A winner of ITV's "May the Best House Win" , Le Pichet is a lovingly renovated, tastefully furnished home in a tranquil mountain hamlet at 800m above sea-level, nestling on the slopes of a wooded ridge beneath the Chateau de Mirabat, built by Charlemagne for its commanding views south towards the Spanish border. Le Pichet and its garden are west-facing, offering stunning mountain views and fabulous sunsets.
The house comfortably accommodates 7 people with reduced price options for 4 and 2 outside peak holiday periods- the prices published here are for the maximum number of people but please note that due due to recent changes wth the holidaylettngs advertsng system the reduced prices can no longer be publshed here, so please do not hesitate to contact us for details. The setting s superb for walking, cyclng ( we are n the middle of some of the Tour de France's most formidable cols, but there are plenty of gentler opportuntes!) ski-ing at Guzet (25k away), canoe/kayak and riding, and is ideally placed for exploring the cultural and historical wealth of the Ariege and Midi Pyrenees in general. We also offer painting/sculpture tuition and exclusive full board painting/sculpting holidays.
Leaving the Garbet (Valley of the Montreurs d'Ours) between Oust and Ercé, you follow a lane which twists and turns, always climbing, to its end – and there is Miramont, a little paradise on earth overlooking the Bassin d'Oust. Formerly devoted to agriculture, the hamlet consists today of eleven pretty, well-renovated barns and houses, where you will be sure of peace and quiet. As Miramont is situated at the end of the lane, there is no through traffic except for the occasional car going to a couple of houses further up the hamlet. Almost all of the houses are French-owned “maisons secondaires”; Miramont is an incredibly friendly little community but this in no way impinges on the privacy of individual properties.
It is impossible to do justice to this beautiful area, its changing seasons, and the wealth of activities and attractions it offers, within the photographs provided here; so please do contact us if you would like further ones relevent to any aspect of your stay.
|Size||Sleeps up to 7, 2 bedrooms|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms|
|Check in time:||16:00|
|Check out time:||10:00|
|Will consider||House swap, Long term lets (over 1 month)|
|Nearest Amenities||6 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Toulouse Blagnac 100 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||Some pets are welcome - please contact the owner, No smoking at this property|
|General||TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Furniture||2 Sofa beds, Double beds (2), Single beds (1), Dining seats for 7, Lounge seats for 7|
|Outdoors||Private garden, BBQ|
|Access||Parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
|Further details indoors|
"Le Pichet" is built, as are many houses in the region, partly into the hillside. It adjoins "La Carrette", the former farmhouse which we now also own. Lovingly restored over the past 20 years it retains as many of the original features as possible - the "pas de oiseaux" originally built for thatching purposes, and the beams of the old roof structure. It is tastefully and comfortably furnished, largely in oak, and Rodney's sculptures and paintings, together with Eleri's embroideries provide a personal and homely touch.
The house benefits from superb light, particularly in the afternoons and evenings in the downstairs dining room and upstairs rooms. The ground floor consists of a spacious dining room, bathroom and well equipped kitchen; a lovely oak staircase leads to the first floor consisting of two charming bedrooms and a light, high-ceilinged and spacious living room which can also serve as a bedroom if you wish.
Downstairs, a sofa, dresser, and log burner combine with the dining furniture to give a homely ambience to the dining room; the kitchen, in addition to its oven, microwave and fridge-freezer, has a food-mixer, juicer, raclette and fondue ( the region boasts an incredible number of wonderful cheeses.) The bathroom is a pleasant room for a relaxing bath -its attractive blue tiling is light and clear in summer, warm in winter. Upstairs, the lounge/extra bedroom contains sofa, armchair, canapé gigogne (which converts to 2 comfortable single beds-please note this is not a clic-clac but a traditional piece of French furniture) and a well stocked bookcase, both English and French. A large number of maps, walking guides and local information is also at your disposal. To one side of this, a delightful chalet style bedroom contains one double bed, cupboards and shelving; to the other a larger, beamed bedroom contains one double and one single bed, wardrobe and shelving. Up to 4 people can be accommodated at a reduced rate (generally £150-£250 less than the prices published here)in the chalet bedroom and living/bedroom, so please do ask if ths option is of interest..The second bedroom is in fact part of our adjoining house nextdoor, which we can offer or not depending on your requirements and budget... These rooms all look beyond the garden to the valley between Miramont and the pretty hamlet of Arrous, the wooded ridge of the Mirabat and beyond to the Col de la Core and the slopes of Mt.Valier - at dawn bathed pink in the early light of sunrise, with the smoke curling up from the chimneys of Arrous, and only the sound of birdsong, the stream gurgling below and cowbells. On a clear night, the sky scattered with a million sparkling stars is pure enchantment.
(Whilst being on several levels adds to the inherent charm of "le Pichet", it does mean that the house is not suitable for wheelchairs- in addition to the main staircase, there are gentle steps leading from the dining room to the kitchen on the ground floor, and upstairs between the lounge and the chalet bedroom.)
For further information about the property, the area, our painting/ sculpting courses, walking possibilities, please do contact us- we will be delighted to help.
|Further details outdoors|
The lovely west-facing garden is an idyllic place to relax and enjoy the view, with stunning sunsets over the mountains. Planted with roses, honeysuckle and clematis, it is a magical spot in all seasons; you are most welcome to use its abundant herbs in your cooking, and help yourselves to raspberries, rhubarb and salad when available. There is a shaded paved area ideal for preparing and enjoying your barbecue. Miramont has communal parking.
Please note, if you are coming with children, that the garden is not enclosed, however the hamlet is remarkably untroubled by traffic and children can also play in security in the meadows, woods and lane nearby. Neither can we boast a manicured lawn- this is a mountain hamlet and the surface is, inevitably, a little uneven.
Wood, electicity, taxe de sejour are included; sheets & towels, (£15 per person per week) and final cleaning (£50 for the 2 bedroom option, £40 for 1 bedroom ) are an extra.
Payment is made via the holiday-lettings booking system. A deposit of 25% will be charged on reservation, the balance to be paid 4 weeks before arrival. The damage deposit is requested by Holidaylettings at the same time as the balance and will be refunded after your stay.
During very high and high seasons, changeover day is Saturday, minimum stay 1 week . During mid and low seasons, weekend, short stays, and durations other than a week are very welcome and changeover day is flexible, so please let us know if you have special requirements. Please do contact us for further information and rates for shorter stays.
Arrival is 16.00h -19.00h; if later please contact us so that we can make arrangements to welcome you accordingly.
Departure time is 10.00h.
We try to ensure that we will be here to welcome you personally to"Le Pichet" and to be available to answer any questions you may have during your stay. However, due to commitments elsewhere there are inevitably times when we cannot do so, and in these instances we have an excellent couple who live in nearby Seix who will welcome you here on our behalf, and help and advise you if required, so you will be in very good hands.
The Haut Couserans is a geographically small area at the southern end of Ariege, bordering on Spain. Ariege itself is part of the huge administrative region of Midi Pyrenees which stretches far from here to the department of Lot in the North, and which is far too diverse to describe in its entirety here.
Miramont means “look up”, and from our garden you do, for your eye is irresistably drawn to the ridge on which stand the proud ruins of Charlemagne's Chateau de Mirabat. This itself means " look below",and again you do, from its heights to the valleys far below down which came the invading Moors…..............
With its majestic peaks soaring to the Spanish border (some of the wildest, most remote and unspoilt scenery of the Pyrenees) , and the gentler beauty of its lower wooded valleys and pastures, the Haut-Couserans of the Ariege- Pyrenees remains arguably one of France's best-kept secrets- a little-discovered, unspoilt gem tucked far away from the stresses of modern-day life. These 18 valleys converging on St Girons have a rich and varied heritage of which the locals are fiercely and justly proud. , and here you will find Miramont, a tiny hamlet nestling on the slopes overlooking the beautiful Garbet Valley.
Despite its unspoilt nature, the area is nevertheless very accessible, at 1h30 from Toulouse, and 2h from Lourdes and Carcassonne airports; and at 20k from St Girons it is within easy reach of the major road networks linking with the wealth of historic and cultural diversity of the department of Ariege and the wider Midi-Pyrenees in general.
Miramont is ideally placed for you to explore wherever your fancy takes you, whether this be in the form of the superb outdoor activities available, or a more leisurely excursions around sites of historical and cultural interest.
Walking is superb whatever your level, (we are close to the GR10, GR pays, Chemin de la Liberté and numerous walks to the Spanish border)and for those interested in the abundant and beautiful flowers and wildlife of the Ariege or its history, we can put you in touch with local specialists (we have several books on the subjects and there is a wonderful museum in St. Girons devoted to "Le Chemin de la Lberté)
Cycling?VTT - although this area provides some of the most challenging climbs of the Tour de France, it is also possible to find gentler routes along the valley bottoms- but you cannot get very far before encountering a hill! Mountain biking is becoming increasingly popular, with a number of new trails being opened up both in the Couserans and in the neighbouring area of Volvestre (about 30mins drive from St Girons)
Riding-there is an excellent Centre Equestre nearby, catering for beginners to dressage level, as well as wonderful hacking.
Watersports canoei/kayal/rafting in the Salat above Seix- the river sometimes hosts qualifiers for the French National Championships.
Lake and river angling in the Garbet, Ustou Arac and Salat valleys; and the Lacs de Bethmale and de L'Hers. Permits are very reasonable and can be bought online or at the local office de tourisme.
Skiing at the family-oriented resort of Guzet-Neige., the prettiest in the Pyrenees. Do not be taken in by it's relatively small size- its 40k of pistes contains a huge variety from the beginners secteur at Prat Mataou to the challenging blacks ( the most difficult in the Pyrenees) of the Freychet sector. There is a huge amount of off-piste, and a good snow park. Prices are reasonable compared to the Alps, we have an excellent ESF (with small class sizes) - and very few queues!
"Golf de l'Ariege" is about 1h's drive away.
Geology /culture/history and astronomy.
You can take a boat trip through some phenomenal underground caverns at the Riviere Souterraine de Labouiche near Foix. Beautiful Gallo-Roman St Lizier adjoining St Girons is a UNESCO site, while medieval Foix and its chateau is 1hr away. Numerous Cathar castles, the world-famous Grottes de Lombrives/Niaux and Tarascon's park of prehistoric art are all within a 2h radius, as are the Observatory of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (now accessible by cable car), Lourdes, Carcassonne and of course Toulouse, "La ville rose"
It is impossible to do justice to this beautiful area, its changing seasons, and the wealth of activities and attractions it offers, within the photographs provided; so please do contact us if you would like further ones, whether of different activities, different seasons, or "Le Pichet" itself and its immediate surroundings.
Locally, the pretty villages of Oust and Seix supply all needs. Both have small but well-stocked supermarkets, and we can particularly recommend the butchers in Oust and the bakers in both places. For those wishing to eat out, there is an excellent selection of restaurants specialising in regional cuisine - among which the "Bar du Garbet" in Oust is outstanding. The town of St.Girons, with a large selection of shops, supermarkets and restaurants, not to mention a gloriously colourful Saturday market, is 20k away.
The region excels in local cheeses and meats- in summer you can visit cheese-making demonstrations in the beautiful Bethmale valley, and in the Salat Valley children can enjoy watching donkeys being milked to produce the soap "lait d'anesse". Donkey hire is also available above Seix, and several local centres offer days or longer periods on horseback in the mountains.
Most attractions for children open at Easter through until the Toussaint holidays in late October/early November; and summer is obviously the season for festivities.
The transhumance (movement of animals to the high pastures) takes place on 3 consecutive weekends during late May/early June in 3 separate valleys- Massat, Biros/Bethnmale and Salat.. You can follow on foot, by car, bike or on horseback, and will be warmly welcomed - but please note that this is part of the agricultural life of the area, not a spectacle put on specifically for tourists.
The Tour de France passes close by every year during early July and we are placed right in the middle of some of its most notable Cols. This year -2015- it will come from Castillon over the Col-de la Core and down into Seix on 16th July (last time they hurtled through its narrow streets all the church bells were ringing, and the atmosphere was fantastic), before heading over to Massat.
August is a wonderfully colourful month- "Autrefois le Couserans" - a display of traditional agricultural customs- is a particularly joyous weekend festival in St Girons; The town also hosts "Le Festival de la Musique et des Danses", and "St Girons en fete" , wihich ends with a truly remarkable display of fireworks; St Lizier is the setting for " Les Nuits Gallo-Romains" and Foix the week-long festival-cum-son-et lumiere "Il y etait une fois...."
Everywhere villages are "en fete" and "Marchés Nocturnes abound; even small communities such as Oust and Seix put on wonderful displays of fireworks. There is a superb series of concerts in the beautiful Cathedral of St Lizier; and for those willing to travel further, the Cathedral of St Bertrand de Comminges. More energetically,you can take part in the Punjada- an annual shared French/Spanish picnic at the Port de Salau on on the Spanish border - the views are worth the 4 hour walk!
In winter, sporting activities are dominated by ski-ing at Guzet Neige. This family-orientated resort, known as the prettiest in the Pyrenees, contains a huge variety within its 40k of pistes- from the beginners area at Prat Matou through to the blacks on the Freychet secteur- the most difficult blacks in the Pyrenees. The off- piste is also excellent, there is a very good snow park, and a first-class ESF.