La Prade, an impressive maison de maître, was built in 1830 as the mansion of the Domaine de la Prade. The Domaine consists of 8 hectares (19 acres) of well-kept parkland, full of different species of trees and three ponds. It is located three kilometres from a motorway, so is easily accessible but far from any background traffic noise.
A separate self-contained unit on the grounds, The Cottage, sleeps four in two bedrooms.
La Prade is surrounded by fields of sunflowers, wheat, and corn. This extensive private estate offers plenty of peaceful tree-shaded walks.
The 6x12 metre outdoor pool in the park is shared by the guests of the three units as well as the full sized tennis court. Wifi internet access is also available in each of the gites.
All three gîtes occupy two floors, and they are completely self-contained with the east and west wings in the main house having their own private entrances.
They have been furnished to a high standard of comfort and luxury, with great respect for the history and character of the house. Many of the original features have been carefully restored, such as the open fireplaces in each living room.
Each gîte has a private terrace, and access to the large swimming pool at the back of the house.
La Prade is situated just two kilometres from the village of Villasavary, in the Aude region of Languedoc-Roussillon. Villasavary has a butcher, a baker, a general store, and a pharmacy to cover everyday needs. Castelnaudary, a ten-minute drive away, has numerous banks, supermarkets, shops, bars and restaurants.
Even closer at hand are the Roman market town of Bram, and the historic town of Fanjeaux, site of the home of St. Dominique, founder of the Dominican order of monks.
There are many activities within easy reach, including golf, tennis, and boating on the 17th century Canal du Midi, which passes nearby, connecting the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. There are many excellent restaurants and auberges locally, where one can explore the regional cuisine, including cassoulet, foie gras and magret de canard, and sample the local wines.
Perhaps the most famous landmark in the region is the beautifully restored medieval city of Carcassonne – a Unesco World Heritage site, which is only 25 minutes east of La Prade. Carcasonne's magnificent ramparts and 42 towers guard the main Château de Comtal; beneath is a maze of small cobbled streets with numerous restaurants and little shops.
It's just a 20-minute drive to the delightful medieval ‘bastide’ town of Mirepoix, with its 15th century ‘couverts’ (covered arcades). The whole region of Languedoc-Roussillon is steeped in history, from the time of the Roman occupation to the turbulent era of the medieval Cathar heresy.
The countryside is dotted with les châteaux du Pays Cathare - magnificent ruined fortresses, perched on sheer rocky outcrops. Lastours, Montsegur and Peyrepertuse are three of the most majestic, and are well worth exploring. There are also numerous beautiful restored abbeys to visit, including Fontfroide, St Papoul, and Lagrasse.
Within an hour's drive westward is the largest collection of works in the world by Toulouse-Lautrec, housed at the museum named after him in Albi, close to Toulouse. There are excellent Mediterranean beaches just 50 minutes away at Narbonne and Leucate. There are also a number of lakes nearby, such as Lac Saint Ferreol, which has a beach, good swimming, and good walking trails through the woods.