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Vin en Vacances

A short walk from Lac de Jouarres, great for water sports and bathing and just outside the lively port of Homps on the Canal du Midi with its pleasant restaurants and bars, sits Résidence du Château de Jouarres.  The residence is made up of two purpose-built apartment buildings separated from each other by a superb swimming pool and set in beautiful parkland that once belonged to the grand château that stands in the grounds.

 

Languedoc is scattered with such chateaux surrounded by magnificent parklands that were built from the profits of the bulk-produced wine that Languedoc was famous for in the 1800’s. But after the Phylloxera epidemic, two world wars and a change in peoples drinking habits, Languedoc has re-invented itself as a producer of quality wine and most of the châteaux now stand empty.  Cue enterprising entrepreneurs who in recent years have seen the potential for tourism in Languedoc as people tire of Provence but still seek the south of France and the Mediterranean sun.

The Château was erected in the 1800’s but Résidence du Château de Jouarres was built in 2009 and offers well designed apartments for holiday makers seeking of the tranquillity of the countryside but with some enjoyable facilities on their doorstep. The apartments are ranged over 2 floors and are of various sizes, some designed for couples and others for families or groups of up to 8 people. Each apartment has its own private terrace, and most have views across the vineyards. The kitchens are well equipped but if you want a break from cooking the Résidence offers breakfast and new this year is Bistro du Château located next to the swimming pool and offering simple meals and snacks.

I visited Résidence du Château de Jouarres in April 2021 and was warmly welcomed by Colette who runs the reception. She hails from Holland and speaks excellent English, French, German and of course Dutch. We started our tour in the old chapel which is now the reception but also a place to enjoy wine tastings or it can also be hired for conferences.  Colette showed me some of the produce available to buy from the reception such as locally made jams and marmalades, delicious biscuits, olives and oils and local cuisine available in jars, perfect for those occasions when you don’t want to cook. Then we took a tour of the grounds passing the table tennis and basketball areas, the children’s playground and the picnic spots that are dotted around the wooded park. Running through the park in various directions is a ‘keep fit’ trail for those who want to stay active on holiday. We crossed an ancient driveway lined with plain trees and Colette told me this is the way the old châtelaine would have taken her carriage when over seeing her vines.

 

As we walked, a wonderful, relaxed feeling wrapped itself around my body, and as we approached a clearing, I realised that my pace had slowed and my shoulders had relaxed. In the centre of the clearing was one of the tallest oak trees I have ever set eyes on. Its branches spanned several meters above my head and others reached up to the deep-blue Mediterranean sky and as I stood still I realised all I could hear was gentle birdsong. The calmness of these beautiful grounds had invaded me that day and I came away thinking what a lovely place this must be to spend a week or two.

If you choose to stay at Résidence du Château de Jouarres you will be staying in the beautiful Minervois region and in the heart of the wine growing area, close to the village of Minerve and 30 minutes from Carcassonne. If you like exploring, then you will need a car to reach the pretty villages and maybe venture further afield to the coast which is about 40 minutes away. The Tuesday market at Olonzac is just around the corner and the Sunday market at St Chinian is a longer drive but well worth it for you will pass through stunning scenery.

I really enjoyed my visit to Résidence du Château de Jouarres and I also enjoyed meeting Colette who I think is the perfect person to welcome guests. Her care and attention to detail plus her enthusiasm for Languedoc and her desire to help people will ensure you have a wonderful Languedoc holiday.

To enquire about a holiday here you should contact Colette by email residence.chateau.jouarres@orange.fr or telephone +33 (0)4 68 40 45 00

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Vin en Vacances