Fresh, organic produce from our local Markets
At Christmas its our family tradition to take a day trip to the Pyrenees to ski!
We all know that France is famous for it’s Markets. As a family now living here we can see just how important the Market place is for the locals. Apart from a place to buy, it’s a place to meet, swop news and maintain an important link with the older generation. In times of change the Market must feel like a safe haven for many!
Holiday accommodation South of France.
There is a Market on every day in our part of the Languedoc throughout the year. Our local is Olonzac, just 10 minutes from La Souqueto B&B. Every Tuesday we buy the fresh seasonal produce for the week. It’s a wonderful routine and a chance for us to immerse ourselves in another nations culture.
Probably one of the most dynamic Markets is Les Halles de Narbonne. Wandering round this famous indoor food market, your senses are hit with a myriad pleasures: the opulent and heady aromas of freshly ground coffee, the inviting homely waft of croissants straight out of the oven, the buzz of morning banter from the stall holders chatting with the regulars, the jewel bright colours of succulent fruit and vegetables, the wicked reek of maturing cheese, flower stalls brimming with seasonal plants, silver bellied fish lain out on ice, red and pink hued meat hanging from hooks, light glinting off polished bottles of local wine, sacks of exotic spices threatening to spill over, vendors busily preparing pizzas, paellas or chow meins for the lunchtime rush, the visible pride of traders who have one thing in common – a real love of real food!
There are 72 traders and artisans with permanent stalls at Les Halles – including at least one stall which has been occupied by generations of the same family since the market was opened in 1901! Dedicated to providing the city with the best quality produce, the stall holders convene every day from 6 am to 1 pm to take part in this important daily event which almost seems to define Narbonne. Indeed, local people are quite right to be proud of their famous market, which also represents part of the hard-won modernisation of the city at the turn of the 20th century. The beautiful pavilion was originally conceived of in 1871, as a sensible way to house the ever-expanding and inconvenient outdoor market.
Sunday: Narbonne, Trebes, Meze, St. Chinian
Tuesday: Olonzac, Carcassonne, Narbonne
Wednesday: Capestang, Narbonne
Thursday: Carcassonne, Narbonne, Meze
Friday: Montagnac, Narbonne
Saturday: Pezenas, Narbonne, Carcassonne
For guests who love horse riding and treks, we have found the most fantastic Ranch just 10 minutes away from La Souqueto a luxury bed and breakfast languedoc. The owner is a breeder of Appaloosas horses and has built a ranch in the foothills of the Black Mountains. She provides livery for clients too but most of her time is taken up organising and leading treks up into the mountains using a variety of tracks through the pine forests. She also provides lunches too out on the hills!
For Groups interested in booking a trek we can both manage the details of the trip and accommodate up to 10 people at La Souqueto luxury bed and breakfast languedoc.
Luxury bed and breakfast Languedoc
For those that prefer walking this area has the most fantastic forestry tracks just outside the village of Bize Minervois. One can literally walk for miles and miles but we would suggest you head for the stunning village of Montouliers.
It sits in the foothills of the black mountains and is surrounded by Olive groves and vineyards and forms part of the wine soil of the ‘Serres’ Its name was taken from Olive groves on the hill where the village was built and was first mentioned in history in 940. (Monte Olerio, the Mount of Olives).
The caladées (small winding lanes of the village) take you to the beautiful church of Saint Baudile de Monte Olerio XIVe century and the medieval castle of the XIIe and XIIIe centuries.
The village is also well known for its Roman fountain.
Visited the area surrounding Chateau Castigno at Assignan earlier today. It’s a village situated a few miles above St Chinian in the Black Mountains. Fascinating story of an extremely wealthy family from Belgium who are having a massive influence on this sleepy village by re developing the Chateau and its vineyard and key businesses in the village square. It’s a must see and only 15 mins from La Souqueto.
Saint Chinian – only a few minutes from Assignan
Saint Chinian is a bustling village, only 15 minutes from La Souqueto luxury bed and breakfast South of France; dating back to 825 when a monastery was founded by Saint Anian, possibly on the site of what today is the Mairie. The monastery prospered and with it the village. It survived the Albigensian Crusades relatively unscathed and emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries as a centre for the manufacture of high quality cloth. During the French revolution the abbey was dissolved and its buildings put to new uses. The former abbey church is now the village hall and hosts everything from exhibitions to village dances.
The revolution also put an end to the cloth trade and the village had to rely on the wine for its fortunes. After the phylloxera crisis of the 1860’s, the Languedoc region was producing huge amounts of cheap wine. It was not until towards the middle of this century that the vignerons began to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. A VDQS since 1945, St Chinian acquired AOC status in 1982. The appellation area covers twenty communes and produces primarily red and rosé. The vines grow on hillsides facing the sea, at an altitude of 100 – 200m. St Chinian wines have a very long-standing reputation, going back as far as the fourteenth century.
Visiting St. Chinians Sunday Market is a must! It’s based in the town square under mature Plane tress.
Part of the promise to my son Jasper when we moved to the Languedoc, was that we would play Golf regularly. We found a great Course in Carcassonne…Golf de Carcassonne. You must understand that we are little more than enthusiastic amateurs but we were really impressed with the general quality of fairways and greens. An impressive restaurant overlooks the first tee with its rather unusual hill to drive up, but once on the top you are greeted by the most superb views of the surrounding area.
The Languedoc is just full of sleepy villages and wonderful landscapes! As we made our way one day to the famous hill top village of Minervois just 15 minutes from La Souqueto B&B we took a small detour and drove through the village of La Caunette.
This now quiet and peaceful village has provided shelter to people for over 1000 years. In the beginning, men and women found protection in caves in the cliffs that surround the village. Later during Roman times, villas were built forming the early community, one was noted in 936 as Cauneta Villa.
During the wars against the Cathars, La Caunette played an important part as the advance defence for Minerve, guarding the river Cesse, which was used by many as a means of access to the village. La Caunette, then known as “Lacaune sous Minerve”, was fortified, and this can be seen today as “La Carambelle” with it “porch” or entry gate dating from the 13th century. With the old chateau – Château des Pardailhan to its side. The village also had a number of passages built into the rocky hillside to provide a means of escape for villagers should thevillage fall.
La Caunette, like much of France suffered under the 100 year war, and the wars of religion. The chateau was attacked by the protestants in 1587, and 1590.
Henry IV in 1583 made an order that seigneurs were to plant elms to provide shelter from the sun, rain, in villages all over France. In 1593 an elm was planted in La Caunette at the entrance to the fortified gate of the old village (La Carambelle). The elm survived for 400 years until 1985, when it was unable to be saved from the rigors of disease and old age. A local artist, who lives at the Moulin de Cantarane, just outside La Caunette in the direction of Aigues-Vives, created a sculpture commemorating the old elm – now found near the church in 1988.
La Caunette is a thriving village with local shop, bar a garage and a superb restaurant called ‘La Cave’. It’s owned by three sisters who seem dedicated to creating the very highest quality affordable food.
We visited ‘La Cambuse du saunier’ today for lunch in Gruissan, 30 mins from La Souqueto bed & breakfast, South of France. An incredible place to eat… and our meal cost €28 per person! It’s based at the salt flats…wonderful colours, spectacular views of The Med and Pyrenees and superb locally caught fish and fruits de mer!
Gruissan is on the Mediterranean coast near Narbonne, between the hills of the Clape (rocky hillside of pine trees and vineyards known as the garrigue), the lakes frequented by the pink flamingos. Gruissan was originally a fishing village on a small island surrounded by marshland. The narrow streets of Gruissan village encircle the ruined 13th century castle tower.
Gruissan Plage is a marvellous wide open stretch of flat sand that guarantees you and your family plenty of space even in the height of summer. This is one of our favourite amongst all the Languedoc beaches. All the Languedoc beaches around this area of the coast are characterised by open, flat expanses of golden sand. Gruissan Plage has the extra kudos of being the setting for the French film, Betty Blue, a film about two passionate lovers living in a beach hut.
We are so lucky that the wonderful river Cesse passes just behind La Souqueto B&B. It’s crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming in and the natural shingle beaches provide a place to bask in the sunshine. The name of our village, Mirepeisset means ‘a place to see fish’…and what fish we see too. Brown and rainbow Trout are in abundance as well as Carp a little further down stream.
Our guests spend many hours walking/swimming along the river…up stream takes you to Cabazac then onto beautiful Bize and its villages natural swimming area. Follow the river up to Agel and stop off at the numerous natural swimming areas. During the summer the river goes underground and re-appears alongside the beautiful village of La Caunette before reaching the gorges of Minerve.
Termes is a small village set in the foothills of the Corbieres Mountains. It’s 50 minutes from La Souqueto B&B and roughly half an hour south of wonderful Lagrasse. The drive up into the hills is spectacular passing through small villages and the Gorge du Termes.
The river Sou passes through Termes and its banks are covered with beautiful seasonal flowers.In 2009 this little village was recognised as ‘Flowered village’given by the ‘comite national des villes et villages fleuries’
The first village of Termes was located at the Chateau Termes, a Castle that dates from 1110. It became an important Cathar stronghold and yet it was taken by Simon de Montfort following his seige of Minerve
Caunes-Minervois is a small medieval town or “commune” in the Aude department in the Languedoc-Roussillon regionin southern France and 15 minutes from La Souqueto Chambres D’Hotes. It is known particularly for its ancient Abbey, dating from the eighth century, and the outstanding red marble that has been quarried locally from Roman times. The name may derive from the ancient local Occitan word for cave, “cauna”, of which there are a number in the immediate area.
Caunes is also in the Minervois, a designated wine growing region with AOC status but with an ancient heritage. The name derives from the ancient regional capital of Minerve, some 20 km east of Caunes, itself named for the Roman Goddess Minerva. The Romans came through here, settling and introducing vines & olives in the region. Minervois Vignerons have been dynamic in changing the perception of the world towards wine from the south of France, developing quality products and experimenting with both old and new grape varieties and techniques.
A visit to the Abbey in the middle of the Town is a must and make sure you visit the wonderful Tapas bar La Cantine Du Cure for lunch!!