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Villa 23170 South West of France, France

Sleeps: 16

Chateau De Bellecare
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Dating back to the 16th century, this charming Chateau is situated in the foothills of the idyllic Pyrenees on the edge of a medieval village and a stone’s throw from local amenities. You can pick up fresh croissants and baguettes from the nearby boulangerie, excellent cuts of meat from the boucherie for a barbeque on the south-facing patio, which you can accompany with a local Limoux wine sourced from the alimentation, just a few steps across the road.

The Chateau offers breathtaking views of the high mountains, excellent for walking in. Nearby are ancient Cathar castles (Montségur is only 25 minutes drive), picturesque market towns such as Mirepoix and fascinating towns such as Limoux and Rennes-le-Château. The medieval citadel town of Carcasonne is about an hour away with Perpignan and the coast within close proximity.

Interior and grounds

Set in the Pyrenean foothills, this elegant 16th century property offers 8 large double bedrooms with 6 en suite bathrooms. There is a comfortable living room, dining room and a fully equipped kitchen. There is a patio which faces south and a private swimming pool with safety cover.

The magnificent medieval entrance leads into the spacious hall with access to the living and dining rooms on either side. The large living room runs the full length of the building and is dominated by the traditional French fireplace, installed with a wood-burning stove that can be used all year round. The room is equipped with a sound system with CD and ipod connection. At the opposite end is a self-contained seating area with satellite TV, DVD player and a considerable selection of DVD titles. There is access to the south-facing patio through the French windows where you can spend the evening, overlooking the peaceful village and watching the sun set. The dining room can seat up to 16 and leads in to the kitchen with adjoining utility room. Aside the dining room, in the circular turret is a small office. Here there is broadband internet and computer access for guests. The kitchen is equipped with a large gas stove, sink, storage space and dishwasher. A large utility room sits beyond this with 2 large fridges, a deep freeze, micro wave and a washing machine, as well as an extra WC.

The Chateau has 8 large, attractively decorated and similarly-sized bedrooms leading off a central corridor over two floors. The bedrooms enjoy exquisite views of the surrounding countryside, the courtyard of the property and the pretty village beyond. The rooms offer guests peaceful and private spaces to rest in and enjoy the magic of this majestic building. After a tiring day, guests will enjoy the luxurious and generously sized rooms with huge beds and ample storage offering perfect rest and relaxation away from home. On each floor one twin room, each with two single beds caters for individuals or children who want their own space in beautifully furnished surroundings. Six of the bedrooms have superb en suite bathroom facilities set within the circular towers of the Chateau. The remaining two rooms are ideal for children or close family members with connecting doors through to adjacent bedrooms. The loft is a self-contained apartment not usually available unless specially requested.

The sizeable garden has two patio areas for outdoor entertainment and perfect for al fresco dining. The pool is 10mx5m with a retractable roof and there is a separate self-contained area which is perfect for a game of badminton, boules or table tennis. The chateau can comfortably accommodate parking for several vehicles.

Location and local information

The nearest airport to the chateau is Carcassonne 80km away. The chateau is situated just a short walk to the local village where you can pick up all the essentials.

At the nearby castle at Puivert you can browse the fascinating museum and Montaillou has an intriguing story attached to it where the whole of the village fell under suspicion of the inquisition! Nearby Perypertuse, Queribus, Puilaurens and Arques are also easily found and well-worth the short trip. Those with a little more time might want to visit to the medieval citadel at Carcassonne, the ancient town of Perpignan, or discover the delightful Collioure and Banuyls-sur-Mer on the coast towards the Spanish border.

Given the recent mania surrounding the “Da Vinci Code”, Rennes-le-Château has been attracting increasing international attention. With its secrets of Cathar gold hidden in the Templar castle which once stood overlooking the Aude river, not only is the area bursting with historical legends, but there are tremendous and spellbinding views of the surrounding area.

For something different, you can try the bustling local markets. Every Monday the ancient and picturesque town of Mirepoix hosts a traditional market, where you can find delicious locally-produced cheeses, wines, meat, fruit and vegetables as well as a myriad of local craft stalls. Then why not stop off for a bite to eat and a glass of wine or a coffee in one of the surrounding cafes or restaurants?

Virtually on the doorstep of the Chateau are paths leading into the mountains, maps of which are provided. On these walks you can experience the beauty of the natural surroundings and wildlife. Dramatic scenery can be found along the way where gorges split the craggy landscape, home to eagles and vultures.

Adventure sports such as white water rafting and canoeing are available nearby and in winter, the nearest ski fields are a 45 minutes drive away in Ax Les Thermes. Every year in mid-July the Tour De France passes by a mere 20 minutes away, which is an enjoyable and fun day out to watch the cyclists complete one of the more mountainous stages.

Catering and services

Catering is available at the chateau by local catering companies (traiteurs) - typically this will cost from 30 euros per person for a 4-course meal. Alternatively it is possible to hire a cook from the local village/town who can do any cooking that you wish during your stay – they are also usually happy to buy the food and clear up afterwards. Costs are typically between 10 and 15 euros per hour. Maid service is available for between 10 and 15 euros per hour.

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