Vineyard B&B in Cabardes north of Carcassonne

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Tonton Marcel, a French and German guide to agritourism, dropped by O’Vineyards toward the end of harvest.  They’re on the lookout for the  unpretentious, country relation of Mr. and Mrs. Smith who also runs accommodations on the farm. :D

Photos they took while here

 

Tonton Marcel separates the wheat from the chaff

I think this is a guide that needed to exist.  One of the big problems with agritourism is that you’re never sure if you’re getting a cool, modern farm experience or a cheap little cot in a hayloft with a farmer who seems to dislike visitors.  This second group is often a historical artifact resulting from the way farmers used to make a little spare cash.

There was a time when your horses got tired and you’d ask one of the locals if there were any pensions before the next big town.  A place where you could tie up your horses and shut your eyes until morning.  Those places still exist.  A lot of farms and vineyards run their chambres d’hotes or gites in a similar manner.  You show up, get the key, and then they’ll avoid you at all cost for the rest of your stay.  The room is located on a farm, but otherwise you’re as separated from the farm experience as possible.  These places also tend to be a little run down.  A little rusticity can be charming, but people also expect a certain level of comfort.

Modern agritourism, especially in wine, can result in massive investments like four star hotels with a view on the vines.  Every comfort imaginable.  But then these accommodations can go a bit too far and you forget you’re even staying at a farm.

Tonton Marcel seems to seek out the special sweetspot between authenticity and modernity.  They’re looking for operators like my family.  We actually make wine and we’re winemakers before we’re hoteliers.  But at the same time, we understand that you should show your guests a bit of hospitality and we’re savvy enough to include them in the winemaking process when we can. Guests at O’Vineyards will almost definitely remember the winemakers as they look back fondly on their stay.

So the guide finds farms like mine.  And I think a lot of kids my age are looking for this sort of experience.  I say kids because the average age of our B&B guests so far is about 35.  That’s exceptionally low for a B&B.  It’s eye opening for a lot of operators who think that only older couples are interested in the bed and breakfast concept.

So here’s hoping that Tonton Marcel becomes as much a household name as Mr & Mrs Smith.

Carcassonne and the surrounding area are very popular travel destinations because of the charm, character and history of the region.  Rather than staying at a cookie-cutter hotel when you visit Carcassonne, consider taking advantage of some of the incredibly unique accommodations available in the area.

Obviously if you’re looking for holiday accommodation on a vineyard, I highly recommend visiting me at O’Vineyards!  But vineyards aren’t the only cool place to stay while you’re in Carcassonne.

You can spend a night floating down the Canal du Midi.  Or sleep inside a medieval castleGypsy caravansVintage Airstream trailers?  If you want to go further afield in the Languedoc Roussillon, you can find…  Country yurtsTreehousesGlam Camping?

With all of these options, you don’t have to have to stick to traditional lodging accommodations.

Here’s a list of just a few unusual options available around Carcassonne.

Vineyard
O’Vineyards B&B Carcassonne
885 Ave de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou
33 (0)4 68 10 89 18
ryan@ovineyards.com

In the Castle
L’echappee Belle

5 Rue Raymond Roger Trencavel
La Cite 11000 Carcassonne
33 (0)4 68 25 33 40
info@lechappeebelle.co.uk

On the Canal du Midi
Péniche Mirage
28 rue du Canal
Ecluse d’Herminis
11090 CARCASSONNE
33 (0)6 16 46 28 67
info@mirage-hotes.fr

Gypsy Caravan
Les Roulottes Du Lauragais
1, rue de la République
11320 MONTMAUR
33 (0)4 68 60 56 64
lesroulottesdulauragais@orange.fr

This post is about charming Bed & Breakfast rooms available in Carcassonne.

Obviously, I’d love for you to come and stay with me at O’Vineyards B&B, but we’re not very close to the castle.  So if you like slurping red wine and you’re going to have a car, you can come sleep at our place. Otherwise, here are some excellent options that are walking distance to the medieval Cité de Carcassonne.

B&B Walking Distance from the Castle

room in 42 victor hugoDowntown

42 Victor Hugo – 142€ – 160€
42 Rue Victor Hugo
11000 Carcassonne
33 (0)9 77 52 44 36
peter@42ruevictorhugo.com

This is a really unique building in the Bastide St-Louis (the historic downtown).  The interior is a very contemporary design and the exterior is a rather ornate historic facade.  The location is perfect for short walking trips into the town for restaurants, cafes, local markets, concerts and everything else that locals do.  It’s a tiny bit removed from the more touristic sites of the citadel (a good thing in many ways), but it’s still walking distance from the ramparts.

On the Canal

Péniche Mirage –  106€ – 520€
28 rue du Canal
Ecluse d’Herminis
11090 CARCASSONNE
33 (0)6 16 46 28 67
info@mirage-hotes.fr

Stay on a barge on the Canal du Midi.  This has been fully outfitted as a charming B&B / houseboat.  The owners are onboard to take care of you.  There’s also a jacuzzi on top of the boat.  Prices range a lot depending on how much luxury you want on the peniche.   Children have to know how to swim if you want to stay on the boat.

In the castle

L’echappee Belle – 75€-125€
5 Rue Raymond Roger Trencavel
La Cite 11000 Carcassonne
33 (0)4 68 25 33 40
info@lechappeebelle.co.uk

This B&B is notable because it’s actually in the medieval citadel.  A lot of people don’t realize just how big the castle is.  Hundreds of people live within those ramparts.  There’s a school, dozens of restaurants and shops, 2 hotels, a hostel, and a B&B.

terrasse cote citeAt the foot of the ramparts

Côté Cité – 77€ – 147€
81, Street Trivalle
11000 CARCASSONNE
33 (0)6 89 35 61 51
info@cotecite.com

A B&B at the foot of the castle, just outside the remparts.

Other accomodations

For a full list of accomodations, check out Trip Advisor’s Carcassonne Hotel page.  Whether or not you trust the reviews, it’s a pretty complete list of lodging options in and around Carcassonne.

This is a list of Cabardes vineyards that provide bed & breakfast services or other lodging options north of Carcassonne.

Of course, if you want to stay at a vineyard, I strongly recommend staying at O’Vineyards Bed & Breakfast.

But this post includes all the options for staying with winemakers in the Cabardes.

Why stay in Cabardes?

The Cabardes is a gorgeous region of France that is very close to the historic medieval castle of Carcassonne.  Proximity to the Cité makes the Cabardes a perfect vacation area because it means you can visit the Cité de Carcassonne, the Canal du Midi, and benefit from all the amenities of Carcassonne.  There’s a train station and an International airport (almost exclusively RyanAir flights though).  You’re less than hour’s drive from the Mediterranean coast, about an hour from Toulouse, about an hour and a half from Montpellier, and a couple of hours from the Pyrenees.

I should also mention you’ll be surrounded by delicious wine!!  :)

The Cabardes AOC is small, dominated by independent wine producers, and features a unique blend of Mediterranean and Atlantic grape varietals.

Vineyard B&B, gites, and other lodging

O’Vineyards Bed & Breakfast – VillemoustaussouB&B and Syrah at O'Vineyards seen from plateau de la bade

4 elegantly furnished B&B rooms with direct view on the vines.  You’ll be sharing the building with us, a Franco-American family with a small vineyard and winery just north of Carcassonne.  We’re very happy to host, and we have a full range of high end red wines.

Ventaillole, Ventenac Cabardes

B&B on an organic vineyard in Ventenac Cabardes.

domaine des homs giteDomaine des Homs

Technically, this is in the Minervois but I thought I’d mention it since the winemakers also produce some Cabardes and these two appellations are close neighbors that share the south-facing slope of the Montagne Noire.  This is a gorgeous house in the center of their Minervois property and the adjacent photo shows how the vines creep across the front of the property.

Auzias – Pennautier

A gite with view on the winery. Red, white and rose wines.

Cazaban Gites – Conques sur Orbiel / Villegailhenc

4 gites located on a small organic vineyard.  Red and rose wines.

Rayssac

Rayssac used to have gites, but I don’t know if the new owner maintains them anymore.  The website has changed significantly recently so watch this space.

Chateau Pennautier properties – Pennautier

The de Lorgerils have a lot of different properties and gite offers.

How to find us

Domaine O’Vineyards is just a few kilometres north of Carcassonne. GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387

Domaine O’Vineyards
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910

  1. Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou until the D118 (the last straight road) and the Dyneff gas station on the roundabout.
  2. Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
  3. Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which goes up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire.
  4. At the last juction, bear left at the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
  5. After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.