This beautiful area was televised in this year's Tour de France. Situated in a tranquil hamlet in the Pyrénées, Le Pichet is a traditional mountain house, converted from a stone barn, built partly into the hillside. Two bedrooms sleep up to five guests. For couples requiring the use of one bedroom only, a price reduction is available - inquire for details.
Over twenty years, we have restored le Pichet to keep many original features, including the wooden roof beams. Rodney's sculptures and paintings, and Eleri's embroideries provide a final personal touch to this tastefully and comfortably furnished home. Both house and garden benefit from panoramic mountain views, and being west-facing, colourful sunsets.
The west-facing garden is an idyllic place to relax and enjoy the view. Planted with roses, honeysuckle and clematis, it is a magical spot in all seasons; you are welcome to use its abundant herbs in your cooking, and help yourselves to raspberries, rhubarb and salad when available. There is a shaded paved area ideal for preparing and enjoying your barbecue.
The house enjoys plenty of natural light. The ground floor consists of a spacious dining room, bathroom and well equipped kitchen; an oak staircase leads to the first floor consisting of two bedrooms and a light, high-ceilinged and spacious living room.
Downstairs, a sofa, oak dresser and a log burning stove combine with the dining furniture to give a homely ambience to the dining room. The kitchen, in addition to its oven, microwave and fridge-freezer, has a food-mixer, juicer, slow-cooker, raclette and fondue.
The bathroom contains a bath with a showerhead, a basin and toilet. Upstairs, the lounge contains a sofa, armchair, and a well stocked bookcase with books in both English and French. A large number of maps, walking guides and local information is also at your disposal.
To one side of this, a chalet style bedroom contains a double bed, cupboards and shelving; to the other a larger, beamed bedroom contains one double and one single bed, wardrobe and shelving. All rooms have views beyond the garden to the valley between Miramont and the hamlet of Arrous, the wooded ridge on whose cliffs stand the ruins of Charlemagne's Chateau du Mirabat, and beyond to the Col de la Core and the slopes of Mt.Valier.
Being on several levels, the house is not suitable for wheelchairs.
With its peaks soaring to the Spanish border, and the beauty of its lower wooded valleys and slopes, the Haut-Couserans of the Ariège- Pyrénées remains one of France’s best-kept secrets. These 18 valleys have a rich and varied heritage. They contain the wildest, most remote and unspoilt scenery of the Pyrénées. The area is nevertheless very accessible at 90 minutes from Toulouse and two hours from Lourdes and Carcassonne airports. It is within easy reach of the major road networks and the wealth of historic and cultural diversity of Ariège and the Midi-Pyrenees in general.
Among the nearby cultural sites are the Gallo-Roman town of Saint-Lizier, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and medieval Foix and its château. Numerous Cathar castles, the world-famous Grottes de Lombrives/Niaux and Tarascon’s park of prehistoric art are all within a two hour radius, as are the Observatory of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, Lourdes, Carcassonne and of course Toulouse, "La ville rose". All these are very tempting destinations for day trips.
On the doorstep, Seix has its château, Vic D'Oust and St Sernin have beautiful Romanesque churches, and Saint-Girons is home to the Musée du Chemin de la Liberté.
In summer, plan to visit cheese-making demonstrations in the Bethmale valley, and in the Salat Valley children can enjoy watching donkeys being milked to produce the soap lait d'anesse. Donkey hire is also available above Seix, and several local centres offer days on horseback in the mountains.
Most attractions for children open at Easter, and summer is the season for festivals. The transhumance (movement of animals to the high pastures) takes place on three consecutive weekends during late May/June. You can follow on foot, by car, bike or on horseback. The Tour de France passes close by every year during mid July and we are right in the middle of some of its most famous spots. Throughout the summer villages everywhere are "en fête". St Girons is home to numerous weekends devoted to local customs and traditions, notably the "festival des Rites et des Danses" and the evocative "Couserans d'Autrefois".
There are abundant walking and hiking routes for every level. For those interested in the flowers and wildlife of the Ariège, we can put you in touch with local specialists. An excellent equestrian centre is nearby. Other activities include canoeing, lake and river angling, and skiing at the family-oriented resort of Guzet-Neige. "Golf de l'Ariège" is about an hour away, as is the Riviere Souterraine de Labouiche, where you can take a boat trip through underground caverns.
Locally, Oust and Seix supply all needs, including doctor and pharmacy. Both have small but well-stocked supermarkets, and we can particularly recommend the butchers in Oust and the bakers in both places. An excellent selection of restaurants specialize in regional cuisine. 20 kilometres away is the town of St.Girons, with a large selection of shops, supermarkets and restaurants and a colourful Saturday market. The region excels in local cheeses and meats.
“We've thoroughly enjoyed our stay at “Le Pichet”, in ths gorgeous area of the Pyrenees. Highlights of our visit include the waterfall ( Cascade d'Ars) which was breathtaking! Eleri and Rodney were so knowledgeable of the whole area that there was never a need to visit the Tourist Information. We have only scratched the surface- a bientot!”
Nicholas R. - Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
“This fortnight has not been just about the charm and beauty of “le Pichet” and it’s surroundings- the marvellous views, walks and delightful evenings spent together-it’s also been about the hospitality, kindness and camaderie of two exceptional people, Eleri and Rodney, who have made our holiday so memorable.”
Geraldine S. - London, United Kingdom
“We had a wonderful week in Le Pichet with beautiful weather. The conditions for mountain walking tours were perfect and we also enjoyed the charming atmosphere of the house very much. Eleri and Rodney, we would like to thank you very much for the hospitality and the kind and thoughtful information you gave us about the region which made this holiday very special for us! Vielen Dank und auf ein Weidersehen.”
Brigid M. - Lippstadt, Germany
“Thank you so much for a perfect holiday! Le Pichet is a beautiful retreat and your generosity and advice of places to visit made for a most relaxing break. It was a real pleasure to meet you all and get to know a little of your French home. Loved the cake too (and the flowers!). Hope to meet again at some point, meanwhile thank you again and a bientot!”
Graham B. - Scotland
“Grand merci pour votre accueil, si génereux, gentil, tres agréable. C'est un endroit reposant, calme et d'une beauté......Ce gite est tres chaleureux, on se sent si pres d'un feu a bois. Je pars avec regret, je reviendrai car vous etes tres sympatique, je suis ravie de vous avoir rencontrés.Avec tous mes remerciements, votre region est magnifique,”
Monique R. - St Martin le Chateau, Yvelines, France
“Merci Eleri pour votre accueil et la qualité de votre gite..Nous avons passé une excellente semaine, et nous vous souhaitons une tres continuation. Au plaisir, bien cordialement,”
Catherine T. - Pau, France
“Thank you so much for the wonderful two weeks we’ve had with you and for the kindness and thoughtfulness you have shown. We’ll remember forever the warm, peaceful evenings spent in your beautiful garden, looking out onto the mountains with the sound of crickets in the background. We’ll be thinking about you when we hear about snow in the Pyrenees!”
Jo W. - St Leonards on Sea, United Kingdom
“Marvellous! I had no prior experience of the Ariege. This is an area well worth a visit. But “Le Pichet” even more so, away from the world and in the midst of spectacular scenery. What makes a stay here even better are Eleri, Rodney and William. Nothing is too much trouble. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here and the week has flown by. Thank goodness we drove down from the Channel in one day and added a day to our stay. The market in St Girons is a delight. Thank you all, and your hospitable friends, for a wonderful stay.”
John D. - Bishops Stortford, United Kingdom