Explore La Liviniere from La Souqueto B&B

Explore the remarkable landscape of La Liviniere Cru from La Souqueto B&B. It was the first Cru to be recognized in the Languedoc in 1999, thanks to the enthusiasm of Maurice Piccinini and Roger Piquet, pioneers of the revolution in quality. This AOC is found at the heart of the Minervois area where six villages are included in this scope of territory: La Liviniere, Siran, Felines-Minervois, Cesseras, Azille, and Azillanet.

To the extreme south of the Massif Central, the great limestone plateau of the Causse de Minerve is the bedrock of the La Liviniere terroir. A melting pot of minerals, with its mix of schist, sandstone, quartz, marble, limestone, sand and clay. With over 350 hectares of vines perched from 80 to 300 meters high, scattered in the garrigue and the woods, on terraces embedded into the hills, and bordered with small drystone walls. The sunny nature of the red wines of La Liviniere is tempered by the breezes that sweep down from the plateau at night. This combination gives the wine a feeling of elegance, the coolness, and sweetness to the tannins in the wines of Cru. Forty-two winemakers and two cooperative wineries with the palette of grape varieties, Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan.

Each year La Souqueto B&B organizes a series of bespoke wine tours and walks for guests staying at our award-winning Chambre D’hotes. We continue to explore and find off the beaten track and usually small domains where owners are prepared to take time to enthusiastically present their wines. We combine visits to domains with meals at local wonderful restaurants. Please contact us directly for your bespoke wine tour.

 

Restaurants in the Languedoc…

Its been hard work, but someone has to do it! At La Souqueto B&B we’ve taken a little time to seek out some of best restaurants in the Languedoc. We hope that this group of mouth watering purveyors of cuisine give potential guests another reason for wanting to visit this rich and vibrant region in south western France. For our current guests, we hope it provides a useful reference for you to help plan your stay at La Souqueto B&B. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

1. Relais Chantovent – Minerve:  Tel: 04 68 91 14 18 – www.relasischantovent-minerve.fr

This wonderful restaurant gets a very big thumbs-up from us for location, quality and price. Its situated in the medieval village of Minerve, less than half an hour from La Souqueto B&B. This is a must visit Michelin* establishment with the most wonderful fresh,local ingredients with prices starting at 25 Euros per head. The whole experience is made more dramatic by a terrace that is cantilevered out over one of the gorges that surround this stunning village, an important Cathar strong hold.

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2. La Table – Assignan: Tel. 0467243495 – www.chateaucastigno.com

The village of Assignan is just 30 mins from La Souquet B&B. The Chateau and many properties within the village have been bought and re developed by a very rich Belgium family, to form a culinary and wine destination. There are three restaurants in the village, La Table, Le petit table and Le Thai Castigno. La Table, featured below, is a truly outstanding restaurant. It has recently won a Michelin * for its complete culinary experience. Melanie and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary at La Table last year. It is ‘fine dining’ at its best,  rather expensive but you will never forget your visit! Two outstanding chefs create mouth watering food in a Belgium meets France style.

Should you wish to have a more down to earth Plats du jours, Le Petit Table (04 67 24 31 49) situated in the village square is really nice and is open throughout the summer season. We often cycle to Assignan to Le Petit Table for lunch from La Souqueto B&B using our electric bikes (available for rent) or drive up and take a circular walk returning for lunch. Finally, Le Thai Castigno (04 67 25 29 07) is also situated in the village square.

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 3. Lo Cagarol – Tel. 04 68 27 84 22

We love Lo Cagarol restaurant! It’s situated in the Medieval village of Aigne, just 15 mins from La Souqueto B&B by car or 40 minutes by our electric bikes!! Plats du jours is from 16 euros per head including wine and every time we visit we are wowed by the quality of the chef/owners classic French cuisine. Lo Cagarol is open throughout the year! Don’t forget to take time to visit the centre of the village. Take the small internal archway and you will be taken back in time!

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4. Auberge de la Croisade – Tel. 04 67 89 36 36

 

Auberge de la Croisade is a magnificent classic French restaurant in the Languedoc. It’s dining at its finest! Situated on the banks of the Canal du midi, just 10 mins from La Souqueto B&B by car, this is also one of six destinations that we offer a Taxi service by our classic mahogany cruiser, Bella Mia. It takes 1.5 hours by canal to reach the restaurant. Plenty of time to enjoy a bottle of the local Minervois wine. The images of the food clearly show the superb presentation!

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5. Auberge La Selette – Tel. 04 68 46 28 64 – www.laselette.fr

Auberge la Selette is situated on the Cabezac road less than 10 mins from La Souqueto B&B. Its high;y regarded by the locals…it remains open throughout the year too! Its well known for its Oysters, Prawns and foie gras and the menu extends to duck, mouth watering steaks and lamb shank. Friday is a fish and chips day! Menu du jour is 16.50 euros.

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6. La Cave – La Caunette – Tel. 04 68 91 31 98

La Cave is another stand out restaurant in the Languedoc. It is based in a stunning village called La Caunette, 20 mins from La Souqueto B&B. This Michelin listed restaurant, owned by three sisters, has earned many awards over the years for its culinary excellence. We have personally experienced the plats du jour, the main evening and weekend menus and found them to be excellent quality and cost effective.

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7. Les Platanes – Poiles. Tel. 04 67 93 38 41

 

Les Platanes is situated in the middle of a beautiful canal side village called Poilhes (pronounced Poys). Its under half an hour from La Souqueto B&B towards Beziers. It’s a classic looking French restaurant in the Languedoc, owned by a couple originally from New Zealand. The menu is always interesting and diverse. We have spent many long lunches and evening meals relaxing under the huge Plane tree in the outside dining area. La Souqueto B&B also offer a day return trip to Les Platanes. It makes for a great day out!

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La Souqueto B&B. A very successful 2019 season.

It’s fair to say that 2019 has been another successful season for La Souqueto B&B.

We do not measure our success by income but, by the number of wonderful and thoroughly interesting International guests that visit and use La Souqueto B&B as a base to explore the Languedoc region of South France. We have never made so many friends from all corners of the globe! A testament to this fact is that 52 couples returned in 2019 to continue their exploration of this richly diverse area of France.

Stretching from Provence to the Pyrenees, this sun-baked territory (now part of the greater Occitanie region) feels like a country in its own right. Its been a strategic border since Roman times and is awash with historical reminders, from Roman Towns and ruins to aqueducts and hilltop Cathar castles. Today its probably best known for its vineyards (it produces a third of Frances wine) and stunning beaches on The Med.

La Souqueto B&B is situated in the heart of the Occitanie region: Our guests tell us they return to this area, and La Souqueto, because of their authenticity.

This region attracts those that enjoy a calmer pace of life away from crowds or the premium prices of Provence or Barcelona, where they can walk, cycle, enjoy a long lunch at one the many superb restaurants here, a cruise on the Canal du Midi or simply reading books on the banks of the river Cesse behind us. Beautiful unspoiled beaches on The Med such as Leucate. Gruissan and St. Pierre de Mere are all within 40 mins of La Souqueto B&B too.

We offer a combination of staying at La Souqueto B&B with an extended cruise on the southern stretches of the Canal du Midi. This service has been very well received by 6 couples this season! We pilot the boat for our guests allowing them to sit back and enjoy the scenery. We stop for lunches along the canal then moor up at the end of the day, return to La Souqueto B&B for the night and then back to the boat in the morning to continue the trip. This is a unique service! Please feel free to contact us directly to discuss your holiday plans.

Our self catering accommodation!

Now our guests staying at La Souqueto can choose from B&B or self catering accommodation in the Languedoc, South France.

Winter of 2019 we completely refurbished the family room, increasing the size of the main double bedroom, creating a new space for the twin bedroom, installing a kitchen/dining area and shower room.

The 2019 season has been a great success. Our guests staying at La Souqueto B&B have enjoyed our situation for exploring the heart of this authentic region of France. Whether it’s the beaches of The Med, Cathar Castles and Abbeys, kayaking on the river Orb, walking in the Black Mountains behind us, wine tasting at quality domains or simply swimming and relaxing by the gin clear waters of the river Cesse just behind the house; it’s all here for the international holiday maker wishing to enjoy an extended visit to the stunning Languedoc. (Now called Ocitanie).

We also offer cruises for all guests staying at La Souqueto B&B, on the Canal du Midi, a short walk from our back door.

The self catering accommodation is offered throughout the year and the fees are seasonal. Low season €300 per week, Mid season €500 a week, High season €1050 per week. We are able to discount for extended winter lets.

Explore historic villages from our B&B in Languedoc

Minerve village, the jewel in the crown of Cathar History is just 15 minutes from La Souqueto B&B in the Languedoc! The road from our village winds slowly up the valley following the river Cesse through Bize, Argel and Aigues-Vives. The rivers gentle edges become sharp and defined by gorges as one reaches the stunning village of La Caunette. In the summer the river disappears underground and provides a perfect place for a walk up valley to Minerve.

Minerve was built in the 10th Century and is strategically well placed. It is perched over two gorges where the rivers Bryan and Cesse meet.  It’s historical significance is reflected by the fact that the Minervois wine region took its name from the village. It was well protected with double surrounding walls and overhanging ledges but this was not enough to protect the inhabitants of the village from a massacre inflicted by Simon de Montfort during the crusades against the Cathars in France in 1210. Viscount Guilhem of Minerve knew that the 200 men in his garrison could not resist the onslaught. Simon de Montfort laid siege…Four catapults were set up around the village, -three towards the city gates and the fourth – the largest named “Malevoisine” to destroy a well called St Rustique, the villages main waters source. As the walls caved in the Viscount negotiated the town’s surrender. He saved the villagers and his self, but 140 Parfaits who had taken refuge, were burnt at the stake, because they refused to deny their faith. The burning of parfaits was the first in the crusade, a terrible act that was to be repeated for another 34 years until the fall of Montsegur.

Minerve, with its cobblestone lanes and flowery window boxes, is charming.Visitors are welcome to climb the narrow winding streets that lead past shops with pottery, antiques, and wines. This is the place to taste the excellent Minervois wines.  These Languedoc wines, mostly reds, are well-structured, becoming silky with age.  The white wines, also appealing, are dry, and the rosés fruity.

You can walk from the village down a path to the bottom of the gorge and, when the riverbed is dry, explore the huge tunnels, caverns and natural bridges that the Cesse has carved through limestone. There’s a tourist office that carries maps, guidebooks, cards, and information; a paleontology museum with spearpoints, potshards and 600 million-year-old fossils; and an intriguing museum that shows the history of the area. Its little figurines are set in historic scenes, including the Cathars’ struggle. A good bookstore, Paroli, sells new and used books, has an art gallery, and serves coffee, as well.

One of the finest restaurants in the Languedoc is based in Minerve. It’s called Relais Chantovent. It has a dynamic canter leaver terrace over the gorge. It is a Michelin 1star restaurant but it’s stunning three course menu starts at just €23. A must!

Our B&B accommodation south of france loves the Relais Chantovent.

The incredible stone church is a must see. It remains locked but one must go to the paleontology museum around the corner to open it. There is nothing grand or ornate in this simple 11th-century church, but in it stand two Roman altars, one claimed to be the oldest in Europe.  It’s a marble rectangle with Latin markings. Near the church is a memorial to the Cathars, a dove carved into a standing stone. Another reminder of old battles is the single slim tower at the top of the town. It is all that’s left of early defences. This and many wonderful villages and towns are within a short distance away from La Souqueto B&B in the Languedoc.

A new name for the Languedoc region.

 

Languedoc has a new name! Use La Souqueto b&b Occitanie to explore it!

The regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and the Midi-Pyrenees have merged to form the larger administrative region of OCCITANIE. The new name was selected after a public poll, being the popular choice of almost a quarter of the voters.

The region of Occitania which dates back to the Middle Ages  covers the lower third of France, where Occitan, a Romance language derived from Latin, is spoken (hence Languedoc). The new Occitanie correspondents with that historical territory of Occitania. La Souqueto b&b in occitanie is the perfect place to explore this wonderful region.

Toulouse, the 4th largest city in France, is now the regions new capital. – and has much to be proud of – a fabulous Mediterranean coastline, the Pyrenees mountain range, vineyards (three times the size of Burgundy) with a reputation to match, the first ‘Bio’ (organic) region, an enviable aerospace industry, 35 universities and tertiary colleges, 8 UNESCO world heritage classified sites, a buoyant tourist industry including La Souqueto b&b Occitanie and of course, world class Rugby.

Toulouse International airport is just over an hour from La Souqueto b&b occitanie but there is 4 other Airports serving the region, Carcassonne (40 mins from La Souqueto B&B), Beziers (30 mins) Montpeliers (1 hour) & Perpignan (1 hour).

Increased interest in this region has brought considerable investment. Narbonne, relatively unknown in relation to other cities near The Med now looks stunning. A promenade along the Canal du Midi (which runs directly through the City) with underground car parking was completed a few years ago and Sir Norman Foster, Architect has been commissioned to design a prestigious Roman Museum along the banks of the Canal.

All aboard for a Canal du Midi cruise!

Combine your stay at La Souqueto B&B with a Canal du Midi cruise!

Over the last year we have responded to our guests requests by extending the services of our boat Bella Mia from short day trips to piloted ‘stay overs’. Combining a stay at La Souqueto B&B with an extended two or three day canal du midi cruise is a unique service that has been really well received. We also offer trips to various restaurants along the canal du midi for lunch and return or evening meal and stay over-return the following day.

In April our son Josh and I took a cruise to Agde on The Med for the boats annual maintenance and hull painting. We used this seven day return trip as a reccee for future canal du midi cruises that we could offer our guests. I thought that it would be interesting to show a selection of pics taken in sequence as we toured the southern stretches of the canal.

We left Porte La Robine where Bella Mia is moored on a beautiful early April morning and headed towards Beziers. This would take up to 6 hours passing through Argeliers, Capestang, Poiles and Colombiers. Our plan was to reach the impressive six locks called Ecluses Fonseranes by early evening where we would moor up for the night. We encountered stunning scenery, impressive landmarks and very pretty villages during our first day. We saw only one boat in the first three hours but we were not alone: Kingfishers escorted us throughout the day!

We were intrigued by the barges moored along the canal where hardcore boaties lived throughout the year. Some were beautifully restored others waiting for a lick of paint. Communities made up of artists,sculptors and writers, retired couples and young families…fascinating.

Early the following morning we took the famous Fonserannes staircase locks. They consist of 8 chambers now operated by a lock keeper. It’s hard to believe that these locks were originally built in the 1700′s and they are the third most popular tourist destination in Languedoc. We were at the front of the queue and shared the lock with three other boats all enjoying a canal du midi cruise. It took us half an hour to descend the staircase. Great fun!

We traveled in convoy with our new found friends for a few hours before heading off into the sunset along the stretch of canal with a stunning nature reserve surrounding us. We reached the round lock at Argde just as it was closing, so we moored up there for the night. The following morning we left the canal to join the Herault river and head down to the Allemand boat yard. What an adventure!!

Year round house rental in Languedoc

Guests staying at La Souqueto during the spring bought this beautiful house in neighbouring village, Bize Minervois. They kindly asked Mel and I to manage the rental of their house rental in Languedoc.

Belle Bize is a large 18th century classic French town house situated in a prominent position within this beautiful village in the Languedoc, South of France.

It has been completely restored including a new kitchen and bathrooms during 2016 and now offers a beautifully appointed three bedroomed house rental in Languedoc for up to 6 people.

Belle Bize looks directly over the river Cesse and its lake where locals swim in the crystal clear waters and sunbathe on the shingle beaches.

The terrace in front of the house with table and chairs provides a unique view over the river and the village. Doors from the terrace lead directly into the kitchen and lounge offering a very useful space for enjoying the warm summer evenings.

The house is within a minutes walk of the local shop, bar and three restaurants! Fresh bread and croissants can also be bought from the local bakery a five minute walk away.

There is parking for two cars to the side of the property as well as a barn for safe storage of bikes/ motorbikes and sports equipment.

Ground floor:

Dining room, kitchen, living room and entrance hall. The dining room with a table and 6, has 2 windows and lets the morning sun come in. The new kitchen is superbly fitted. The living room has a very well working fireplace, comfortable seating and flat screen TV.

First floor:

Three bedrooms (one with en-suite bathroom with a large shower, washbasin, bidet, WC), one further separate bathroom (shower, washbasin), separate WC, corridor with reading corner. Each room has a built in wardrobe, vanity, comfortable seating and bedside tables.

Washing machine and tumble dryer are available as well as ironing board and iron.

The owner of the house sometimes uses the self-contained apartment on the second floor for holidays. Sometimes this apartment is also for rent. There is a common entrance and stairway.

Prices: €500 to €990 per week (excluding cleaning/laundry)

 

A year to remember at our b&b in the Languedoc

It’s hard to believe that our third season at La Souqueto, our b&b in the Languedoc, is coming to an end. It’s mid November and we are still receiving guests but will close for December through to March so we can start preparing for the 2017 season.

Last Winter Melanie and I spent 8 weeks in the Alpes running separate Chalets in Courcheval. Apart from needing to top up funds through the Winter period we wanted to hone our skills in 5 star guest management. We had no idea that we would be running Chalets that cost guests €200,000+ a week! It was an incredible experience and we learnt a lot but we prefer the profile of guests that we receive in our b&b in the languedoc.

Thanks to the Worldwide Web our b&b in the languedoc, tucked away on the ramparts of a sleepy Medieval village has attracted many nationalities. We love the conversations that are formed by our collective guests at breakfast time.

And, we have made genuine friends who like to return each year to continue to explore this wonderful region. There is nothing better than to prepare an evening meal together and chat over a bottle of ‘Petit Piere’!

 

Here’s just a sample of the faces of 2016. Wonderful memories!!

Most of our guests arrive by car rented from one of the 4 airports that serve this region. Our villages FREE car park is very handy and adjacent to the little alleyway leading to our B&B. We have also received many cyclists who tour the Canal du Midi. The oldest couple who were cycling the whole length of the Midi were in their late 80′s! Respect!!

As an extension to the services we provide at our b&b in the languedoc we rent our boat Bella Mia as a mini gites (moored to the bank) on the Canal du Midi. It can accommodate a family of four but it’s perfect for a couple who are looking to experience Canal life. We offer bespoke boat trips too. One of our favourite cruises is taking guests by boat to restaurants along the Canal. Very romantic!

 

Walking from La Souqueto B&B in Languedoc

La Souqueto B&B in Languedoc makes a great base to explore the numerous trails and walks in this beautiful region of France.

Mel and I spend a lot of time exploring and continue to find great places to walk. We started travelling far up into the hills until we realised that actually we had numerous walks all around us. This walk starts a mile or so above Minerve and leads down hill to the most stunning river that passes eventually through Minerve itself. The views from the start of the walk stretch far across the plain to the Pyrenees, Carcassonne and even to the coast. We highly recommend that guests make a picnic in our kitchen before heading off. We eat ours on the flat rocks alongside the “gin clear” waters of the river Bryan.

The wild flowers are so beautiful and yet strangely they look as though someone has spent a considerable amount time and effort planning their landscaping! It takes about half an hour to reach the river but we found ourselves stopping every few yards to explore the plants and flowers. Once down at river one has a choice to head either up stream to a stunning bridge and natural pool with waterfall or down stream to Minerve itself. In April we were swimming in the river and sunbathing on the rocks and before we knew it the day had gone.

Feel free to contact us to help you organise a ‘walking tour’ from our B&B in Languedoc. We welcome groups and our B&B in Languedoc can accommodate up to 10 people. We will be happy to share the routes we have found and enjoyed and to make your stay as enjoyable and stress free as possible we can arrange transport, wine tasting, boat trips and bookings for restaurants.