GENERAL INFORMATION

Before your arrival a comprehensive housebook will be sent to you, giving lots of information about all kinds of things such as shopping, restaurants, markets, beaches etc.

GENERAL INFORMATION

HOUSE MANAGEMENT
There is a husband and wife team who live in the village and look after the house, including tenant change-overs and pool and garden maintenance and they can organise, at tenant’s cost, cleaning  on Tuesdays and Thursdays and babysitting  in the evenings. They will help with queries or problems that may arise.

GETTING TO LAURAC
There are airports in Carcassonne (30 minutes from the house) and Toulouse (55 minutes from the house) and also at Perpignon, Beziers and Girona. The nearest train station is in Castelnaudary. Car hire is available at the airports and in Castelnaudary.

DIRECTIONS & ARRIVAL DETAILS
For those who decide to rent our house detailed directions as to how to find the house and what to do on arrival will be sent to them.

PARKING
You can park at any time outside the front door to unload your luggage or groceries and then you go to park at either the top or the bottom of the road each of which is about 130 metres away. All parking is free. We have never heard of a security problem with cars parked at either location and as the village is so small everyone feels very safe.

LINEN
All linens are provided including bathing towels.

HAIRDRYERS
There are hairdryers in all the bedrooms.

SHOPPING
There are no shops in the village but 10 mins away in the village of Villasavery there is an excellent grocery, butcher, baker, pharmacy and hairdresser. Castelnaudary, 20 mins away, has three major supermarkets and every other kind of shop you could need.  Mobile baker, greengrocer and butcher vans come to the village on a regular basis.

TELEPHONE & INTERNET
There is a telephone 0468 78 15  62 in the house and we operate an honesty box system for outgoing calls.  There is a broadband connection in the house.

TELEVISION & DVD
The television works through a computer beside the TV set. Follow the instructions and then you will get all the BBC, ITV and many, many other channels.  There is also a separate DVD player. See the Housebook for more details.

HEATING
Apart from the wood burning stove all areas in the house are heated by eco-friendly electric radiators.  Very plentiful hot water, heated by electricity, is available 24 hours a day.

MEDICAL
In Villasavary, 10 mins away, there is an excellent doctor and in Carcassonne, Castelnaudary and Toulouse there are hospital. In Castelnaudary there are many doctors and dentists etc.

BEACHES
The nearest beaches are in the Narbonne area and are just over an hour away.

HORSE RIDING
There is horse riding available nearby.

BIKE HIRE
Bicycles can be hired in Bram (about 4 kms East of Castelnaudary). Full details will be found in our house book. Cycling along the Canal du Midi is very flat and very pretty. There is also plenty of off road biking in the surrounding hills.

GOLF
There is an excellent golf course in Carcassonne which apparently is not crowded or expensive.

CAFES / RESTAURANTS
Whilst there is no café in Laurac nearby Castelnaudary has lots of cafes and also four good restaurants which we have listed in the housebook. In Mirepoix there are plenty of cafes and a very good restaurant. Carcassonne is awash with cafes and we have listed four reputedly good restaurants. We know there are other good restaurants within reasonable distance but we have not been to them.

MARKETS
There are weekly markets in Bram, Carcassonne, Castelnaudary, Mirepoix and Revel.

WALKING
The area around Laurac has been described by our friends as a walker’s paradise. There are many different types of terraine, vegetation and scenery with views of the Pyrennees, the Corbieres and the Montaigne Noir.  The going varies from easy to middling to hard.  Tracks are well marked and there are many minor and major walks in the neighbourhood and in the foothills of the Pyrennees.  We cannot over emphasise the superb walking you can have within reach of Laurac.

SKIING & WINDSURFING
You can ski within an hour and a half of the house and an extra 45 mins will see you on the best slopes in Andorra. In the house there is masses of storage space for skis and drying facilites for ski clothes. Windsurfing is about  20 mins away and there are other locations in the area.

VINEYARDS
There are plenty of vineyards nearby who welcome visitors and the famous wine area of the Minervois is just to the east of Carcassonne.  Limoux, 25 mins, is the home of the world-famous sparkling white wine - Blanquette which dates back to well before Champagne.  The pundits say that in this region the best white wines in the South of France are produced.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE
CATHAR CASTLES – Laurac is in the heart of the Cathar Country about which much has been written recently. Their famous castles such as Montsegur are all within easy distance.
ABBEYS - The Abbeys of St. Papoul, St. Hilaire and Villelongue are amongst many in the Area.
CAVES – There are a number of caves in the area but of particular importance is the famous Grotte de Niaux which has superb pre-historic drawings.
CARCASSONNE – The fortified city is the main attraction and there are guided tours of the ramparts and the castle or else just wander around by yourselves and then see the artisan shops and there are many restaurants, cafes and bars. There are medieval spectaculars throughout the summer.
CANAL DU MIDI – Just 10 mins away from the house for walking and cycling. Bike hire available nearby .
MUSEUMS – In nearby Bram there is a quite excellent museum with a very extensive collection of Roman archaeological artefacts found in the locality. The Oppidum of Enserune, perched on a steep-sided hill and covering a huge area, offers ideal natural protection, for a fortified village. This type of high settlement is characteristic of the indigenous world of Southern Gaul from the Bronze Age to the Roman conquest. It is quite remarkable and there is also a Museum on the site which houses an incredible collection of artefacts found on the site. Excavation is still continuing. It is about 15 mins east of Narbonne. There is a quite excellent Dinosaur museum in Esperaza.
PARKS AND GARDENS - Jardin aux Plantes in Limoux has many varieties of plants and herbs indigenous to the area laid out in an informal manner. There is a large Wild Life Park at Sigean and an Adventure Park, Accro’Parc in Alet les Bains.
CANOEING AND RAFTING – There is plenty of choice on the River Aude and these are mostly located by the road from Limoux to Quillan.
THERMAL BATHS – There is a very large open air swimming pool heated by thermal waters at Rennes les Bain about an hour away and thermal baths at Ax les Bains.
CITIES AND TOWNS – Toulouse is 55 mins by car or go by train from Castenaudary. The old centre of Toulouse is vibrant with cafes, bistros, restaurants, market shops and boutiques and there are some superb Museums and Galleries. It is a very pleasant and interesting city. The ancient walled city of Mirepoix with its famed square and 13th century half-timbered houses is only 20 mins away and the rose coloured city of Albi with its famous Cathedral and Toulouse Lautrec museum is within easy distance.

Read about the history of Laurac Le Grand....

HOUSEBOOK
A comprehensive housebook is available in the house which gives lots of information about all kinds of things such as shopping, restaurants, markets and boring things like rubbish disposal, household machines, TV etc. There are also books on walks and pamphlets on places to go and see.

SMOKING
Please do not smoke in the house but as the terrace is adjacent to the living areas we hope this will not cause any problems.
Please ring if not understood.

REVIEWS FROM SOME OF OUR GUESTS

Date of stay: September 2016
Gregor H: Having taken a holiday on the Canal du midi in 2015 my wife and I wanted a base to further explore this beautiful region. I looked for somewhere close to Castelnaudary but with a rural aspect.
Boy did we luck out in finding Les Collines. The property has been renovated to a very high standard and the views from the roof terrace are amazing. We could not believe how peaceful the village was and to sit on the terrace watching the sun go down with a glass of wine is bliss itself. We also took full advantage of the private swimming pool which is surrounded by aromatic lavender and rosemary and fresh figs hanging from the fig tree.
The surrounding countryside invites you to explore and this can be done on foot, bicycle or simply by car. You are only less than ten minutes into the nearest large town namely Castelnaudary where you can stock up on supplies, visit bars and restaurants as well as links to Toulouse and the Canal du midi.
If you are looking for a peaceful vacation in amazing surroundings with superb weather then look no further.
My wife and I would definitely stay here again.

Date of Stay: Jul 2016
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the house. The owner was incredibly communicative and helpful, the housekeeper really sweet and welcoming. The bedrooms are all simple and clean with efficient bathrooms and gorgeous shutters. The layout of the house and thick walls meant that the bedrooms were cool even in 35 degree heat. The terrace was great for late evening meals and star gazing and the pool provided hours of fun for us all. Charming village, super landscape. Really good for walking or running past fields of sunflowers! We were there for 2 weeks and there was plenty to do. Our children's favourite was the Haunted House in Carcasonne!!

Fifi from Norfolk:
We stayed here last year and intend to return, and soon.
Charming little hilltop village set in beautiful country ...very rural, little fields full of butterflies and wild flowers and lovely autumn fruits to be picked . Old house with Capacious living room and kitchen, and big terrace overlooking beautiful tracts of French country. Wifi, Sky...all you could want. Huge variety of places to visit, vineyards, markets, pretty villages, the cities of Carcassonne and Toulouse to name a few.
Delicious restaurants, very good one in Castelnaudary.
Very private and cosy garden surrounding the pool..barbeque et al.
You couldn't possibly be disappointed when you arrive in this house, it is everything it says in the brochure.

Family from Dorset:
We have recently returned from 2 weeks in Laurac as a family of 7 across 3 generations ranging from 4 years to 76. The house is beautiful and no photo of the view from the wonderful terrace could ever do it justice. With 4 en suite bedrooms, all of which were very comfortable, on the ground floor, and a large open plan kitchen/lounge/dining room on the 1st floor, all of which looked out on to the huge French windows and terrace, we had plenty of room and comfort. The pool set in the secret garden a short stroll from the house was perfect for relaxing in, and there is loads of space on the decking for stretching out on the loungers and catching the sun. For shade lovers there is also plenty of this as well as the garden is very well designed.
With loads of amazing places close to Laurac there is loads to do and see, and the village itself is stunning and amazingly quiet.
All in all an amazing place.

SOME COMMENTS FROM OUR VISITORS BOOK
The skiing at Aix Les Thermes was fantastic.
We had a fantastic holiday at your beautiful house in Laurac. Everything was perfect and even better than we hoped. The pool area is beautiful and the terrace absolutely delightful. To sit out there on an evening watching the wildlife (highlights were golden eagles and a deer and fawn) and the stars later on, was a real treat. We had a superbly relaxing holiday and hope to visit it again in the future.
Paradise – no more needs to be said.
You have done a fantastic job and to stay in Laurac is a guaranteed cure for the cares of the World.
Thank you so much for the use of your beautiful home. Would love to come back. Very relaxed in a lovely area.
A really beautiful hide away. The ridge of the hill was spectacular for wild flowers.
The house we found to be most comfortable and relaxing. Kitchen was excellent. Splendid hot water in the bathrooms. Pool was most enjoyable.
What a wonderful house you have here in Laurac – a perfect haven for rest and relaxation; just what we all needed. We’re delighted to have found this treasure. Most of the fortnight has been spent enjoying the sunshine, the garden and pool and cooking at home.
We are having the most blissful time here. Everything is just perfect. We adore your house and especially the secret garden with the swimming pool.
This is an incredibly special place. The village, the pool, garden, the house just fantastic.

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