PALAJA, NR CARCASSONNE
SLEEPS 16+6 IN 11 BEDROOMS
FROM £8,950 PER WEEK
Set in 250 hectares of unspoilt undulating Mediterranean landscape surrounded by a pine forest, wild juniper, lavender, and rosemary-covered hillsides with vineyards, olive groves, and a 25 hectare grassland park opposite a lake, the Domaine de la Vene is one of the largest private estates in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and the biggest in the vicinity of Carcassonne. The estate has been designated as a Natura 2000 wildlife fauna and flora conservation zone, as well as being renowned for its magnificent unspoilt surroundings and spectacular natural views and wildlife, including deer and wild boar in the forest.
The house lies in an idyllic, tranquil setting for friends or family looking for a relaxing and secluded getaway far from the madding crowd, and whose silence is broken by nothing but the harmonious chorus of cicadas during the day and the hooting owls or the song of nightingales after dark. Approached by very long winding east and west drives, it is nevertheless situated only 16 minutes drive from the world-famous cathedral city of Carcassonne.
The house has been beautifully restored in traditional Provençal style and is tastefully decorated throughout. Filled with beautiful 18-19th century Georgian and early Victorian or Regency and French Empire antique furniture, along with landscape oil paintings and inherited family portraits, this is not a house for those who prefer what the owner calls “blank minimalism”!
Adjoined is a charming cottage or old French Bérgerie with a separate kitchen and 3 bedrooms that can sleep a further 6 guests. The rooms are nearly all spacious and bright and have stone-flagged floors or, in the eastern side of the house, old terracotta tiles so the house remains cool during the summer. Nearly all the windows have shutters and in most parts the stone walls are over 80 cm thick.
The large main kitchen and back kitchen are particularly well equipped, including a professional top-of-the-range French Château Cornue cooker, a very large stone fireplace designed with a raised platform at hip-height to double as an easily usable barbecue, and a long old antique pine kitchen table with another table extension seating 16. Next door is the large dining room and two very spacious drawing rooms in which ample sofa and armchair seating is available, again with large stone fireplaces. One of these rooms converts into a cinema room connected to surround-sound speakers also directly linked via the DVD/CD player to the in-house WiFi system. This extends throughout the whole house as well as the swimming pool and the adjoining Bérgerie cottage.
With its eight bedrooms, seven of which have large private bathrooms and three of which are extremely large by any standards, the main house sleeps 16 guests very comfortably.
The property is set in a beautifully maintained four hectare garden with extensive lawns, a magnificently arched winery, a barn, dry-stone-walled terraced olive groves, parasol pines, plains, and cedar trees — all of which can be remotely floodlit at night. The deep, ultra-marine-coloured diving pool has a large shallow end, 1.2 m deep, which is perfect for children. Surrounded by stone terracing and plenty of sun loungers, there are wonderful views of the surrounding sun-baked hillsides on the estate and, over the distant plains and hills, the Minervois region is visible 60 km away towards the Med.
The pool is set in front of a pool house equipped with both a built-in barbecue fireplace with a chimney flue to evacuate the smoke and two large tables that can be placed end-to-end to seat up to 24 guests. Here there is an independent and well-equipped kitchen area plus a newly built shower room extension. The whole pool area has a sound system with two microphones that can be wirelessly linked to any smart phone. Ideal for teenagers — they can play music as loud as they want here without a soul complaining as the nearest neighbours are over 2.5 km away!
Less than an hour from the Mediterranean and sitting in the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Domaine de la Vène is located in one of the most beautiful and authentic regions of France—the Languedoc-Roussillon. To picture yourself here you will need to banish clichéd images of the South of France. This is real France, Provence but without the over-commercialised branding and swaths of tourists. And, surrounding the house beyond as far as the eye can see, the Corbières is one of its wildest, most unspoilt areas, despite enjoying all the climatic advantages of the Mediterranean, just like the Riviera.
Although you may wish to simply relax by the pool at the Domaine, within 50 min you could be basking in the sunshine by the Mediterranean. The Languedoc coastline is rich and varied, and its lovely sandy beaches, marshlands, and rocky outcrops have long been favoured by painters and poets.
Main Hall with balconied mezzanine landing above and sweeping staircase
Drawing Room (85 sq.m.) with traditional stone fireplace and French doors to the garden to the north and the courtyard to the south
Very large high-ceilinged Kitchen with fireplace doubling as a barbecue
Back (Staff) Kitchen
2nd Utility/Boot Room
Drawing Room/Cinema Room
Four-poster (Peach) Bedroom with ensuite Bathroom
Twin (Grey) Bedroom with ensuite Bathroom
Master (Blue/Grey) Bedroom with super kingsize bed and ensuite Bathroom
Double (Pink) Bedroom with ensuite Bathroom
Double (North-facing Yellow) Bedroom with ensuite Bathroom
Double (South-facing Yellow) Bedroom with ensuite Bathroom (separate access to bathroom via a door from main passage)
Twin (Green) Bedroom with Bathroom across a private passage area
Twin (Blue) Bedroom, sharing bathroom of the room below. Here there is a narrow/steep staircase access more suitable for teenagers. However, this is a large and light room with a large seating area and a French/English satellite TV and WiFi
Double (Olive) Bedroom
Two Twin Bedrooms
Private enclosed garden with barbecue and arched eating area
Caretaker couple living onsite providing:
Chef — can be arranged at extra charge
Palaja 7 mins drive (local village with baker, butcher, tobacconist, hairdresser, chemist, grocery store, café pizzeria, and post office)
Carcassonne 16 mins drive
Carcassonne Airport and supermarkets/hypermarkets 20 mins drive
Montpellier 1 h 25 mins drive
Perpignan 1 h 15 mins drive
Toulouse Airport 1 h 30 mins drive
Mediterranean sea (best fish beach restaurant – Chez Biquet) 50 mins drive
Barcelona Airport 2 h 45 mins drive
Swimming Pool 15 m x 7 m (2.5 m deep) with large shallow end, 1.2 m deep (two pool alarms)
16 sun loungers
Pool House with shower room, changing room, kitchen facilities, bar counter, and barbecue
Cinema Room with 4.5 m x 3 m cinema roll-down screen with surround sound
Bluetooth stereo system, CD, and DVD with 450 film library
WiFi extending throughout the house as well as the swimming pool and La Bérgerie
Televisions with French and English satellite channels
Large Trampoline with high surrounding safety net
Children’s swing in Play Area
Horse Trekking with a fully qualified professional riding school instructress
18-hole golf course with Michelin starred restaurant 15 mins drive