The Lodge is a beautifully appointed gîte set on the outskirts of Gaudiès, a picturesque village with an idyllic spot on the L'Hers river and uninterrupted views to the Pyrénées mountains beyond. We are an hour's drive from both Toulouse and Carcassonne airport.
The Lodge sleeps four and has two large bedrooms (both en-suite). The rooms can be configured to suit your needs (twins, doubles, etc). You have uninterrupted views to the Pyrénées from the front of the property and the château and village of Gaudiès to the rear.
The ground floor is open plan and you'll walk into a cosy yet spacious lounge with TV, Bose music system and a wood burning stove. A french farmhouse table, oak beams and shelving give the living area a rustic feel and a modern kitchen is very well equipped with high quality appliances.
Kitchen - induction hob, separate oven, dishwasher, fridge freezer, washing machine, coffee making machine, kettle, toaster.
Media - Wifi, Sony TV, Bose music system, DVD player, DVD library.
The Lodge is attached to the main house. Outside and adjacent to the property, you can enjoy your own terrace with BBQ, seating and dining area; the views to the Pyrénées are breathtaking and at the end of the day, you can sit back and watch the sunset with a glass of your favourite 'apero'.
Our salt water swimming pool is open from May to September and we have six acres of land surrounding the property which you are very welcome to use and enjoy.
There are plenty of tranquil spots where you can rest and relax with hammocks and benches dotted around the garden giving you peace and quiet to read or snooze. For younger guests, we also have, badminton, swings, football pitch, pétanque, table tennis and lots of space to charge around!
You are free to pick produce from our organic kitchen garden and collect delicious organic plums and walnuts from the numerous trees around the garden.
A stream meanders through the garden and its tranquil setting makes the Lodge and its surroundings a haven for wildlife. Numerous species of raptor circle the property and kingfishers, nuthatches and tree creepers can be seen at the property all year round and golden orioles, hoopoe and nightingales are regular visitors during the summer months. Our 'laughing frogs' (they need to be heard to be believed) are resident for much of the summer and provide great entertainment for guests young and old.
The Lodge also forms part of a cycling business we run (Zero Neuf) and the riding in the Ariège and its neighbouring department of the Aude is quite simply breathtaking. Inspite of several recent visits to the area by the Tour de France, the region remains relatively undiscovered as a cycling destination. There is a real sense of wilderness and escapism when the area is explored by bike; quiet roads are punctuated only by the sound of birdsong, the rolling of your tyres and the shifting of gears.
The terrain is varied and there is an abundance of routes to keep even the most eager of cyclists happy.
If you have children who enjoy cycling, the area is a great place for them to build confidence and improve ability. From outside the Lodge you have quiet roads and varied terrain both on and off road. We are very happy to advise you about routes.
WALKING & HIKING
There is an abundance of walking and hiking on our door step and you're only a short drive from the high mountains where marked trails lead to top grade trout streams, gorgeous glacial lakes and a huge array of wildlife. You will find a number of detailed 'randonnées' maps at the Lodge and we can recommend a number of excellent routes from the front door.
Our salt water swimming pool is open from May to September and if you enjoy open water swimming, the L'Hers river passes by the bottom of our garden. The rivers of the region provide excellent kayaking and there are several lakes within an hour of the property where you can windsurf and sail. Lac Montbel is the largest of these and it has excellent facilities but we favour Lac de la Gangues for windsurfing.
The Lodge is open all year round and for winter sports enthusiasts, you are an hour from the ski slopes. You have several resorts to chose from but Ax-Les-Thermes is the largest and it has become our resort of choice. It has a modern lift system, well marked pistes and a number of excellent mountain restaurants. There is also plenty of terrain to choose from with green and black slopes and everything in between and for the more adventurous, off-piste skiing with local guides is available. Several resorts also offer excellent cross country skiing and Plateau de Beille is a renowned area and a favourite amongst locals.
The Lodge is just over an hour from Narbonne and from here you can access a number of terrific spots along the Mediterranean coast; Collioure and Leucate are amongst our favourites.
OUT AND ABOUT
The area is known for its wonderful medieval 'bastide' towns such as Mirepoix and Revel and picturesque villages such as Camon, famed for its roses, and Belesta, which sits at the foot of the climb up to the magnificent Château de Montségur. The city of Toulouse is under an hour away and it is one of our favourite places to visit; a cosmopolitan mix of narrow medieval streets, excellent restaurants & bars, top class rugby and football and of course the wonderful Place du Capitole. Carcassonne, a world UNESCO site is also a short drive away and a must see. This walled city, a famous stronghold of the local Cathars during the Albigensian Crusades, is an unbelievable feat of human endurance and a spectacular sight.
One of the great pleasures of holidaying in France is the abundance of excellent food and drink and the Ariège is no exception! The Lodge is a short drive from a number of excellent restaurants and the region is renowned for several delicious dishes such as 'Confit de Canard', 'Cassoulet' and 'L'Azinat'.
Summer night markets are increasingly popular and the weekly Friday evening trip to the village of Leran has become a staple of our holiday season. You can soak up the relaxed and informal atmosphere and enjoy a brilliant night of live music and excellent local food and wine sat amongst locals on long trestle tables.
We are close to several excellent wine regions such as Minervois, Gaillac, Fonton and Corbieres and no trip to France would be complete without cheese! Moulis, Bethmale, Bamalous and Rogallais are just a small taste of what awaits! There are many artisans in the region producing excellent ice cream, honey, cheese and craft beers using traditional methods. We are very happy to recommend places to eat, drink and sample our local fare, please just ask!