Charming Base for Exploring the Corbières Region of SW France
I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph this brand new holiday home in the quaint town of Thézan-des-Corbières, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Maison Des Fleurs has been painstakingly renovated by its owners to make the most of the space available and provide a pretty, comfortable base perfect for exploring this corner of the country.
Sleeping 3 in two bedrooms, it also has a small sofa-bed in the sitting room which can be made up on request at no extra charge. Theoretically you could sleep 5 adults here, but it would be a squeeze! It is however ideal for small families and couples.
There's a dining kitchen, sitting room, two bedrooms, shower room and WC over three floors. A balcony leads from the sitting room where we enjoyed breakfast most days.
Decorated in the uncluttered, tasteful style which continues throughout the house, the ground floor kitchen used to be a cave or cellar when the property was first built, meaning it wasn't originally inhabited, rather used as storage or workshop space, possibly even for animals. Now it is airy and well equipped with everything you need for a self catering holiday and a beautiful Godin stove. I particularly loved the reclaimed stone sink.
Sitting Room & Balcony
There are winding terracotta stairs from the kitchen to the first floor. Here, the sitting room has French doors leading to a balcony with table and chairs. There's a small sofa and seat and beautiful textiles all handmade by the owner. Also on display are interesting pieces from her extensive antique hat collection, which we were lucky enough to admire in full at her home. There's a wall-mounted flat screen TV here too but there was so much to do locally that we never got around to watching it!
It was fascinating for me to look around the space after having been informed it used to comprise two bedrooms for the family who lived here.
At the top of the house is the master bedroom with a comfortable king-size bed which has a beautiful antique headboard. There's also a fabulous antique crochet bedspread. It's a very serene, comfortable room and with the shutters closed, you could sleep till midday if you're not careful!
As a couple staying here we found the second bedroom next to the master really handy as a dressing room (and for storing masses of photographic equipment!) but it is also an ideal room for a child. The bed is large enough to be comfortable for an adult too.
I loved the Van Gogh style chair!
Shower Room & WC
The shower room leads off from the sitting room and has a vanity unit and shower with decent pressure. The owners provide bathroom essentials to save guests having to weigh down their resticted luggage allowance which is a thoughtful touch. The separate WC is on the ground floor.
Maison Des Fleurs is right in the centre of the village. Thézan-des-Corbières is a quiet, sleepy, traditional village where the locals are very friendly (but speak little English - part of its charm) and is just thirty minutes' drive from Carcassonne Airport. It's best to hire a car there and there's plenty of free parking close to the house.
A small street leads from the house past interesting properties to the beautiful Church of Sainte Eulalie Thézan. There's also a boulangerie directly across the road from the house which is lethal as the fresh croissants and quiches are heaven. There's also a pizza restaurant in the village which we never got around to visiting but are assured is very good.
The village is surrounded by poppy fields which were in full bloom during our visit. I wrote about them here...
The Local Region
There are vineyards dotted all around the region offering tours and tasting. Being situated close to the L'Orbieu river there are opportunities for fishing, canoeing and other water-based activities. It's also not far from all of the attractions of the famous Canal Du Midi. Thézan-des-Corbières is only a half-hour drive from the coast and there are many beaches in close proximity to choose from. We enjoyed the vide-grenier (bric-a-brac market) at Narbonne Plage which is a lovely breezy seaside town, and also visited La Franque further down the coast which has a 50's feel with its boardwalks and surfers.
One of our favourite day trips was to the nearby town of Narbonne, where the canal winds through the town past the impressive Market hall which houses a fabulous produce market.>
The landscape between the village and the Pyrenees becomes increasingly mountainous and interesting; we climbed to Château de Montségur, a former Cathar Fortress perched atop a rock formation known as a pog — a term derived from the Languedocien dialect of Occitan — puòg or puèg, meaning "peak". It was a breathtaking experience which I'll feature soon.
No trip to the region is complete without a visit to the medieval citadel of nearby Carcassonne where Robin Hood Prince of Thieves was filmed.
It manages to remain just on the right side of touristy theme park just! and is an unmissable day out.
Maison des Fleurs is an inexpensive home from home great for exploring the region. The owners are keen to ensure guests' stays are as enjoyable as possible so are happy to give suggestions for things to do and places to go. Accessible from Carcassonne, Perpignan and Toulouse airports, this makes for a convenient getaway.