Holiday Destination Information for
Details: La Domaine du Colombier is something really special. It is unusual to find such a spacious property – a true French ‘domaine’ – so close to the centre of a village with its shops, bars and entertainments, and yet enjoying complete privacy. From the grounds you look over the village towards the Corbières hills to the west and the high peaks of the Pyrenees to the south. The house itself has two living-rooms, a large well-equipped kitchen, a sunny terrace and five good-sized bedrooms, one with en suite bath and shower. The courtyard provides an elegant ‘entrée’ to the house where you can sit out in the shade. The swimming-pool is large, 11x5 metres, and a safe distance from the house. We have created a wide paddling area for small children.
Pennautier is a very lively village with many festivals and events throughout the year. It has a strong sense of community identity and extends a warm welcome to holiday visitors. The entrance to Pennautier from the Route Nationale is particularly attractive – a long straight road leading past the chateau restaurant to the bridge over the river Fresquel, always decked with flowers. Then past the museum and the original chateau in a circular street around the parish church on its mound in the middle of the village. La Domaine du Colombier is only a few yards off this street, allowing a short walk to the shops but also quick access to the countryside beyond.
La Domaine du Colombier is probably one of the oldest buildings in Pennautier. We are told that it used to be a monastery, but there is no evidence of this in the present structure. It is situated in the old part of the village, a short walk from the shops, bar, theatre and other local facilities. The property is detached, set in its own grounds and not overlooked. It consists of the main house with central heating, south-facing gardens, a large swimming-pool and a ‘parc’ of conifers and bamboo overlooking the village. The attached out-buildings will normally remain closed. From the little road to Aragon, large metal gates lead to the courtyard from which you enter the house. The ground floor of the house consists of the hallway, living-room, kitchen/dining-room, sun-room and study; a w.c. with basin; a lobby for coats etc.; and a small scullery with the central heating boiler, washing-machine and large second fridge. The living-room has comfortable seating, satellite television, radio/CD/cassette, and a DVD player with 100 films for those rare wet days. Its window looks on to the courtyard. The spacious kitchen is very well equipped with a large fridge, microwave, electric oven, separate electric hob and plenty of work space and cupboard storage. The large dining-table seats ten people with ease. The sun-room leads off the kitchen and is a long south-facing room with casual seating. At one end of the sunroom, a small study containing a desk and a large shelved cupboard leads to the scullery with its washing-machine and second large fridge.
Porte-fenetres lead from the sun-room on to the front terrace, again south-facing. The terrace offers outdoor seating and a large dining table. It overlooks the garden, described below, and is part-shaded by a mimosa tree.
The first floor has one large bedroom with a king-size bed and an en suite bathroom containing a bath, shower and wash-basin. The second double bedroom, again spacious, has windows on two sides and a separate closet for hanging clothes. A corridor leads to the three twin bedrooms, two of which overlook the courtyard, the third looking out over the gardens towards the village and its parish church. All the bedrooms are well provided with wardrobe and drawer space. Apart from the en suite facilities, the main bathroom contains a bath, shower, w.c. and double wash-basin. There is another w.c. with wash-basin and shower on this floor, making three w.c.s, three showers and two baths in the property as a whole. A travel cot and push-chair are provided.
The garden extends across the length of the property, overlooked by the terrace. It contains some old and attractive trees and shrubs, together with many which we have recently planted. The grassed area is spacious with ample outdoor seating. There is a barbecue in a paved area immediately below the terrace. A gate leads to the ‘parc’ of conifers and bamboo, from which there are fine views of the village and the Pyrenees beyond. In the parc is situated the large swimming-pool, 11x5 metres with an extended shallow paddling area (3x3 metres) and wide seating area. The pool conforms to recent French legislation regarding health and safety in swimming-pools.
The standard of décor, furnishings, equipment and general comfort in the house is very high. Obviously some of the newly planted shrubs in the garden will take time to reach maturity, but otherwise our recent renovation of the property and its proximity to the village itself and to Carcassonne render Le Colombier an ideal holiday location. Secure car parking is available.
The Village and region.
Pennautier is a village with a population of around 2300, two and a half miles to the north-west of Carcassonne. Although new houses are being built in its periphery, the old centre of the village retains its identity, dating back to the Middle Ages and beyond. The church dominates the heart of Pennautier, surrounded by narrow streets and alleyways. Below the church flows the river Fresquel, past the estate of the impressive Chateau de Pennautier and its newly renovated restaurant. In the village itself, there is a baker, butcher, post office, general store, one or two bars, and a pizzeria as well as several other small shops and businesses. Mobile shops visit the village frequently. Wine produced by the Chateau de Pennautier is of high quality and not expensive. The village lies about five miles from the nearest autoroute junction and Carcassonne airport, and about half a mile from the Route Nationale N113 between Narbonne and Toulouse. There are regular flights from Stansted to Carcassonne airport.
Pennautier is regarded as the centre of Troubadour culture in France. The European Centre for the Troubadours is situated in the village and offers information about this important medieval cultural movement as well as concerts, exhibitions and other events. The troubadours created a new form of secular poetic expression, singing in the Occitan language of ‘amor, joi e joven’ (love, joy and youth), marking the beginning of modern European literature and helping to enhance the social status of women.
To the north of the village lies the western shoulder of the Montagne Noire, the last bastion of the Massif Central. Quiet country roads lead through wooded uplands to attractive villages such as Montolieu with its many bookshops, Saissac with its 14th. century fortress and Revel whose nearby lakes feed the Canal du Midi. The spectacular village of Aragon is a short drive to the north of Pennautier. The Canal du Midi itself lies in the valley beyond the Route Nationale. The tow-path affords pleasant walks under the plane trees, and boat trips can be arranged in Carcassonne and elsewhere.
Carcassonne is the most frequently visited places in France outside Paris. The largest fortified medieval city in Europe, it stands magnificent on its hill 150 metres above the river Aude. Restored in the last century, it is a dream of the perfect medieval city with its three kilometres of ramparts, thirty-five defensive towers, its moat, Viscount's castle and basilica. The river Aude rises in the Cerdagne beyond Mont-Louis and flows towards Carcassonne through dramatic gorges either side of Axat and past Alès les Bains and Limoux, home of the famous sparkling Blanquette wine. After Carcassonne, its course turns to the east towards the sea.
Several historic cathedral cities are within easy reach, including Montpellier, Béziers, Castres, Albi, Narbonne, Perpignan, Toulouse and St. Pons de Thomières. By autoroute the coastal resorts of Gruissan and Narbonne Plage are less than an hour’s drive away. Local beaches recently received a European award for cleanliness.
Rates / Pricing Information: A supplement of £20 is payable for single-week bookings. Linen and towels are provided except towels for the beach or sunbathing. Coverage of heating costs off-season is subject to negotiation. £50 p.w. is payable if you want the swimming-pool to be open in May or October.