The Corbieres Hills, which are located at the south western end of the Aude, is an area of gentle, wooded hills and river valleys creating stunning scenery, sitting as it does between the Pyrenees and the valley of the River Aude. From the viewpoint of a potential home buyer, the Corbieres is consistently quoted as one of the best places to buy in France as it benefits from 300+ days of sunshine per year, has easy access to the Mediterranean beach resorts and is close enough to the Pyrennean ski resorts to access them within 2 hours.
As winemaking is the major occupation, vineyards surround many of the villages and therefore driving around the quiet roads here is a pleasure – often you only meet occasional farm vehicles on a 20 mile drive! In other words, it has all the peace and tranquillity you could possibly need when considering entering a more peaceful phase in your life. In addition, as this a winemaking area, it is possible to pop to your local Cave Co-operative and buy wine straight from the vat – at very advantageous prices!
The north of the area abounds with history and to visit the fortified city of Carcassonne is to be whisked back to the Middle Ages. Used as the backdrop for Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, this UNESCO World Heritage site is so beautiful, it takes your breath away as you approach it around any corner. Surrounded as you are by drawbridges, ramparts and its 52 medieval towers, the atmosphere in the city is vibrant, as Carcassonne is the second most visited tourist site in France – after Paris.
In the centre of this area is the village of Lagrasse, which was recently voted amongst the most beautiful villages in France. Overflowing with artists and writers, this stunning village with its 13th century abbey and tiny, medieval streets has a thriving overseas community who spend their time chatting over coffee or wine in the many restaurants and café’s. Many people have second homes in Lagrasse which are used throughout the summer months, swimming in the local river and walking in the glorious surrounding hills.
At the southern end of the Corbieres is Narbonne, a city whose foundations are entirely Roman. The Romans were trail-blazers in that they planted the first grape vines in this area because of the climate they discovered here - mild winters and sunny dry summers – which they knew were ideal conditions for growing grapes and making wine. And they were absolutely right! The Corbieres is the largest wine making region in France and is situated in the Languedoc-Roussillon which is the largest vineyard in the world. This is a city which is very close to the Mediterranean Sea and has its own beach at Narbonne Plage.
So, as you can see – from historical cities, through art and culture, to lounging on the beach. Three regions in one area – that is the Corbieres Hills.
We are Peter and Joanne Mathews and whilst living in the UK, we owned and managed our own hotels, in which we worked daily. This was a highly stressful environment, demanding we work together over long hours and at a very fast pace.
Eventually, we sold the hotels and, like many of our colleagues, hoping there was more to life than the daily grind, we bought a house down here in the Corbières and moved here lock, stock and barrel. It was a leap of faith but our lives have changed so much for the better. Now, after the heat of the day has subsided, we can enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace in the evening, listening to the silence, broken only occasionally by the local church bells. This is especially true here, in the South of France, where the locals are so much more relaxed and laid back, there is no apparent equivalent to the word “stress”!
It’s certainly a challenge learning a whole new language at this stage in our lives but the locals have been so friendly and welcoming, they have made it a joy to be involved in the local community. Each morning, on the way to the “Boulangerie”, a cheery “Bonjour” from everyone you pass, knowing it’s great to be able to work, helping more people realise their own dreams - of living a more relaxed way of life, in a beautiful country, which upholds so many traditional values in its daily life.
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Well appointed 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa with pool. Delightful views of chateau and the sea. Ideal for summer rental
In excellent condition, this house features two upper floor bedrooms - one with private . . .
Region: Languedoc Roussillon
0 M2 land