The Area & Local Attractions
The hamlet of Gary lies in the Department of the Aude, in Languedoc Roussillon, France. Lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees 40 mins. to the south of the celebrated Carcassonne medieval city, we are 20 mins from the local lake Montbel, 10 mins by car to the nearest market town of Chalabre and equi-distant at about 15 minutes from Limoux and Mirepoix. The sea is about 70 mins to the Mediterranean coast at Narbonne. Carcassonne Airport which is at the moment is devoted to Ryan Air traffic has connections to several airports in the UK and several other European cities, Dublin, Brussels, Paris etc. Dpending on where you are travelling from it is worth checking out Perpignan Airport, Toulouse, Beziers and Girona, Barcelona – all within easy reach.
Gary is close to the GN7 walking route and there is unlimited walking via local paths & this nationally designated overland route right from our door. The GN7 has a long history as a route into Spain and was apparently part of the network of paths which were used to get stranded airmen into Spain and back to the UK during the last war.
The cycling both for road and all terrain is excellent, again straight from the door at Butterfly Cottage. The roads are quiet even in the middle of the holiday season, especially by UK standards and it is possible to go for a quiet untaxing ride on minor roads or take a hilly and extending ride whenever you choose – quite simply you turn left or right at the end of the road!! Ryanair will take bookings for bicycles packed in proper bags or you can hire cycles from us – please see the dedicated page for details.
You may actually prefer just to relax in the pool or garden, listen to the birds singing, the deer barking and at night the owls hooting from the terrace depending on your frame of mind. Our night sky is full of stars – we have no light pollution here. We are surrounded by wildflowers in spring and summer which attract wonderful butterflies and birds, including several varieties not normally seen in the UK. You can relax in the sunshine, swim in a pool, picnic in the woods, go walking or take a guided mushroom hunt with my husband Michael (25euros per session including cleaning & cooking hints).
Visit Carcassonne the famous medieval Cite the subject in recent years of many interesting novels and films, or many of the other wonderful Cathar castles which surround us. I particularly like Puivert with its complete fortified tower and evocative music which is only 20 mins away. There are many others too, Chalabre hosts regular medieval tournaments throughout the summer and provides craft workshops for visiting children and is only 10 mins away over the hill. Abbeys and monuments abound and could fill your holiday if you wished, or even visit the more recent tribute to the Resistance Movement in the area in the last World War, which lies hidden deep in the forest on the edge of the Pays de Sault, only a short drive away. There are also many small roadside monuments to the brave people who gave their lives in this not well known side of the conflict.
If you are more interested in visiting interesting markets you can combine a good shopping spree with a visit to a small medieval market town where the arcades play host to stalls full of local produce and items from the rest of the world too. There is actually an outdoor market every day of the week somewhere close by!
Are you interested in wine? Well, we are situated on the edge of a wonderful wine growing area. Limoux our local market town is the centre of the production of the precurser to champagne – Blanquette de Limoux. Many producers have outlets in the town where you can sample their wares and taste other local wines. The surrounding appellation Cote de Malpere does a wonderful range of light reds and chardonnays, a short drive east will take you into Fitou, or of course there is Corbieres, Minervois, Rivesaltes etc etc. Tasting visits can be organised.