Languedoc-Roussillon Holiday Accommodation in the Aude
The Languedoc Roussillon region just south of Toulouse in Southern France is an area of outstanding beauty and interest with a wealth of places to visit and enjoy including Carcassonne, Perpignan, Beziers and Montpellier the capital. Ideal for a holiday in the South of France.
Le Moulin sits just outside the little village of Issel which is about halfway between Castelnaudary and Revel and has easy access to the Mediterranean coast and the Pyrenees mountain range (Check out the map at the bottom of the page to see exactly where we are). Revel and Castelnaudary are about 15 minutes and 10 minutes’ drive away respectively and provide access to local amenities including restaurants, bars, shops and banks. Le Moulin is also conveniently situated ten minutes from the A61 auto route, and approximately 9 hours driving time from the Channel Ports.
Issel is listed below with several other places of interest in the area. Le Moulin is tucked into the woodlands that surround Issel where there are pleasant walks that can be accessed literally yards from the entrance to the property. If you prefer a guide for your walks this can be accommodated for the local area at a reasonable cost. But many of our guests have stated how perfect the location is for a do it yourself orienteering holiday or cycling holiday using the gite as a centre for exploring the area.
For the map of the region and directions to the accommodation click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.
The region is famous for “les Chateaux du pays Cathar” with local castles, towns and villages dating back over 800 years. Historic towns such as Revel, Mirepoix, Foix, Fanjeaux, Limoux and Castres can all be reached within 30-60 minutes as can the three noted wine regions of the area– Fitou, Corbieres, and Minervois. The nearest market town of Castelnaudary is famous for its cassoulet, which is served in almost every restaurant in town. Rick Stein of Padstow, Cornwall visited Castelnaudary when he traveled along the Canal du Midi exploring the local cuisine of the area and did the his bit to raise the profile of cassoulet when he ate it at a restaurant in the town. Be assured you will not have a shortage of tourist places to visit in France even if you just focus your holiday on this region.
Rennes Le Chateau of Da Vinci code fame is about an hour and twenty minutes drive via Limoux and is well worth a visit, anyone interested in the Knights Templar will be spoilt for choice of the places to visit in this region which is steeped in the history from that period.
There are two lakes – le Lac de la Ganguise and the Lac de St Ferreol within 20 minutes of Le Moulin, both have beaches and various activities for all ages, including walking, sailing and (at St Ferreol) pedaloes, mini-golf and an aquazone. Full size golf courses are available at Carcassonne, Mazamet and near Toulouse. Mazamet is also close to the Black Mountains (La Montagne Noire) to the north east of us, while the Pyrenees are about an hour to the south. Both regions provide the opportunity to take walks of varying degrees of difficulty and also offer much to the cyclist.
The Pyrenees hosts a number of ski resorts which can be reached in a little over an hour from Le Moulin during the winter months and Axe le Therme offers facilities for all levels of skier and is an attractive place to visit at any time of the year or if you are interested in learning to ski, its never too late.
Issel is our nearest village, it is approximately 15 minutes walk from Le Moulin and has a history from the Cathar period when it used to be home to one of the Templar Knights.
These days it is a very nice place to take an afternoon stroll and can be reached via the wooded pathways leading out of Le Moulin. Once there you can enjoy magnificent views of the Pyrenees from the edge of the village and wander through the streets around the church to get a look at the local architecture.
For more information you can visit my article on Issel- Languedoc Rousillon where there is a little bit of the history of the village and it's church.
The medieval city of Carcassonne, with its walled towers, is designated a World Heritage Site.
It is only a short drive to the south east and has daily displays of jousting in the summer months. Inside the walls of ‘La Cite’, visitors find a self contained town with museums, churches and good restaurants along the narrow, meandering streets.
There is a festival held in the city throughout the months of July and August, the highlight of which is its Bastille Day (14th July) firework display that is reported to be amongst the best in France. So many things go on during the festival, big name musicians play in the castle, there are art exhibitions, theater, cultural exhibitions and much more.
As is the case in many places of interest in France, there is normally no entrance fee so adults and children can enter and explore the castle without the need for a second mortgage, you do have to pay to go into the central keep however.
Castelnaudary is a vibrant little working town and local tourist attraction; it sits on the Canal Du Midi and boasts a nice little harbour for the boats that pass up and down the Canal. The recently restored 'Corn Exchange' in the centre of town adds to its charm and it remains busy all year around as it is not totally reliant on tourism for its life blood.
On the last weekend in August, Castelnaudary holds its annual Fête du Cassoulet, now a 4-day festival dedicated to the town's most famous creation.
You can find out all about the history of Castelnaudary in the The Lauragais Story a French History Book available on Amazon in Kindle format.
The Canal du Midi (also a World Heritage Site) runs through Castelnaudary, and passes only ten minutes drive away from Le Moulin.
The canal plays host to a number of restaurants and is ideal for cycling along the tow path, bicycles can be hired locally at a reasonable cost,
You can get boat trips from the quay in Castelnaudary that go along the Canal in the afternoons during the summer season; the trips typically last about 2 hours but there are other options which you can inquire about.
Note: if you purchase 'The Lauragais Story' via my link, I earn a commission from Amazon, just so you know.
Mirepoix is a medieval city 45 minutes by car to the south, it has a lovely square that hosts a number of shops, restaurants and bars and is a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon or to have an evening meal. Mirepoix has been a firm favourite of many of our guests, especially when they visit on market day.
You have to remember to look up in Mirepoix so that you do not miss the carved wooden heads that adorn one of the old buildings that make up the square.
Saint Felix is a lovely little town situated on a hill top in the Haute Garonne department of the Midi-Pyrenees. Its location affords it some wonderful views across the French countryside into the Languedoc Roussillon region where the Pyrenees act as a fabulous backdrop to the already impressive views.
The town makes the most of this position and has built a 'table de orientation' at the edge of town where you have the best views and it is close to the 'Chateau de Saint Felix Lauragais' which was built in the 13th century and is now a privately owned property listed as a 'monument historique'.
Drop back down the hill from St Felixe and you will see signs to the Lac de Lenclas where you will find a small restaurant, fishing lake and children's play park. A lovely place to visit for a stroll around the lake, to sit and have a picnic or just to relax while the children play in the park.
Located on the banks of the River Agout, Castres was a stopping place for the Arles pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella or the Way of St James as it is known in England. At the foot of the Montagne Noire range it is not a typical tourist destination, but several of our previous guests have commented on how nice a place it was to visit.
Also if you are into nature you are only a stone’s throw from the High Languedoc National Park where you can find some extraordinary landscapes in the form of the Sidobre, a large expanse of granite rock.
The popular city of Toulouse can be reached in around 50 minutes by car and is well-served by cheap flights from the UK. It is a beautiful and lively city well worth visiting at any time of the year; it has many interesting old buildings, a vibrant atmosphere and excellent shopping facilities.
There are lots of local markets to visit during your stay. Mirepoix holds its market on a Monday with lots of craft items as well as the usual fruit and vegetables. Castelnaudary’s own very good market is also on Monday. Of our other local towns, Villefranche (towards Toulouse) has its market on Fridays, Revel's is on Saturdays and has been described as having the best food market in the area, also Carcassonne has markets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
For a little more detail about some of the local markets and other amenities please visit the Best French Food Markets or alternatively you may be interested in going and having a look at a Vide Grenier where you will find all manner of peculiarities and French antiques or 'Brocante' as the French say.
To fully enjoy the area it is recommended that, if flying or traveling by train, a hire car is rented for easy access to the many local amenities described.
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