This special part of the South of France has something to offer everybody
A walker’s and cyclist’s paradise
From early spring until late autumn this area is a wonderful place to set out with just a map and a sense of adventure, and explore. You won’t be disappointed. Alternatively, we are very happy to provide you with all the information you need on different levels of walking and cycling routes in the locality (including some used in the Tour de France if you are feeling particularly adventurous!).
You are more than welcome to bring your own bikes, or we can put you in touch with Velomondo, a local cycle hire company who will deliver your bikes to our door.
Downhill and cross country skiing are just half an hour away
Bonnes Saisons is only a short drive from the nearest ski resorts of Camurac and Ax-les-Thermes, or Chioula and Beille for cross country skiing. These areas are good to visit in the summer too and the lift at Ax-les-Thermes is open to walkers.
Puivert is surrounded by pretty towns and villages to explore and there is something happening somewhere close by nearly all year round. A splendid example is nearby Limoux where the very first sparkling wines were created well before champagne was conceived and is still made today (many say they prefer its taste, not to mention price!). The town is also famous for having the longest carnival in the world from January to March every year!
There is always an opportunity to browse around a market
We can give you a list of local markets to visit during your stay, the one in the 13th century town of Mirepoix is well worth a visit. Having one of the finest surviving arcaded markets in France, it provides a lovely backdrop as you wander from stall to stall with the vendors encouraging you to sample all the different produce before you buy. And like many towns in the region, Mirepoix has a large choice of restaurants around the central square to tempt you for lunch once you have finished browsing and made your purchases!
For a complete change of scene, you can head to the coast
We are also just an hour and a half from the Balearic Sea (Mediterranean), so can recommend taking a day trip to one of the lovely beaches or seaside resorts such as Gruissan, Leucate, Canet-en-Rousillon and the beautiful Collioure, to enjoy a complete change of scenery whilst you are here. Alternatively, if you fancy a duty-free shopping spree, it’s well worth taking a day out to visit the tax haven and world’s only co-principality of Andorra which is only two hours’ drive away – but don’t forget your passport!
Or if you like your water with a little more Adrenaline!
For water sports lovers there is sailing, canoeing and pedalos on Lake Montbel, just twenty minutes away by car, plus more canoeing, kayaking and white water rafting a similar distance away at Quillan or slightly further out at Axat. For more of the same and the chance to get the adrenaline pumping even more by going hydrospeeding or canyoning, you can find facilities for this at Alet-les Bains. Staying with the daring theme, there is the high ropes course in the forests at Belesta or caving around Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet.
Enjoy history? You’ll love exploring the region of ‘The Great Heresy’
Denounced by The Catholic Church as not even being Christians, you will find this whole area is steeped in the amazing yet tragic Cathar history and you are well placed to visit many of the Cathar castle locations and places of interest. From the Château de Montségur in the west, our own at Puivert, then east to the Châteaux de Puilaurens, Arques, Peyrepertuse, Quéribus, Aguilar and north to Villerouge-Termenès and Carcassonne, then up to Lastours and finally Saissac. If you would prefer an organised trip to some of these sites, you should try those led by the British author James McDonald, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of ‘all things’ Cathar and its history in the Languedoc, and his ability to deliver it in an interesting and entertaining way, constantly gets top reviews on TripAdvisor.
If your historic interests include a little eccentricity
Then the UNESCO World Heritage site of Carcassonne and its historic cité is just over an hour’s drive away and is the second most visited attraction in France after the Eiffel Tower. It has been inhabited in one form or another since Neolithic times and the Cité de Carcassonne, a medieval fortress, was restored by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853 and gives an extraordinary sense of what it was once like. It is an enjoyable day out, lots of things to see and plenty of places to eat and drink but be aware that it can get very busy in the height of the season.
And your visit to France would not be complete without du vin!
We are fortunate to be in one of the biggest wine growing areas in France that includes Cabardès, Clape Quatourze, Corbières, Fitou, Limoux, Malepère, Minervois… the list just goes on, and are happy to give you information on the best vineyards to visit, or put you in touch with local companies who can arrange wine tours for you.