Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2076: Montferrier and the Midi-Pyrenees
By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2013
Trip Description: We spent a cold and rather wet week based at Montferrier in May, visiting parts of Aude, Ariège and as far west as Haute Garonne.
Destinations: Countries - France; Regions/Cities - Pyrenees
Categories: Vacation Rentals; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People
Page 1 of 25: Background Information
Living arrea in our gîte at Barthale
We have spent two holidays in France, sailing with Brittany Ferries and taking our car. We had enjoyed the Auvergne and fancied getting further west into the Dordogne and south into the Midi-Pyrenees. This made us start to think about Northern Spain, an area we’ve not been before. Michael has been wanting to get into the Basque country for many years. We could use Brittany ferries to Bilbao, spend a few days in Spain and then slowly work our way north and catch the ferry back from Caen.
We began with a few days in the mountains of the Picos de Europa (Trip Report 2074) before moving east into Cantabria (Trip Report 2075). After that, we decided to spend a week in the Midi-Pyrenees near Foix, followed by a week near Sarlat-la-Canéda in the Dordogne (Trip Report 2077) before heading for home.
We chose May which avoided school holidays and we thought the weather would be warm, but not too hot. It had been a late spring and Navarra had been cold and damp. We left Navarra in torrential rain. As we climbed up over the Pyrenees, the cloud came down and so did the temperature, to 2˚. A snow plough and gritter passed us going the other way. By the time we reached Saint Girons, the rain was beginning to ease and the temperature had crept up a few degrees. This weather stayed with us all week. Instead of being too hot, we wished we had packed hat and gloves.
We booked accommodation through Brittany Ferries and chose a gite in Barthale. This is a small hamlet on the edge of Montferrier, which is just off the D117, about five miles south west of Lavelanet, which has a range of supermarkets. Montferrier has two small shops selling basic groceries and bread.
It was an attractive modern chalet style house with off road parking in front. The ground floor was open plan and very comfortably furnished with a well equipped kitchen. A staircase led up to a mezzanine with a sitting area and a door onto the balcony with views across to Montségur. On a warm summers day this would be a very pleasant place to relax.
Electric heaters provided background heat and there was a large open wood burning fire. We didn’t use this as we felt by the time we had got it lit and the place warm it would be time to go to bed!
We enjoyed the gite and the area, and found Montferrier to be a good base. It was just a shame the weather let us down. Mornings often started bright and clear but we could see the cloud come down on the top of Montségur as we ate our breakfast.
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