Self catering cottage (gîte) for vacation rentals
St-Ferriol, Aude, Languedoc, South of France - More Information


Property Description

House name: Maison de l'église
Sleeps 4-7 One double bedroom, one family room (one double bed and one single) and sofa bed in large living room.
Village: St-Ferriol, 11500, Haute Vallée de l'Aude
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon, Aude département
Facilities: Well equipped kitchen, extractor fan, granite kitchen, oil central heating, water softener and ethernet & broadband wireless. Three lavatories, bathroom and shower room.

Availability: all year round, short-term vacation & longer stays.

Ground floor:

  • Entrance hall
  • WC
  • Laundry room
  • Kitchen & dining area

First Floor:

  • Bedroom 1, double bed, walnut wardrobe, dressing mirrors, side table
  • Bathroom large walk in shower, WC, hand basin
  • Sitting room, large coffee table, desk, arm chairs, cushions and carpets.

Top Floor

  • Bedroom 2, double bed, sofa, clothes hanging, large dressing mirror, desk and tables, comfy chairs.
  • Bathroom, lavatory, bidet, large bath, two large hand basins.

top floor bathroombread bins in the Languedoc are made for baguettesAll linen and towels are provided.

All bedrooms have wooden floors with wool or cotton rugs.

The owners live nearby and are available if needed. They speak fluent English.

Further facilities can be provided on request.





Property Location

View from the Chateau de St-FerriolA village house, a part of which was once the presbetry to the adjacent romanesque village church. Part of the house is built around the apse of the church.

The house is situated on a path in a quiet part of a village typical of rural Southern France. It has recently been thoroughly renovated to a very high standard whilst retaining the character and softeness of the buildings rustic origins. While retaining many period features the accommodation is luxurious and offers modern conveniences. Recent refurbishment has used top quality natural materials making use of the local chestnut wood, recycled oak and also cedar - a customary local wood dating from the Crusades, when it was found that cedar not only provided a wonderful fresh subtle aroma, but also deterred insects. While retaining many of its original features such as exposed beams, window fastenings, large quarry floor tiles and canal-tile roof. The walls are rendered with natrural lime plaster. Even the insulation is natural hemp.

Each of the bedrooms and their high quality bathrooms are on seperate floors at seperate ends of the house. A spacious, light living room on the first floor is comfortably furnished with television and stereo and comfortable chairs. It is also a delicious room in which to sit quietely and listen to the sheep and chickens and other sounds of the countryside. This room is sometimes used as a consulting and seminar room by guests studying and attending courses locally.

The village is amongst the sunniest of the region perched on a small plateau with a view of rolling cultivated fields with a view of Rennes le Château to the North and wild forests and the Pyrennees to the south. Thousands of kilometres of hiking start at the doorstep.

Reliquary of St-FerriolThe village is typical of the region, with narrow lanes and architecture in local stone dating back to a bastide built on the site in the year 1300. There is a renaissance fortified castle next to the house which the owners are in the process of renovating. To the West lies the Pech [peak] de St-Ferriol, and to the south the Ruisseau [stream] de St-Ferriol.

Ordinance survey maps and walking guides are available for visitors.

A short drive (or one hour's walk) eastwards is the market town of Espéraza where you will find boulangeries, patisseries, tabacs, bars, restaurants, bank, a post office, and a grade I listed church. Unusually for a small town, Espéraza also boasts two museums and a popular Sunday Market.

Detail from Cassini's eighteenth century map of the area. Click to see more.To the South West is the town of Quillan. Once a hub between the Haute Vallée and the mountain plateaux, Quillan is now a more sedate town. It now attracts those seeking watersports and good fishing and still has an impressive programme of concerts and festivals between June and September.

Not far from Quillan there are numerous down hill and cross country ski centres where Toulousains spend their holidays locals go for day trips. In winter many locals take off for a day of skiing and snow boarding on the nearby slopes. The house is a great stepping stone for a skiing holiday when some members of the family or group are not that keen on skiing. It is also well located to be used as a base while searching for a property in the Languedoc. Its well equipped and homley atmosphere and broadband and telephone facilities make it a perfect choice for those wishing to use it for a sabbatical vacation.

A main arterial road, the D118, passes 7 kms from the village giving rapid access to many local places of interest. The gîte is 7km from Espéraza to the west, 5 km from Quillan to the south, and 15 km from Limoux to the north. It lies due south of the medieval cité of Carcassonne, less than 30 kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, Spain, Andorra and the Pyrenees. It is ideally placed to visit famous Cathar Castles, including Montsegur, Cabardes, Puivert, Peyreperteuse, Puilaurens, Usson, Aguila, and Queribus. It is also the perfect base for those looking for the real rural France, for adventure sports or mountain walking with easy day trips to coastal attractions such as Collioure and Ceret.


Local Facilities/Places of Interest

All around the area are castles, mountain forests, valleys and garrigue, historic abbeys, romanesque churches, gorges, grottoes and spas. The town lies in the very heart of Cathar Country, the location of some of the most important and portentous events of medieval Europe, vestiges of which can be seen everywhere. Many of the most famous Cathar sites are only a short drive or cycle ride away. It is less than a two hour's walk away to the hilltop village of Rennes-le-Château, the mystery village of the the Languedoc and the site of continuing mysteries surrounding the discovery of vast treasures by the local priest over a century ago. (There are local bookshops in the area entirely dedicated the Cathars, local Templars and the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery.)

Pomegranites trees in St-Ferriol in NovemberThe area is also a delight for those seeking sport and actvity holidays. Cycling, the French national sport, is the most popular. You can hire mountain bikes ("VTTs") from nearby Esperaza. There are many horse riding treks on offer, hang-gliding, white-water rafting, kayaking and canoeing, mountain climbing, fishing and walking…even hot air ballooning. In the winter the Pyreneen slopes are not far a way and many locals take day trips to ski or snowboard. There are two thermal spring swimming pools nearby and several landscaped lakes open to the public.

The surrounding countryside is beautiful and varied. To the South are the foothills of the Pyrenees, then the real Pyrenees, and the Spanish border, about an hour's drive away. One of the old pilgrimage routes to Santiago (St-Jacques) de Compostella passes through Limoux, Espéraza, the Gorge de Pierre-Lys, through the mountains and on into Spain. To the East are the Corbières, one of the few remaining wildernesses in Europe, where boar still roam wild, and beyond it the Mediterranean coast, including Perpignan and a number of holiday beaches.

To the West lies the Plateau de Sault, a high plateau of forests and rolling countryside, and beyond it Andorra. To the north are vineyards and historic cities like Carcassonne. Local wines worth investigating include Blanquette de Limoux, a white sparkling wine; Fitou a rich red from the nearby Corbières; Maury, a fortified wine that resemnbles port and Muscat also a naturally sweet wine drunk very chilled as an aperitif, to the north the famous delicate wines of the Minervois.

Though now French, the area just to the south was Catalan for centuries and the Catalan language is still spoken just a few miles away. At the local market, you can sample Spanish delicacies as well as the many local ones, many of them organic: bread, dairy products, honey, vegetables and wild mushrooms.

Dinosauria In the nearby town of Espéraza is a museum dedicated to hat making, the traditional industry of the area. Another, next to it, is dedicated to dinosaurs. The area is rich in prehistoric fossils and major discoveries have been made near here. Some of the digs are open to visitors.

Local wildlife is also an attraction for many visitors. Because of its varied terrain, the Aude possesses more than twice the number of plant species than the whole of the UK, including some 80 types of orchid. It is similarly rich in animal species, particularly birds.

This property is located near the following major towns:

  • Carcassone 50 km
  • Perpignan 60 Km
  • Toulouse 90 Km
  • Foix 70 Km


Getting There

Important cities in the area are Carcassonne, Perpignan, and Toulouse

Carcassonne. Saint Ferriol is 57 kilometers south of the medieval walled city of Carcassonne. Ryanair flies daily from Stansted (Near London in the UK) to Carcassonne, and regularly each week from Sheffield (UK), Liverpool (UK) East Midlands (UK) Dublin (Ireland), Shannon (Ireland), offering cheap flights mid week during the low season. Cars can be hired at the airport. By road from Carcassonne, head due south down the Aude valley on the N118, through Limoux and Couiza. Just after Espéraza (and before Campagne) on the D118 you will see St-Ferriol signposted. Turn to your right into a small lay-by before crossing over the D118. Then 3.5 kms uphill to an road junction. Turn right 1.5 kms to St Ferriol

Perpignan. St-Ferriol is 70 kilometres North West of Perpignan, on the coast near the Spanish border. Ryanair flies daily from Stansted (Near London in the UK) to Perpignan, offering cheap flights mid week during the low season.

Cars can be hired at the airport. By Road from Perpignan, take the D117 west to Quillan, then take the D118 northwards and turn right to St-Ferriol just as you leave Quillan.

Toulouse. St-Ferriol is about an hour and a half's drive from Toulouse, which has an international airport served by British Airways from London Heathrow, Air France from London Gatwick, and Buzz (cheap mid-week flights) from London Stansted.

From Toulouse head towards Carcassonne (by car, rail or coach) and then continue as above.


Information about the Languedoc

Click on this link for extensive information about The Languedoc




Contact Sophie McDonald about renting the cottage.

You can reach her at + 33 468.20.11.42: from France,
00 33 468.20.11.42 from the UK
011 33 468.20.11.42 from the US

or by email. Once you have checked availability, and agreed your reservation, you will need to check our terms and conditions and then print off and fill out a booking form.


© James McDonald, 2006




The Languedoc. Click here to open this site in a new window The Aude (Cathar Country)