Château de Thuriès is a beautiful boutique Chambres d’Hotes and is the perfect place to stay for a relaxing holiday or mini break and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The château nestles in the beautiful rolling hills of the Lauragais region where the Canal du Midi begins its meandering path to Carcassonne just 40 minutes away. Not only is this where Pierre Paul Riquet launched his ingenious idea for a Canal to link the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, but it is also the land of the Cathars, home of Cassoulet and bastide towns such as Castelnaudary and Revel and is known as the Pays du Pastel. Pastel or woad as we know it in the UK, flourished on the limestone soil of the region bringing wealth to the area and the creation of many magnificent châteaux.
From where I live in the Minervois there are several routes I could take to reach Château de Thuriès and on the day I was invited to lunch with owners Jayne and Steve I chose to take the road that climbs into the Montagne Noire and passes the impressive castle of Saissac. The road winds through many ancient villages and hamlets and eventually heads down towards the town of Revel passing Lac de Saint-Ferréol, the lake created by Monsieur Riquet as a water source for his canal.
It was a bright spring day and I chose to drive at a leisurely pace for although I had been to the Lauragais before I felt I had not really absorbed its personality. What I saw pricked my interest and I know I will return for many outings as it offers quite a contrast to the vine clad craggy hillsides of the Minervois. Instead, this is a land of rolling fields, some green and lush and others vivid yellow crammed full of sunflowers. It was also a delight to see cattle grazing, something never seen in my area where it’s too hot and there is no grazing land.
Skirting the town of Revel, well known for its remarkable covered market, admired for both its architecture and its fresh produce, I soon reached Château de Thuriès where I was warmly greeted by owners Jayne & Steve who originally hail from the UK. They bought this crumbling but still elegant old chateau in 2018 and have not only breathed life back into it but I think they have resurrected its soul too.
I entered through the panelled hall which is delicately patterned with gold leaf which I later learned was the work of Jayne’s own fair hand. In fact, as I am shown around this gracious house, I learn that Jayne is quite a dab hand at decorating and she certainly has an eye for style and colour. Every one of the 5 bedroom has its own personality and unique décor and I love the use of gentle colours that instantly give a sense of relaxation and tranquillity. As I wandered from room to room the overall feeling I had was of stepping back into a time of gracious living that has been brought up to date with luxurious bathrooms and comfortable beds covered with the best linen. The lovely pieces of furniture give the impression they have always belonged here but another one of Jayne talents is spotting the perfect piece in local brocants and flea markets. She also has a talent for painting furniture, and I hope to join one of her workshops when she finds the time to run them.
The Château’s public rooms are equally well designed and have the same relaxed feel about them, and I adored the sweeping staircase which is also a showcase for Jaynes’s fresco skills. I had noticed some painted panels in other rooms and was delighted to learn that Jayne not only created these herself but that she is offering a Panel Painting holiday where you can learn this skill. Viewers of the TV programme Escape to the Chateau may have seen Jayne working on a painted panel when she and Steve took part in the programme at the very beginning of their renovation. They will be on the show again this spring so if you are in the UK look out for them.
As well as the Panel Painting holiday Jayne and Steve have plans for many other cultural weeks such as Landscape Painting and Learning French Language and I am delighted to say we will be collaborating on a Wine & Gastronomy Holiday. There are 3 dates to choose from:
1-8 OCTOBER 2021
4-11 JUNE & 10-17 SEPTEMBER 2022
Places are limited to 4 couples and over the course of the week we will entertain you with wonderful winery visits and tastings, delicious gourmet food and visits to some of Occitanie’s most beautiful and historic places such as Carcassonne, Minerve, Lagrasse and the Canal du Midi. A Wine & Gastronomy week begins with a wine tasting at the château where I will have the pleasure of introducing you to the diverse wines of the Languedoc. Then over the following days we will whisk you off to discover the beautiful Languedoc wine region by meeting wine makers, enjoying a wine tasting cruise on the canal and visiting the salt pans on the Mediterranean coast. Its a busy week but don’t worry there will be plenty of time to enjoy the château and all its comforts.
I hope you will join us and if you do, you will be sure of a very warm welcome from Jayne & Steve and stay in one of the prettiest and most comfortable Château in the Lauragais. Find out more…