Townhouse | 2 bedrooms | sleeps 4
This charming village house is located near the church in a quiet corner of the pretty wine growing village of Padern not far from Tuchan and Cucugnan and under an hour from Perpignan airport, an hour and a half from Carcasonne, and only an hour and 45 minutes from Girona (Barcelona) airport.
Padern is a pretty medieval winegrowing village (pop. 200) on the banks of the river Verdouble, 10 minutes from the bustling village of Tuchan (shops, restaurants, pharmacy, outdoor pool etc) and just down the road from the famous Cathar castles of Queribus and Peyrepertuse.
It also has its own romantic castle that overlooks the stepped village; Chateau Roch, destroyed in the Middle Ages, rebuilt in the 17th century and once more a ruin. Particularly picturesque at sunset, it has been known as the 'gates of heaven' Padern has a small bar and is located on the Sentier Cathare, the famous long distance footpath that criss-crosses this sun drenched corner of the Languedoc. This beautiful area also takes in all the famous Cathar castles close by.
It is surrounded by vineyards and great wine is made in the village itself. Lovely restaurants are only a short drive away in either Tuchan or in the opposite direction, Cucugnan. A wonderful area for walking, cycling and horse riding. Padern is a lovely village on the Verdouble river and has great swimming close by.
|Size||Sleeps up to 4, 2 bedrooms|
|Will consider||Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest Amenities||8 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Perpignan (Nearest). Carcasonne. Or Girona (Barcel|
|Family friendly||Suitable for children over 5|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|General||Central heating, TV, CD player|
|Utilities||Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Double beds (2), Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 4|
The Languedoc-Roussillon region
The Corbières is one of the wildest areas of France with one of the lowest population densities. It is picturesque with wine growing areas alternating with garigue and mountainous countryside. It is located mainly in the Aude département and partly in the Pyrénées-Orientales département.
The River Aude borders the Corbières to the west and north. To the south is the River Agly and to the east the Mediterranean Sea. The highest point of the Corbières is the pic de Bugarach (1230 m). It stands far away from the nearby Pyrenees to have its own microclimate. The geology of Bugarach is notable. Its top layers are older than bottom ones. Bugarach is easily climbed: A classical route (called "voie de la fenêtre" referring to a big hole in a cliff) climbs the South face. One may walk down the easier route, to the North, to join the Col de Linas.
In certain climatic conditions clouds form above Bugarach in the form of halos. The mountain is also claimed to be so magnetic that aeroplanes never fly over it. This may help explain why the peak has become wound up in various mystical movements in the area and associated with the mystery of nearby Rennes-le-Château. According to various "mystics" in the area the peak is a landing site for UFOs. According to others it hides a great treasure, or a huge cavern. Yet others say that earth "waves" or "radiations" (whatever they are) are particularly potent on the top of Bugarach. Many people climb to peak to spend the night on the summit, in the hope of experiencing its mystical power. (At the turn of the Millennium the place was packed with mystics expecting to be airlifted away by UFOs and so miss the End of the World, but they walked down again the following day. A mixed blessing).
When the peak is covered in localised clouds the locals have a traditional saying: "When Bugarach has got his hat on, you should put your hat on too". Peyrepertuse. The château at Peyrepertuse dominates this area. It is visible for miles around. The name Peyrepertuse is derived from the Occitan version of pierre percée, "pierced rock". It is a Cathar castle built seamlessly onto the living rock. Even on the approach road from Duilhac it is not easy to see where the rock stops and the castle starts. The main part of the château, over 200m long, resembles the prow of a ship, running along the top of an 800m (2,600 ft) high crag. The pinnacle is so sheer that it appears inaccessible. In fact the climb from the car park to the castle is not difficult.
Corbières is the largest AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) in the Languedoc-Roussillon, encompassing a variety of soil types and microclimates. Wines from the region are as varied as the Terroir . The region also experiences widely varied winds. The dry vent Cers brings cold weather from the Northwest while the vent Marin brings warm, humid air from the Mediterranean Sea.
Corbieres Terroirs: Terroir de Montagne d'Alaric
This terroir is dominated by the Montagne d'Alaric, along the Aude valley between Narbonne and Carcassonne. On damp days, a halo of cloud sits on top of it and the locals say "Alaric is wearing his hat" (c/f Bugerach). The mountain is named after the Visigothic King Alaric II who fought the Franks in the 5th century. Local tradition has it that he left a huge treasure buried in the caves beneath the mountain. It is possible to drive up to the summit by a rocky track from Moux.
On the south-east slope, overlooking the Gorge du Congoust, is the ruined chapel of St Michel de Naruze. In dry years, pilgrims from surrounding villages came up here to pray for rain up until the 1940s . The valley below the chapel is full of wild flowers during the spring. Most of the villages in this terroir are on the N113 which running along the Aude valley from Lézignan to Carcassonne, parallel to the motorway.
Fontcouverte lies just off the N113. It has all you expect of a Corbieres village: a square with a fountain, a café, a church, and a château. A municipal open-air swimming pool is fed by a natural spring. Moux was the birthplace of the poet Henry Bataille (1872--1922). His tomb is surmounted by an interesting skeletal statue. Floure is another village tucked away off the N113. It also has its own poet: Gaston Bonheur (1923-1980). He founded a surrealist magazine, Choc, and was director of Paris-Match. His home was in the château, originally an abbey in the middle ages. It was converted to a house during the Renaissance. It is now a hotel and houses a restaurant called Le Poète Disparu (The Dead Poet)
Capendu is the largest village in this terroir. It is a circular village distinctive of the region and called a circulade. At the centre is a rock. On it stands the ruined choir of the 13th century chapel, all that remains of Capendu's medieval castle. The nineteenth-century church which replaced it can be seen to one side, making the village elliptical rather than circular.
Douzens is a village notable for its windmills. There is a museum of birds, butterflies and other insects here.
Corbiere Terroirs: Terroir de Serviès
This is a damp, fertile valley sheltered on the south and west sides by the Plateau de Lacamp and on the north by the Montagne d'Alaric. This is one of the few places in the Corbières where you are likely to see sheep. Vines have largely been replaced here by other crops, so the valley floor is a patchwork of different colours. Monze has a medieval packhorse bridge over the Bretonne on the outskirts of the village.
Mayronnes offers a "Sculpture walk" during most of July and August. The path through the garrigue is dotted with modern sculptures by local sculpturs; In June, there is an event called De Ferme En Ferme, (From Farm to Farm) organised by farmers in the Val de Dagne. You can sample local organic produce and join a picnic which includes a spit roasted ox. In Villar-en-Val, you can visit the 11th-century church which houses an exhibition on yet another local poet (Joseph Delteil, 1894 -1978) during the summer season. The Cistercian abbey of Sainte Marie de Rieunette is currently being restored. It is in a remote, wooded valley typical of the sites favoured by the Cistercians. At Rieux-en-Val there is a medieval footbridge, a few hundred yards off the D42. This is a popular film set.
Corbiere Terroirs: Terroir de Lagrasse
Things to See in the Languedoc:Historic Towns: Lagrasse
Lagrasse. Officially one of the most beautiful villages in France (Les Plus Beax Villages de France), Lagrasse is a small town at the confluence of two valleys. On one side of the river Orbieu is the town and on the other the abbey, linked by two bridges spanning the river. The cobbled market square with its covered central section hosts craft fairs, bric-a-brac sales, and produce markets during the summer. The town has become a centre for potters and artists and many of the medieval houses have been converted into studios and exhibition spaces.
It was built around an old Benedictine abbey dating from the time of Charlemagne. The town lies on the river Orbieu, in the Corbières (Aude département) about 30 minutes drive from both Narbonne and Carcassonne. The town, on one bank of the river, is linked by stone bridges to the abbey on the other bank. The abbey and the pretty village buildings have attracted a large foreign (largely English) community, along with painters, sculptors, potters and other artists.
Start from the 12th Century humped-back bridge that crosses the River Orbieu. Here you can see bathers and anglers in the deep river waters. Walk into the town centre to see the attractive Covered Market surounded by 14th - 16th century houses. Medieval streets run off in all directions, filled with art galleries, craft shops and restaurants - all there because of the passing tourist trade. Take a detour to the church, or carry on parallel to the river and the ruins of a defensive tower. Cross the foot bridge wich doubles as a small dam (which creates provides a place to swim in the Summer. Walk between the gardens and the Abbey and you will come out near the entrance to the Abbey. If you do not want to visit the Abbey, turn right. You might like to visit the extravagent cemetry, or just continue to the other side of the hump backed-bridge where you started.
Places to visit near Lagrasse:
medieval footbridge at Rieux en Val
The Château at Termés and the Château at Villerouge Termenès
The church at St Martin des Puits, with capitals dating from Merovingian times. The wall paintings look almost byzantine.
Sculpture walk at Mayronnes (April to August) - a countryside walk (2-3 hours). See art and sculpture from artists of the region.
Ribaute. There are waterfalls in the river at Ribaute. The river has been dammed by the local council to provide a pool for swimming, fishing and picnicking. A narrow stone bridge spans the gorge.
Fabrezan also has a place for swimming; broader and shallower than at Ribaute, better for those with children. The village has a broad, shady main street, decent good restaurants, a café, and shops, also a museum dedicated to Charles Cros, yet another local poet, but also notable as the inventor of the phonograph. The local winery takes its name from him. In August there is a '1900 weekend' which recreates Fabrezan as it was during the Belle Epoque. It features street stalls, demonstrations of vanished crafts such as blacksmithing and lacemaking, and dancing in the streets during the evening.
Camplong d'Aude lies on the flanks of the Montagne d'Alaric, set back from the main road. It has a village square which combines all the usual elements of a Midi village: the spring-fed fountain, a statue of Marianne, a #HYPERLINK "061412_symbols.htm"symbol of the French Republic and plane trees. There is also a stone clock tower over the gateway to the château.
Corbiere Terroirs: Terroir de Lézignan
Lézignan-Corbières has a long history. It is mentioned in a Carolingian document of 806, under its then name Licinianus. Today it is a market town, a focus not only for the Lézignan terroir but also the neighbouring Minervois. The Wednesday morning market invades the main street. Major road and rail links running along the northern part of the Corbières connect Lézignan with Carcassonne to the east and Narbonne to the west. Lézignan is known as the capital of the Corbières. Important local organisations (including the Cru Fitou) have their headquarters here. There is a tourist office on the main street (tel. 04 68 27 05 42).
In summer there is always something going on here, usually involving food, wine and outdoor music. At Whitsun there is a regional produce fair ("Promaude") at the aerodrome just outside town. In the autumn there is a week-long festival to celebrate the arrival of the new wine. The Maison Gibert holds art exhibitions throughout the year. Near the railway station, there is a museum of wine-making with displays of old wine-making equipment, clothes, photographs, and documents.
Conilhac-Corbières. Every weekend in November this community of about 600 people hosts to a jazz festival. The salle polyvalent (village hall) becomes a smoky jazz club. Afterwards, the action continues at the nearby 'Cave du Jazz'. You can get information and make bookings at the Mairie de Conilhac on +33 (0)4 68 27 08 15 and on the village web site.
Montbrun-des-Corbières, like so many other town and villages here, is built around the ruins of a château, perched on a rocky outcrop. A couple of kilometres away is the church of Notre-Dame de Colombier, an example of early Romanesque architecture dating from the 11th century. The belltower is 13th century. Legend has it that the Seigneur of Montbrun went off on crusade. On his return his now adult son failed to recognise him and set the dogs on him, mauling him to death. The son recognised the body the following morning and was stricken by remorse. At that moment a dove alighted on the spot so he built a chapel there. The chapel took its name from the event (Colomier means dove).
Escales is another village with an early Romanesque church. It has three apses, a large central one and a smaller one on each side. The altar is constructed from a first or second-century Roman sarcophagus.
Corbiere Terroirs: Terroir de Boutenac
Boutenac is not typical of the Corbières with its wooded hills of parasol pines. This is good wine growing country. The Château in the village of Boutenac is headquarters of the Cru Corbières. Around Boutenac and Gasparets, you will find many Corbières wines. It is this terroir in the Corbières to produce great wines.
In the hamlet of Gasparets near Boutenac, in a hall above the wine cave is a collection of stuffed animals, birds and insects.
Villerouge-la-Crémade is a hamlet on the road between Ferrals and Thézan. It is dominated by the ruins of castle, from which you can see a panoramic view over the countryside. Below, is a chapel, sited on a small mound. It dates to the 9th century. Inside are the fragmentary remains of wall paintings dating from the early 12th century.
Saint-Laurent de la Cabrerisse has a church with Visigothic carvings in the porch.
At Montseret you will find a major bee keeper. The honey here is richly flavoured with rosemary, thyme, and lavender.
Corbiere Terroirs: Terroir de Fontfroide
Narbonne. Narbonne was founded by the Romans in the second century BC, it became the capital of Southern Gaul. At the time it was a major port, although it now lies well inland.
Fontfroide Abbey. The Abbaye de Fontfroide was built in 1145, on the site of an earlier Benedictine foundation. It became one of the most important and richest Cistercian abbeys in the south.
Montredon-Corbières. Montredon-Corbières is a typical Corbières village just off the Route Nationale between Carcassonne and Narbonne.
Corbiere Terroirs: Terroir de Saint-Victor
This is a large and sparse terroir. Village here are isolated, generally, surrounded by vineyards. Wines from here are dark and intense, spicy with the scents of the garrigue.
The Hermitage of Saint-Victor. At 420m (1400 ft), this hermitage is the highest point for miles around. The view is spectacular with the Mediterranean Sea at Port-La Nouvelle visible on one side and the Pic de Canigou in the Pyrenees on the other. The tiny chapel, now half-ruined, was kept by monks from the Abbey at Fontfroide.
Fontjoncouse. In the village is a restaurant run by a Michelin-starred chef, Gilles Goujon.
Albas. In Albas you will find a Scottish winemaker, an anthropologist who called his estate 'Domaine des Pensées Sauvages', a reference to the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss.
Corbiere Terroirs: Terroir de Termenès
Vineyards here rise across slopes between 300 and 450m above sea-level - about the maximum that vines will produce decent wine. The name Termenès is derived from the Latin terminus, because it marked the limit of the early Roman cultivation. Villages are few in this terroir.
At Villerouge-Termenès a Cathar castle stands in the centre of the village. It has recently been restored. It offers an audio-visual exhibition telling the story of Guilhem Belibaste, the last known Cathar Parfait in the Languedoc to fall into the hands of the Inquisition. He was tricked into returning from Catalonia and burned alive here in 1321.In the summer season, Villerouge-Termenès hosts a popular three-day medieval festival, recreating the atmosphere of the village in the Cathar period. Information is available either from the castle itself (tel. 04 68 70 09 11), or from local tourist offices.
The Château at Termes (above right) is a ruined castle high above the modern village of Termes. Termes castle held out against Simon de Montfort for months in 1210, eventually succumbing for lack of water; Having come into the possession of the French kings later in the 13th century, it became one of the "five sons of Carcassonne", fortresses protecting the frontier with Aragon, (Queribus, Termes, Aguila, Peyrepertuse and Puilaurens). In the 17th century it was occupied by brigands who used it as a base from which to raid the surrounding country; Consequently, the authorities had it razed.
Château de Durfort, between Vignevieille and Montjoi.
Montgaillard a village on top of a rocky outcrop is said to be frequented by the mitouns (fairies and water nymphs).
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