Beautiful two bedroom house in idyllic garden setting close to Carcassonne.
Alex and Pipa Francis
- english, french, spanish
About Alex and Pipa Francis
We moved from London to France in 2003 with our six children and bought Clos des Archers in 2004. It has been a labour of love restoring this 19th century Maison de Maitre and the cottage and grounds. We work in the wine business and we wanted to be closer to our producers.
Alex and Pipa Francis purchased this Farmhouse in 2004
Why Alex and Pipa Francis chose Aigues-Vives
We were looking for a large family house and one which also offered the possibility of guest accommodation for friends and family. We fell in love with the lovely proportions of all the rooms, the space and quietness of the grounds and the huge potential of the house. We were looking for somewhere that was rural but not isolated and it is quite rare to find houses of this size in a village and with substantial outside space. Being just 20 minutes from Carcassonne is a big advantage.
What makes this Farmhouse unique
The orientation of the property is such that there is always a sunny and sheltered corner to be found throughout the day. The high walls (Cloister) provide privacy and shade when needed. The terraces are in full sun in the summer, as is the pool. Having proper lawn is also a great advantage for lying out in the sun while the house provides much needed shade on the north lawn for small children to play outside. The house and bedrooms never get too hot in the summer. The surrounding countryside is so beautiful,with many lovely walks and rides leading away from the village. Within a short drive you can be up in the mountains and lakes and streams or down at the coast. It is a really safe village and area for children and everyone looks out for each other.
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
Lovely break at a lovely cottage in a quiet French village
My wife and I, along with our 21-month-old daughter had a magical stay.
Pipa and Alex are the perfect hosts and are on hand should you need anything. The village is quiet (what we wanted) but there are larger towns with supermarkets et al a short drive away. Would recommend hiring bikes from Trèbes and cycling to Carcassone. Would very much recommend.
Wonderful week in Southern France
We stayed here as a family with two children. This property was ideal. The pool was great and there were plenty of activities to keep the children occupied, including collecting eggs from the chickens. The location of the property was in a small rural village which offered peace and quiet. There are plenty of amenities nearby and there is no shortage of places to visit. The owners were very accommodating and were always available to answer any questions and suggest things to do and places to visit. Overall, we were delighted with the property and would highly recommend to other families.
Charming cottage in idyllic countryside
Entering the property through the wooden door in the ivy-covered wall is like stepping into The Secret Garden, but less wild and with a swimming pool added. The cottage is beautifully restored with stone walls, wood-beamed ceilings and large windows, and surrounded by lovely flower beds and potted plants. There are plenty of places for a family to spread out: comfy sofas in the living room, patio table with umbrella and loungers by the pool - both of which are shaded by the garden walls until after lunch. After driving down from Paris, where we had worn ourselves out being tourists, we very much enjoyed being able to relax by the pool for a few days before heading out sightseeing. Although the days were very hot (we stayed in late July) the large windows and fans provided in the bedrooms enabled things to cool down at night for comfortable sleeping. The kitchen is adequately equipped with plates, pots, utensils, some essential cooking supplies, like olive oil, salt and pepper, and an easy to use (and fast!) induction cooktop. The washing machine in the kitchen is a great bonus and with a simple 'fast wash' setting we were able to do laundry and hang things to dry overnight most days.
Pipa and Alex could not have been more thoughtful hosts. They welcomed us with a bottle of wine, a tour of the cottage, and some dinner supplies since we had arrived in the evening after the local shops were closed. They advised us on where to buy groceries, the best beaches, towns and markets to visit: whatever we asked about they had an answer for and they offered help at every turn. For example, they provided us with a sun shade for a trip to the beach, a large picnic blanket, and sand tools for our children to use, and didn't mind at all that we took their towels to the beach.
The village location was ideal for us: quiet and off the beaten path, but also within striking distance of several popular tourist sites. We took day trips East to Nîmes and the Pont du Gard and West to Perpignan and the Pyrenees. Coming home to cool off with a dip in the pool was a perfect way to end the day!
Lovely house in beautiful rural setting with outstanding hosts
This lovely cottage is in a very small village not far from Carcassonne. So a chance to stay somewhere off the beaten track - away from tourist hot spots - but with great places to visit within easy driving distance. Alex and Pippa were super hosts - made us feel very at home. Some great suggestions of things to do and places to see which really made our holiday.
Spacious, family-friendly cottage with lovely hosts in beautiful Minervois wine country
This charming, comfortable cottage is perfect for a family, situated in the walled garden of the large family home, with a private pool (not used by the family when we were in), trampoline, DVDs, games - and chickens to feed! Alex and Pipa struck the perfect balance of being available for advice and chat about the area whilst also giving us space to enjoy our holiday. Access to their kitchen garden and free-range eggs was an added treat, as was the expert advice on wine! The village is within reasonable distance of a variety of fabulous places (caves, mountains, vineyards, historic towns, Canal du Midi), whilst the cottage and pool is a lovely haven when you want to escape the heat - or just relax. Highly recommended holiday home in a beautiful part of France.
Charming cottage with incredible hosts!
We were in France for a friends wedding and decided to turn it into a holiday as well and we were not disappointed. The cottage is very sweet and and remarkably spacious once you're inside. 2 bedrooms upstairs, with some fantastic wooden furniture in them, and an open plan living room kitchen downstairs. There was beautiful coffee in the kitchen when we arrived and some red wine too, which was very welcoming. From the outside the surrounding plants all look fantastic and give the cottage a very secret garden type feel. The swimming pool is too is terrific, and as we were there during a heatwave it's where we spent most of our time. The location is rural, however Carcassone is only a 20 minute drive away and Trèbes is even closer than that. The hosts as well are absolutely fantastic, Alex, Pippa, and their children were all very accommodating and were eager to help however they could, which was very much appreciated. Overall an absolutely superb stay, we would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet retreat with a swimming pool.
Thanks Robert, it was pleasure to have you to stay and thank you for looking after the cottage. Hope to see you and your friends again.
Clos des Archers is located just on the edge of the Etaing de Marseillette is one of France's hidden secrets and a site of special scientific interest for its rare flowers, animals, birds and plants. The beautiful area lies close to the canal du midi about 20 minutes from Carcassonne. Once an inland lake, today it is the site of a rich farming tradition with apple orchards, plums figs and cherries even rice and of course vineyards. Surrounded by the wild garrigue countryside the air is full of the scent of thyme and rosemary in the summer. It is a paradise for nature lovers, cyclists and walkers, especially suited for children. For those interested in wine there are many exciting wineries close by to discover. We are a short drive from the dramatic Black Mountains as well, and in winter only an hour and a half from the ski resorts of the Arriege.
There are many famous and historical sites close by, including some of the best Cathar country and castles. Many of the local villages and churches date back to the 12th century.
Places near by to visit would be the castles of Lastour; the amazing caves of Cabresprine; canoeing on the Aude; the ancient working watermill and paper mill in Brousse; The medieval city of Minerve and the extraordinary underground rivers, waterfalls and caves; Carcassonne la Cite.
There are daily markets in the surrounding villages and many local producers have farm shops. We can recommend where you should go to stock up on the very best and freshest local produce.