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Welcome to Cathar Country Houses and our home in Occitanie – Languedoc Roussillon & Midi-Pyrénées!
“Where the Mountains Meet the Sea”
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=””][vc_column 0=””][vc_column_text 0=””]Occitanie: Midi-Pyrénées – Languedoc Roussillon
If quality of life is at the top of your list of requirements, Occitanie – Where the Mountains Meet the Sea – is waiting for you to come home! From the warm colours characterizing the villages near Toulouse to the West, to the Mediterranean Beaches to the East, to the majestic Pyrénées mountains and unspoilt nature to the South – Occitanie welcomes you!
Discover Toulouse, the beautiful, bustling, historical capital of Midi-Pyrénées. Gers is known for its joie de vivre, the musketeer D’Artagnan (born not far from Auch), beautiful châteaux, antique markets, mediaeval villages, and gastronomic restaurants. Dotted around are typical French café terraces on a square with plane trees where jeu de boules is played. Ariège, in the south of the region, offers a panoramic view of the mountain ranges. The history of this département, bordering Catalonia and Andorra, was partly written by the Counts of Foix and the Cathars and Catharism. Valleys punctuated by villages which have retained all their charm, large ski areas, and nature reserves with a rich flora and fauna: a spectacular and authentic environment in which French traditions still thrive – long may it last!
If you like variety: sandy beaches stretching for miles, beautiful nature in the surrounding countryside, and the impressive mountain peaks of the Pyrénées and the Massif Central are the focal points of life in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The wide variety of landscapes are typical of this region, full of contrasts but always with plenty of sunshine!
Besides the rich landscape – carefully protected in numerous nature parks and reserves – the region is strewn with beautiful historic towns and countless picturesque villages. Some even feature on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Explore the capital of the region, Montpellier – a modern city with a historic centre – or visit the well-known cities of Nîmes and Carcassonne. Saunter through the narrow streets, enjoy the atmosphere on one of the many squares bustling with the local French population, or seek out a spot on a sunny terrace and enjoy a glass of wine for which this region – the most expansive wine region in the world – is so well known. From the Minervois to the Corbières to the Blanquette de Limoux… there is something for every palate to enjoy!
The unique thing about Languedoc Roussillon is that everything is within easy reach. Add in the sunshine, with the wine, the hospitality, and the delicious food … the good life in La Douce France can begin.
Here are just a few of the sites that are close to us here in Chalabre …
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=””][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3689″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_circle_2″ onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”http://www.tourisme-mirepoix.com/spip.php?page=sommaire”][vc_custom_heading text=”Mirepoix” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text 0=””]Situated in the heart of Cathar country, Mirepoix is the lively center of this part of the Aude / Ariège border. Originally a grain exchange during Roman times, the Mirepoix that you see today was rebuilt along the lines of a bastide town following the catastrophic flood of 1289 which destroyed the original settlement on the other side of the river l’Hers. The square has preserved its original medieval structure, with half timbered houses built over wooden arcades. The town is famous for the Maison des Consuls, the beams of which are carved with dozens of images of animals, monsters and caricatures of mediaeval professions and social groups. The cathedral St-Maurice has the widest Gothic arch in France, with a span of 22 metres.
Never a dull moment in Mirepoix, there are festivals during all seasons, including a medieval festival, an international puppet festival and an apple festival. The weekly Monday market should not be missed … you can find all kinds of stalls, from fruit, vegetables, spices and meat to clothes, jewelry and antiques. Enjoy![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5188″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_circle_2″ onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”http://www.tourisme-mirepoix.com/?LAC-DE-MONTBEL#.WgoI5rD81-U”][vc_custom_heading text=”Lac de Montbel & the Voie Verte” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text 0=””]Just over 5 km from Chalabre, is Lac Montbel, one of the region’s most famous and beautiful lakes. Sailing, swimming and other water sport facilities dot the shoreline of this pristine, man made, 570 hectare lake, voted as having the best inland beaches in the Ariège and Aude. Passing close to the lake and running right through Chalabre is the old repurposed railway line – the Voie Verte – a gorgeous pathway covering 40 km, with Chalabre at its centre. It is ideal for walks, mountain biking, horse riding or picnics near the trout filled flowing streams.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text 0=””][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”389″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_circle_2″ onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”http://www.tourism-carcassonne.co.uk/”][vc_custom_heading text=”Carcassonne & La Cité” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]The oldest traces of man – 6th century B.C.- were found on the promontory where the UNESCO world heritage cite – La Cité – lies. In 122 B.C., the Romans conquered Provènce and the Languedoc and fortified the oppidum – the walled city – which took the name of Carcaso, and occupied this region until the middle of the 5th century. The Visigoths then became the masters of Spain and the Languedoc and La Cité remained in their hands from 460 to 725 A.D. In the spring of 725, the Saracens took the Cité but were driven away in 759 by Pépin le Bref, king of the Franks. After the death of Charlemagne, the dismembering of the Empire gave birth to the feudal system and it was under the dynasty of the Trencavels, from 1082 to 1209, that the town began to gain tremendous influence. During this prosperous period, Catharism grew rapidly. Raymond Roger Trencavel, vicomte of Carcassonne (1194-1209) both tolerated and protected the heretics on his own lands. He suffered the first impact of the crusade preached by Pope Innocent III and on August 15th, 1209, after a two-week siege, it was all over. The Cité and the lands of Trencavel were first handed to the military commander of the crusade, Simon de Montfort, then to the King of France in 1224.
Today, La Citeé is the second most visited tourist destination in France, after the Eiffel tower. It boasts an incredible fifty-two towers and two enormous ramparts.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5175″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_circle_2″ onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/chateau-de-montsegur”][vc_custom_heading text=”Château de Montségur” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:center” use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.carcassonnebandb.com%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_column_text 0=””]The Château de Montségur is probably the best known of all Cathar Castles. It is famous as the last Cathar stronghold, which fell after a 10 month siege in 1244. A field below the hilltop castle is reputed to be the site where over 200 Cathars were burned alive, having refused to renounce their faith.
A building on this site sheltered a community of Cathar women at the end of the twelfth century. Early in the thirteenth, Raymond de Pereille the co-seigneur and Chatelain, was asked to make it defensible, anticipating the problems to come.
The present ruin is open to the public, as is a museum in the nearby modern village of Montségur.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]