Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 5107: Owner, Chez Georges
2bed/2bath house near Limoux & Mirepoix, Pyrenees
May 2011, one week
The gite is on the edge of the tiny little village of Courtauly about equidistant between Limoux and Mirepoix. There are several other houses around the gite and the owners live next door. The village location is charming and rural with the sound of tractors, church bells, and crowing roosters.
We did have to drive out for groceries as there is no shop in the village but since we were driving out most days anyway this did not matter to us. The nearest larger supermarket, a Le Clerc, is in Limoux, a pleasant 20-30 minute drive away. In the opposite direction there is the charming medieval town of Mirepoix which, several times a week, hosts a wonderful street market selling fresh vegetables, fish, bread, meat and just about everything else one might desire in the edibles department including wine!
We didn't frequent any restaurants.
The building is a 19th century house which has been very pleasantly refurbished. Lots of exposed stone, tiled floors and large open space. The bedrooms were both of a good size. It was very quiet during the day and extremely quiet at night. This is the only rental unit on the site and, presumably, in the entire village.
We didn't use the outside space since it was pretty cool for the time of year but there is a very large, flat garden south (or west) facing, surrounded with trees and with views to the foothills of the Pyrenees. Just beyond the garden, through a gate, there is a small stream. There is also a table and chairs outside and a barbecue. All for sole use of the gite. No pool.
Since the refurbishment was in 2005, the furniture is all in good shape and good quality. There is a large dining table with lots of chairs and two arm chairs downstairs and a couple of couches upstairs. The owners even provide a laptop with high speed broadband for guests' use. Everything was very clean even the white couch covers! We found the house very comfortable.
The upstairs, main bedroom, is on a mezzanine off the living room and, therefore, not separated from it except by a flight of stairs and a three foot wall that gives onto the living room below. This was not an issue for us as there were only two of us but may be an issue for others.
We used the bedroom upstairs so can only vouch for the beds there which were found to be comfortable, if a little firm for him. Bed was made up of two twins which, unfortunately didn't zip-link or have one individual sheet so a gap did develop down the middle of the bed, not a big deal really. Both bedrooms were attractive and had plenty of storage space.
Two bathrooms, one downstairs with a shower cubicle and one upstairs with tub and shower over tub, both of a decent size, the downstairs shower-room being the smaller of the two; plenty of hot water and, if we needed it, heating. We were provided with heaps of towels and extra sheets, if needed.
The kitchen was part of the dining room, so open plan. Four burner stove-top, microwave convector oven and the other usual electrical appliances. Plenty of table ware and silver ware. Don't exactly remember the number of pots and pans but also don't remember having an issue with them so should think they were adequate.
We managed a number of full meals for two in the kitchen and also a number of heating stuff up meals and cheese and tomato meals. There is also a washing machine in a closet by the kitchen.
Problems or Bonuses
Surprise was the good size of the house and the absolute quiet at night.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners are Canadian and, luckily JP, with whom I dealt, has a sense of humour. We emailed back and forth quite a bit during the questions and answers part of the booking and, upon me telling him of an issue I'd had with a previous very bad rental, he did all he could to reassure me about the bathrooms right down to taking photos for me! How's that for service!
The owners make France and the village of Courtauly their permanent home so are on site if needed and are full of the good suggestions and advice that one can't get from an agency.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, definitely if we were to go to this area again, we'd stay here. Yes, would recommend to any and all friends to stay here.
Extra notes: obviously a car is needed for touring and shopping. If you are flying into Toulouse then picking up the car there is easy.
We also did not use the peage (toll road) instead opting for the freeways which were also low in traffic and passed through countryside and villages and towns on the way. It's a good idea to plan one's route from the airport using Google maps and street-view as it can be a bit confusing leaving the area if one is trying to avoid the toll road.
As we were arriving on a holiday weekend, we also shopped for some food at Blagnac Le Clerc hypermarket just outside Toulouse airport, this is an experience and destination in itself and well worth the visit for anyone who's not been to a French hypermarket complex!
Things to do in this area
Our favourite place was Mirepoix, we went there twice, once for the market which was fabulous and again on a quieter day just to look around. Mirepoix is a lovely medieval town with a town center 'place' full of colourful half timbered buildings, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and miscellaneous other little shops.
We also did a day trip to the walled city of Carcassone which is quite on the touristy side but interesting none the less.
A walk along the Canal du Midi was also pleasant.
We visited a monastery, several churches, a few castles ... plenty to do and see in the area.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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