Corbieres and discover these striking Cathar ruins. Please note that there is a steep climb up to both so wear suitable shoes and it may be unsuitable for elderly and small children unless you carry them! There is also an admission charge for both places. These places are truly awesome and if you do only one thing on this trip – do this.


Quad Biking-Only for those with a driving license but what a way to see the views! A thrilling ride through magnificent countrysidewww.quad-jet11.comor call 04 68 45 16 29 or 06 72 71 46 96 to book

Castelnou castle & village– combine this with lunch in Perpignan and a visit to the museum of modern art in Ceret

Minerve Cite -a charming Cathar city on a gorge in the middle of seemingly nowhere. Plenty of crafty shops in higgly piggly streets. Lots of fantastic caves to explore – this is a real must! Don’t forget the caves!


Sigean African Reserve– 45 mins drive away. I am told that this a fabulous and great value day out

Kangaroo Park and Bird of Prey park– very near Carcassonne

O2 Treetop adventure park– Great for all ages (unless you are scared of heights) but hours of fun climbing through the tree tops. This is at Lac Cavayere in Carcassonne so you can even do the Tyrolean death slide over the lake! Open to the public from 13h

Beziers Aventure-Another scary (well for me anyway) tree top adventure park , with a few more trails than O2. Open all day in season, and like O2, Wednesdays, and weekends off

Carcassonne beach– yes there is a beach at Carcassonne also know as Lac Cavayere, a manmade lake with life guards in the summer, right next to the O2 park. They have huge inflatable toys which for a small fee can be jumped on and from!

Dali Museum- Figueres, Spain. This lovely day out, and well worth the 2 hour drive. Amazing museum, the building itself is fantastic, and have some real Spanish Tapas

dali museum

Lastours – just the other side of Carcassonne. Visit the 4 small castles each built on a high rocky ridge, also near here is the Grotte de Limousis, a succession of underground caves full of stalactites and stalagmites.

Fisherman’s cemetery -also known as Notre Dame des Auzils et le Cimetiere Marin – in Gruissan. The drive and short steep walk up to the chapel which pays homage to all the fisherman that have died at sea, is worth it alone for the views. But also the church is fascinating with all the paintings of boats on the walls (or are they murals?) This would be a nice detour after a visit to the beach at Narbonne or Gruissan

Les Angles– skiing for a day! 2 hour drive through gorgeous scenery up to a lovely family ski resort. Don’t ski? Try snow shoeing or better still just take the cable car up to the top of the mountain and drink hot chocolate whilst relaxing in a deckchair topping up your tan. The breathtaking view is worth it.

Dinosaurs– we haven’t been to any of these places as Holly is quite rightly scared of them, but I know little boys love them -There are a number of museums, Esperaza, south of Carcassonne is the nearest.

Lac de Jouarres– gorgeous lake just between Homps and Olonzac (also worth visiting) plenty of places to swim, picnic or have lunch in the wonderfully designed restaurant La Guinguette du Lac overlooking the lake.

Bize Minervois– If you like olives then you must go to the olive factory here and also wander around the delightful village

Caunes Minervois– Another stunning village

Pezenas– A lovely old medieval town north of Beziers bursting with antique shops


Kayaking– Absolutely stunning kayaking down a beautiful river at the bottom of the Black Mountains, in a village called Roquebrun only an hour’s drive from here. The rapids are really great fun. Children must be 6 and over and able to swim. Highly recommended. ( 0467 895290.) Roquebrun is also worth a visit for the Jardin Mediterraneen.For other thrilling water sports such canyoning, hydrospeed rafting check out Eaurizon at Puicheric – 0468 499982 or www.eau-rizon.orgfor reservations. Also try in the stunning Gorges Galamus and take a visit to see the Hermitage and church cut into the side of the gorge Canoeing

Grottes -There are various with long dark caves full of stalagmites and stalagtites.Check out Grotte de Limousis or La Grotte de la Deveze. I have to recommend the underground river at Labouiche where you take a number of little boats to tour the underground delights!! Worth the 90 minute drive to get there. I am also informed that the 2 hour tour at is worth doing and the stalagtites etc are out of this world.

Prehistoric stuff – For under ground tours complete with hard hats and lights – seek out the prehistoric drawings at Niaux and also check out the Parc du Prehistoire at Tariscon sur Ariege

Cactus Park and mini zoo – near Beziers for a different botanical feel!

Sea Aquarium– near Montpellier for that unusual rainy day

Le Moulin a Papier– 20 minutes from Carcassonne for a history in the world of paper making (fascinating stuff)

Bouncy castles -just in case there are two rainy days – Narbonne – huge bouncy things for the children (up to 12 years old!) also while you are there try the Espace de Liberty – for the ice rink, ten pin bowling, Olympic sized out door pool and two indoor pools complete with slides.

Beaches– check them all out – they are long and spacious and the locals don’t tend to get there until the afternoon so often very empty in the mornings! We go to Narbonne Plage or sometimes Gruissan. Our absolute favourite is Lecuate Plage (and there is a pretty village nearby by – 38 mins drive from here!) Franki is also great. And for total quaintness and charm Collioure is a bit of a drive but so totally worth it (although don’t go in August you will never be able to park!) and beyond that Banyuls sur Mer for brilliant snorkelling in an underwater nature reserve. Fabulous!


Aqualand– to be found at either Cap D’agde, Port Leucate and Saint Cyprien. Adults nightmare but apparently the best day of Holly’s life (other than Christmas and Birthdays!)

Aquajet- Narbonne Plage, smaller, cheaper, nearer and perfectly good enough!

Cap D’Agde– beautiful beaches including a Naturist beach if you want an all over tan! Sip a coffee whilst listening to the clanging masts in the yachting marina

Meze, Marseillete, Sete– more lovely beaches and villages with tons of water front restaurants. Take a trip on a boat, explore the amazing fish restaurants or laze on one of the many beaches. Sete is famous for its(water) jousting which is at the end of August. You will be able to watch the colourful tradition of the jousters push each other off their respective boats! Also in September Sete hosts a beer festival!

Montpellier– Only an hours drive away and really worth it. A magnificent city buzzing with life. A university town so well equipped with cafes and restaurants in sunny plazas dotted all around. Some fabulous architecture, go and see the Mini Arch de Triompe and stunning viaduct. Plenty of shopping too! We found a cosy little tapas bar called Take Five in a tiny back street. Lunch for two with wine 12 Euros!!

Toulouse– 90 Mins drive from here and a city of culture. Check out the Cite de l’Espace if you are interested in all things outerspacey!

Beauty treatments in house– With notice we can organise many different types of beauty treatments in the comfort of your own gites, even a hairdresser, acupuncture treatments, sports injury massages and many more – just ask me for more details Massage

Wine Tasting Evenings -In the tranquil setting of the Secret Garden, why not enjoy a 2 hour wines tasting setting. Subject to availability we have a number of wine experts to call upon.

Family tastings are available too and the children can join in the fun and try tasting 8 different juices! Reservations need to be made in advance and a minimum of 6 adults ( I can always jolly the other guests to join in!) for prices and bookings please contact Honor

One day wine tours– Collected directly from you front door, our  qualified wine educators will introduce you to at least two vineyards, where you will be offered an insight into the ancient art of wine making. Aimed at anyone who enjoys wine (not just wine buffs) Tours include a splendid lunch, sometimes a lavish picnic in a vineyard. Contact Honor in advance for availability or to tailor make your own tour. Wine and Cheese

Parachute Jumps with out the Plane!-just a 5 minute drive from us, you can experience the sensations of parachuting with out the fear. visit for more details.

Finally we can,if you wish, help you plan your days to help you get the most out of your visit here (although don’t do too much, save some for next time!) But we have put together a few Day Trip options to help make your choices easier.

Day Trip Option 1

Pezenas/ St Guilhem-de-Desert / Grotte de Clamouse Pezenasis a lovely medieval town with a compact, pretty and atmospheric ‘old town’. A few antique shops and a lovely main street to have a coffee and watch the world go by. St Guilhem-de-Desert is a small medieval village with many narrow cobbled streets to explore. Situated at the top of a gorge, there are a number of artisan craft shops for souvenir shopping. The village is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is easy to see why once there. The 11th Century Abbey-Church of Gellone is worth a visit and is the only surviving part of a monastic house. It is possible to go into the crypt and see relics. Grotte de Clamouse will be a favourite with children and adults alike. A guide will take you deep into the cave for an hour’s exploration, culminating in a huge chamber with amazing crystalline formations. A light and sound show is included and is quite breath taking.

cabrespine caves carcassonne

Day Trip Option 2

Pezenas / Tourbes / Chateau de Cassan / Abbey of Valmagne It is possible to mix some of the sights of Options 1 and 2 but not possible to do all in one day. I have suggested itineries which make the best use of time. This is a region which deserves more than one day! Pezenas- as above Tourbes- 3km South West of Pezenas, the small medieval village of Tourbes with tiny, narrow alleys and a church and porticoed square. Will not take long to explore but a good sight on the way to Chateau de Cassan. Chateau de Cassan- This priory was founded in 1080, and was rebuilt in the 1700s as a huge neoclassical palace. It has a huge cloister with an iron staircase and also an Oriental garden. Abbey of Valmagneis a beautiful Abbey, once on of the richest in the South of France. It is now the largest wine producing Abbey in France. The wine vats in the gothic church are huge and give the whole church a delicious woody-wine scent. It has a very well-preserved cloister, chapterhouse, gardens and sometimes holds art exhibitions. Set in beautiful countryside, it’s well worth a visit.


Day Trip Option 3

Grotte de Niaux / Mirepoix Grotte de Niaux is truly impressive – atmospheric and quite moving. Situated at the foot of the Pyrenees, it is probably a 90 minute drive away, which can be broken up by lunch in Mirepoix or Foix. It is essential to book ahead on a tour, although they do run every half an hour or so. With individual torch lights, groups make their way into the cave, towards the ‘Salon Noir’ where the amazing cave drawings of our early ancestors can still be seen. Tours are 90 minutes. Foix is a relatively small town, but quite bustling. A decent place to stop for coffee and lunch and break up the drive back to Ferrals les Corbieres. Mirepoix- an extremely pretty little town with a lovely town square with a large number of cafes. A large gothic church and an attractive 19thCentury wrought-iron market hall. A perfect town to relax in and on Mondays there is a local farmers market, providing lots of opportunities to put together a picnic. Closer to home but also a perfect place to break up the drive.



Day Trip Option 4

Mirepoix/ Montsegur / Rennes-le-Chateau This will be a long day and it may be that you visit Montsegur and Rennes-le-Chateau on different days or cut out Mirepoix on this trip completely. It is possible to do all three in one day if you leave early and expect to be home just in time for dinner! Mirepoix- as above. If visited on a Monday morning, would provide an opportunity to put together a picnic to take to Montsegur. Montseguris one of the most famous sights in the region, known as site of the last Cathar resistance where those surviving were put to the stake. It is a steep walk up to the top of the mount where the small castle’s ruins remain. On a clear day there are fantastic views from the top and the site becomes even more atmospheric in mist and fog. Rennes-le-Chateau- Supposedly the inspiration behind Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and site of a mystery which remains today concerning Berenguar Sauniere, the enigmatic and mysterious priest of the parish between 1885 and 1917.