Those who visit the Medieval Cité of Carcassonne for the first time are amazed by its magical look.
Within the walls there are narrow streets, with shops and restaurants, and the ramparts provide you with a breath-taking view of the city and its surroundings. On the 14th of July the Cité lights up with an amazing fireworks show.
The Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 1997.
There are many sights to be seen from the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire to the little streets and shops. One can also take the little train, or a horse drawn carriage for a sightseeing tour of the Medieval City and ramparts. It is a wonderful city to explore on foot; there is always something new to discover.
Throughout the year Carcassonne hosts a number of cultural events from music festivals to theater and Opera. Festival de Carcassonne is one of the major cultural summer events of Southern France.
The Canal du Midi was built between 1667 and 1694 and it is a 360-km network of waterways linking the Atlantic to the Mediterranean through 328 structures of locks, bridges and aquaducts.
Some of our favorite villages along the canal are Le Somail and Homps, where it is nice to sit at the bank of the canal, in one of the cafes or restaurants, and enjoy all the boats that go by. If you like books, Le Somail has a nice Antique & 2nd-hand bookstore.
You can enjoy the natural beauty of the Canal du Midi in many different ways. There are boats that can take you on a little trip on the Canal du Midi. It's also a wonderful place to go cycling, and we can reserve bikes for you in Homps. Walking along its shores is also wonderful.
Our region is called" Pays Cathare"- land of the Cathars.
The turbulent Cathar period lasted about a hundred years (1165 - 1271). And it's history has left its mark on the Languedoc, and you can still visit many of the Cathar Castles. Some of them are restored and some are just beautiful ruins. The castles are usually remote, so they will offer magnificent views.
Well known Cathar Castles are Peyrepertuse and Queribus, Lastours, Villerouge-Termenès, Aguilar, Saissac, & Arques.
Peyrepertuse and Queribus are one of the most beautiful Cathar castles and are about an hour and twenty minutes from Maison Allène. A beautiful scenic drive connects these 2 castles.
At Lastours you can hike on foot to 4 castles over an adapted walkway, or view them from a distance, where you drive up by car and then go for a little walk to see the castles from a viewpoint.
There are many Abbeys to visit in the area like the abbeys of Lagrasse, Caunes- Minervois and l'Abbaye de Fontfroide.
Fontfroide is a 12th century Abbey, and is privately owned, and has been beautifully restored. It offers a glimpse of medieval monastic life. The Abbey has a beautiful rose garden. There is also a marked trail through the surrounding countryside, and wine tasting is available in the abbey cellars.
In the centre of Caunes-Minervois is a stunning Benedictine abbey, built on Roman foundations that is well worth a visit. The locally mined red marble is used throughout the interior of the abbey.
Lagrasse Sainte Marie d’Orbieu Abbey was founded in the 8th century. Today you can visit the two parts of the abbey separately: the older part, medieval, and owned by the Conseil Général and the more recent part, the property of the religious community of the Chanoines Réguliers.
With so many beautiful towns and villages surrounding us, we made a small selection of places that might interest you.
Narbonne is a nice town with shopping streets, monuments and museums, around the 13th century Cathedral and town square. It has a canal, numerous shops, cafes and restaurants and"Les Halles" market is also worth a visit.
Lagrasse is famed for its Abbey (founded in 799), Medieval houses, streets and a 12th century hump backed bridge. The village is now home to numerous pottery workers and artists.
Minerve is perched over two rivers, and is surrounded by deep gorges. During the Middle Ages, this town was a refuge for the Cathar heretics. The river Cessiere tunnels under a hill, next to the village and one can, if the water's not too high, walk through this tunnel.
Gruissan is a little village along the coast. You can visit "Tour Barberousse" with remains of a castle built at the end of the 10th century. The tour offers an amazing view of the area. Something else unique is the salt farm of Gruissan, where you can also eat fresh oysters overlooking the salt pans.
Discovering the regional and local wines completes or starts your visit to the beautiful Languedoc region.
The history of wine in this region dates back to Roman times. The vineyards of Corbières and Minervois surround Lézignan-Corbières. The large range of terroir and vine varieties, creates a wonderful diversity of wine styles.
Self Drive Wine Tour:
This tour will take you through to rolling hills of the Corbières. You can visit a wide range of wineries, while some have been winemakers for 6 generations. We will provide you with our itinerary of 'hand picked' wineries.
Sit back and relax wine tour:
This tour takes you on a day of winetasting in the region. You will go with a wine expert, who will drive you from one winery to another. Contact us for more information and availability for this tour.
There are many things you can do with children of all ages in this area.
For example Carcassonne is a fascinating place for young and old.
The Réserve Africaine de Sigean is a beautiful Safari Park of 300 hectares near Sigean. The animals are kept in their natural habitat. You can take a tour by car and after this, you can go on a foot safari.
Many kids will enjoy a ride along the Canal du Midi on a bike, build a sand castle on the beach, or jump in one of the many lakes to cool off.
Older kids will enjoy the karting circuit near Carcassonne or a visit to "Lac de la Cavayere" near Carcassonne, which is a great spot to swim, or to enjoy the acrobatic survival track, zipline across the lake.
Indoor skydiving is fun for all ages and you can experience this in Lézignan.
There are also several spectacular caves to explore, guaranteed to cool you off, during the warm Languedoc summer.
The Mediterranean climate of long summers make the Languedoc a perfect place for many different kinds of outdoor activities, like cycling, walking & watersports.
"Lac de Jouarres" is a lake close to our B&B near Homps. Here you can relax on the grass or pebble "beach" or go canoeing, windsurfing or swimming.
If you would like to go cycling along the Canal du Midi you can rent bikes in Homps. The local valleys and hills are perfect for cycling.
You will also find many trails for walking and hiking. These include coastal paths, mountain tracks, and walks through valleys, vineyards, and ancient villages. One of our favorite walks is a 45 minute nature walk around the lagoon in Peyriac. You will start out on the board walk, that takes you to the other side of the lagoon and back. Canoeing in Puicheric is a wonderful experience for young and old. The little rivers take you along the beautiful scenery which you can enjoy, since the water is usually shallow and peaceful.
The Languedoc coast is characterised by long sandy beaches, with plenty of space to stretch out onto, even during the summer season.
The Beaches of Narbonne and Gruissan are the closest to our B&B.
A beautiful drive through the nature reserve "La Clape" takes you to these beaches. Along the way you can also go wine tasting, at several wineries close to the coast.
A little more South you will find the beaches of Leucate and La Franqui. If you like Kite surfing or Windsurfing this is the place to be. It is also possible to rent a boat in Port-Leucate, even without a permit, and enjoy the coastline as seen from the sea.
Ribaute is a small village close to our B&B. Here you can cool of in a little river or relax on the rocks next to it. It is a local favorite and you will find many friends and families here, during the summer.
"Lac de Jouarres" is a lake close to our B&B, near Homps. Here you can relax on the grass, or pebble "beach", or you can go canoeing, windsurfing or swimming.
The sea, soil and the sun of the Languedoc provide an environment for delicious delicacies.
Besides the endless vinyards you also see many olive trees in the Languedoc. If you would like to taste olives and olive oils and learn more about them, the Coopérative "L'Oulibo" in Bize-Minervois is a great place to go. You have to try the Lucques olives, a variety only cultivated in the Languedoc. If you take the l'Oulibo tour, you will learn everything about olives and olive trees. The tour is followed by a tasting. The tour is also offered in English during the high season.
The Languedoc is the place to be for Oyster lovers. When you drive along the coast you will see many oyster beds. Oysters are farmed off the coast of Gruissan, Leucate and the town of Bouzigues.You can enjoy the oysters and other seafood at many restaurants, but you can also buy them directly from oyster farmers in Leucate.
The Sun and the Sea provide the perfect base for the salt from "Le Salin de l’île Saint Martin". Saint Martin's Saltern extends over 400 hectares right at the edge of the town of Gruissan. You can enjoy a lunch at one of our favorite restaurants "La Cambuse du Saunier" where you can eat fish baked in salt from the salt farm.