Languedoc Living

Our house in the Minervois area of the Languedoc nestles in the foot hills of the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) a beautiful area at the southernmost end of the Massif-Central Mountain range. With thick pine forests in the northern parts and vineyards, garrigue and olive groves towards the south.

Situated just below the thick pine forest tree line, in the tiny Hamlet of Najac which is part of the nearby village of Siran, with its lively bar, boulangerie and small supermarket plus a hotel, restaurants and a primary school.

There are beautiful views from the covered dining terrace, across the expanse of vines to the village of Pepieux and beyond to the Corbiére Mountains and further still to the magnificent Pyrenees in the south west. Our swimming pool terrace is secluded but shares the same view over the top of the house as it is at a higher level.

The Surrounding Area:    The town of Olonzac is just 15 minutes away with a large supermarket many bars, restaurants. shops, garages, doctors, dentists and many other professionals plus a secondary school, it is a popular meeting place as it has a large  market on Tuesday mornings. 

The Canal du Midi is also nearby at Homps with a marina  and restaurants and the adjacent lac de Jouarres offers water sports and a beach for swimming a restaurant and  comfortable walking.

Just 40 minutes away is Carcassonne well known for the medieval “la Citie” which is the largest fortified city in Europe with 52

towers and 3 kilometres of ramparts. Apart from the hundreds of restaurants and gift shops in the maze of ancient walkways and squares the Medievil City boasts an arena which hosts concerts by many big named entertainers. Elton John and Status Quo being the most recent.

Across the river Aude to the west is the younger city built on a grid system with many shops and squares which regularly host musical entertainment and a Christmas market complete with an ice rink during the festive period.

Surrounding the two old parts of the City is the modern city with all the facilities one could ever need including very large out of town stores and the Airport of Carcassonne with many direct flights from the UK and other European cities.

Again about 40 minutes away in the other direction is the large town of Narbonne another popular shopping destination with the famous permanent market "les Halles" and a weekly market on a Thursday.  Narbonne Plage the wonderful Mediterranean Beach is just a few kilometres beyond.

A little further to the west is Beziers which also has an airport with many flights from the UK and other European cities. About half an hour south of Narbonne is Perpignan Airport and town. The airport again has many flights from the UK and other European cities

Just an hour south of Narbonne is the Spanish Boarder with the incredible city of Barcelona an easy day’s return drive from home. Spain is a popular day trip for locals to shop for spirits, tobacco products and clothes with plenty of time for a nice lunch "Spanish style".

Entertainment:    Many of the surrounding towns and villages have free music festivals during the months of June and July ranging from Jazz, Folk and Rock  through Clasical to the Avant Garde.  Clubs catering for many nationalities and pastimes abound in our vicinity French lessons, gardening club, walking groups, country dancing, dining clubs, wine appreciation and art and crafts many are sponsored by the local Marie’s or VEEM (Vivre Ensemble en Minervois) and are often completely free or at least a very modest annual membership. Their website is in French, English and Dutch.

 There are Theatre’s and Cinema’s in Carcassonne and Narbonne the cinema’s sometimes show modern feature films in English and the nearby village of Pepieux has a regular cinema club.

Many local bars have regular musical evenings.

Food:    The whole region is a foodies dream with restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets and even a travelling Fish-n-Chip van which comes to Olonzac and takes over the bars kitchen for good English Fish-n-Chips once a month if that’s what you like. Many of the French locals are regulars having acquired a taste for the food of their “Rost-Beef” visitors.

But in general the food is French heavily influenced by the Catalan Region of Spain, Paella for example is very poplar and any market would be lacking if there was no Paella stall with its enormous pan cooking away and of course there is the famous Cassoulet a traditional dish of the region.

The markets abound with the freshest of vegetables, cheese and olives.

Wine:    It wouldn't be France without wine and the Languedoc is a major producer of very palatable wines. A trip to the local “Cave Co-operative” will produce five litres of very drinkable table wine for just over five euro’s, or a bottle of award winning AOC Red wine from one of the smaller Domain’s costing very much more. Finding your favourite could be a lifetime’s work.

Sightseeing:    The list of places to visit alone or with the friends who will inevitably want to come and visit is very long:

  •  “la Citie” in Carcassonne as mentioned above
  •  The Canal du Midi
  •  The Minerve gorge and ancient Cathar town of Minervois
  •  Narbonne Beach on the Mediteranean.
  •  Montsegur and the many other Cathar castles.
  •  The Camargue with its pink flamingos and wild white horses.
  •  The wonderful Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.
  •  Sette for jousting in boats.
  •  Spain and Barcelona
  •  Skiing in the Pyrenees and a visit to the principality of Andora.

The list is endless but these are just a few of the day trips we love to do with our visitors.

Ideally situated just a short distance from the Autoroute all these attractions are easily within a day's outing.