OutsideThe old winery is situated on the domaine at the end of a lane, and is more than ½ mile away from the nearest road. You can watch eagles soar above you or try to identify some of the many pretty birds on the domaine. By night the wild boar roam on the land. They are rarely seen, but leave their prints where they come down to drink from the streams and to forage for food in the undergrowth.
It stands on almost 2 acres of land, which include a pine forest where you can hunt for wild asparagus in the spring, gather wild thyme, sage and rosemary. In the heat of summer one can dine under the gazebo, or in the autumn try your hand at identifying the various mushrooms that appear. There is also our own small vineyard. There are many other quiet spots where you can enjoy a bottle of Corbieres wine and cheese. Within just three minutes walk you can find yourself completely in the wild – so you don’t need to get in the car to find a picnic spot where you can just ‘chill’. Our pine forest is partly wild, partly ‘controlled’ and asks to be explored. All this is just an easy step from your door! Explore even further and it gets wilder, although it is possible to walk through to the village of Thezan. For the more adventurous the terrain is extremely rugged and mainly uninhabited except for wildlife. The energetic can tackle the mountain.. Closer to home there is a good quality large gas-fired barbecue on the patio area. Charcoal barbecues are not allowed, and whilst smoking is permitted in this area, there are quite stringent French laws forbidding smoking and fires in or near the pine forest.
Right, The Pine Forest
The winery is surrounded by garden containing roses, oleander, fig, cyprus, and olive trees. Fresh herbs can be gathered on the surrounding land for making your barbecues just that little bit special! You will find that there are lots of little places on the land where you can sit quietly and unwind! In this respect, those who practise meditation are well catered for.
You are welcome to share our superb large in-ground pool, [11 x 5.5 metres], which enjoys the sun for the whole day! It is also heated, which benefits those wishing to take holidays outside the normal spring/summer seasons. The water treatment is by the latest saline methods, which leaves the skin feeling so much nicer and avoids all the unpleasant effects of standard chlorination. It is of constant 1.5 metre depth and has Roman steps for ease of access. It features an electronic security device, which complies with the recent French security legislation. Sun loungers are provided. The pool also offers magnificent views across the surrounding countryside.
There are tracks at the rear of the property for walks into mountains when the heat of the day has died down. If you are feeling less adventurous there is a high stone-walled and secluded courtyard containing the spring and stream, together with an original wine press and associated equipment. Here you can sit under the shade of the old tree and enjoy a glass of wine. You are also welcome to use our state of the art American spa, which will accommodate up to 5 adults. Sited in another secluded corner of the courtyard, in subdued light for the later evenings, the hydrotherapy jets will massage away the aches and muscular pains resulting from a hard day’s relaxation!
Food, supplies etc.
Thezan les Corbieres, our nearest village, is just 5 of minutes away by car. It has a bouledrome, tennis court, petrol station, boulangerie, small supermarket, a visiting hairdresser, estate agent, excellent pizza bar, bar/restaurant, post office, telephone and tabac. The bar restaurant does an excellent value menu du jour at €11.00, and is also open in the evenings. [We are well known to the proprietors, Martial and Marie-Claire, so a special welcome can be assured]. Thezan also has a very impressive tourist office serving both the village and the department. A link to the Thezan website is given on this site and it is well worth visiting as it gives additional information on the area and events taking place.
We are situated in the Corbieres region but within 30 to 45 minutes of the plentiful Mediterranean beaches with their water sports, which although very popular, still offer quieter parts for those ‘in the know’.
For new visitors to the area, this is an intensive wine-growing region with formally documented Routes des Vins. Chateaux and Domaines abound for the tastings and purchases of your choice. It is also Cathar country, steeped in rich and often violent history. Many of the old Cathar strongholds such as Peyrepeteuse, and Queribus remain. Set along the Routes des Cathares, they are within easy driving distance. and are well worth visiting. A little further afield, but easy for a day visit is Rennes le Chateau, which features in the recent docu-novel ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’... Or you could just drive into the ever changing scenery of the nearby mountains and hillsides. They are riddled with gorges and other interesting geography, and the roads remain unpopulated. The very popular mediaeval city of Lagrasse, with its monk-inhabited abbey is also nearby. If you should need it, river swimming is available at nearby Ribaute and other places. There are plentiful fishing, horse riding, walking and cycling facilities.
Finally, the ski slopes of the lower Pyrenees are also accessible on a daily basis, offering good low-cost facilities.
Shopping and eating
The nearest major towns are Narbonne and the fairytale city of Carcassone, used in the filming of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Both are within easy reach for exploration and shopping. Narbonne is the nearer of the two [about 15 miles] and has an excellent fish, meat and vegetable market daily, and an extensive weekly general market. Perpignan is about 45 minutes away, and the Spanish border and cross-border shopping facilities, 60 minutes away.
At the top end of the scale, there is within 15 minutes drive l'Auberge du Vieux Puits, [which this year (2010) is the only French restaurant to be awarded its 3rd Michelin star. However in addition to the local bar/restaurant, there are many other good quality, but less expensive restaurants in the surrounding villages of Lagrasse, Fabrezan and Lezignan [10 miles] which has two good supermarkets and a weekly market. Slightly further afield at Narbonne and Carcassonne and even Perpignan there is an even wider choice. From December through to March there are regular truffle markets in nearby Talairan. Throughout the year one can usually find markets specialising in gourmet regional foods such as foie gras, cheeses, pates, honey and all usually offer a good selection of wines to taste and even buy!
Access to the property by road is easy from the nearby autoroutes, or by air, particularly by Ryanair, into either Carcassonne or Perpignan, both about 45 minutes away. A little further afield, but still readily accessible are Nimes, Toulouse and Girona.
A further range of photographs can be found on the Chez Nous website, www.cheznous.com under the property reference 15353.
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