Built for a wealthy wine maker over 100 years ago on the edge of the village of Aigne, la Maison du Beaupré is spacious and comfortably furnished, with an extensive garden and featuring excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Recently renovated, the three-storey house sleeps up to eight in four bedrooms.
The owners retained many of the house’s original features when renovating, including patterned tile floors and exposed roof beams. The house is comfortable at all times of year, with fans in every bedroom and full central heating in winter. There are two terraces – one in front of the house, which gets the sun all day, and one by the pool, which is ideal for outdoor dining during the summer.
Below the pool is a garden planted with olive, palm, and fruit trees. A private driveway leads to the parking area with space for three cars (shaded from midday).
From the street, a gate opens onto stone steps which lead past a Mediterranean garden on two levels, with lavender, rosemary, and cypress trees, and up to the front door. From the hallway, doors lead to three of the bedrooms, and a staircase goes up to the heart of the house: the spacious living and dining areas, and the kitchen. The salon is stylishly furnished with sofas and easy chairs, arranged around the decorative marble fireplace. A dining table seats eight, with an antique 18th century French armoire holding all the glassware.
Stairs lead up to a mezzanine, which has a day bed for relaxing, and a desk and telephone point for those who need to work. A stereo system, a television and a DVD player provide entertainment.
The kitchen is fully equipped with a dishwasher, a microwave oven, an electric stove, a glass ceramic cooker, a fridge, a coffee maker, a kettle and a toaster, and a full range of cutlery and crockery. The pale wood units are topped by a pink granite work surface. Downstairs is the utility room, which is equipped with a washing machine, a dryer, an iron and ironing board, and an additional fridge/freezer for extra storage.
Three bedrooms are on the ground floor, off the hallway. The first has a double bed and an antique wardrobe. It overlooks the front terrace and catches the morning sun. It has an ensuite bathroom, with a bathtub and shower, toilet, basin and a built-in vanity unit.
The second bedroom also overlooks the front terrace, and is furnished with two single beds, a wardrobe and a chest of drawers. The third bedroom has a pair of single beds and a wardrobe. The second and third bedrooms share a bathroom on the ground floor, which has a bathtub, shower unit, wash hand basin and a built in vanity unit; there is also a separate toilet on this floor.
The fourth bedroom is upstairs, and its décor has an Indian focus, with a double bed with a carved wooden headboard and embroidered curtains. It overlooks the terrace at the front of the house and the rooftops of the village. This room has its own bathroom, with a bathtub, a shower, a vanity unit, a heated towel rail and a separate toilet.
By the lawn in front of the house is the swimming pool and the old pigeonnier, which now houses the summer kitchen and the pool operating room. The swimming pool is 18 metres long by 3.5 wide and 1.4 deep, making it long enough to swim lengths.
Beside the pool is a thermostatically controlled shower, and there is a toilet and basin in the pool operating room. The terrace overlooking the pool is ideal for dining in the evening and has a barbecue with a large dining table and chairs, sun umbrellas, and sun loungers. The kitchen in the pigeonnier is fully fitted and equipped with a gas cooker, an electric oven, a microwave oven, a fridge/freezer, a dishwasher, an electric coffee maker, a kettle and a toaster.
The village of Aigne centres around the old medieval nucleus, called the "circulade" because of its circular shape. It is now home to painters and sculptors, who regularly open their studios and galleries to the public. Aigne has a grocery store and a post office, an excellent restaurant named Lo Cagarol, and a number of wineries featuring the local Minervois wines. The municipal tennis court is just across the road from La Maison du Beaupre, and guests can use the court free of charge. More restaurants and shops can be found in nearby Olonzac, where a weekly market is held on Tuesdays.
The Languedoc region is unique in many respects. Aigne is surrounded by garrigue, a type of Mediterranean vegetation rich in wildlife and flowering plants and filled with the scent of wild thyme, rosemary and Spanish broom. Many walks lead through this very wild area, where one can find spectacular views and ancient menhirs and dolmens.
Languedoc is the world's largest wine producing area. For true gourmets there are a number of excellent restaurants, and there is an amazing variety of local goats cheese, honey, paté, olives and olive oil, charcuterie, fresh fruit and vegetables. Throughout the year local fêtes take place in the surrounding villages and towns. A number of Mediterranean seaside towns are within a 40 minute drive, and the lakes and forests of the Haut Languedoc National Park are a short distance away. Within less than an hour’s drive, there are lakes, caves, gorges, dolmens, cathedrals, abbeys, châteaux, and some of the most beautiful villages in France.
The region is very rich in history. The pre-historic Oppidum at Enserune offers a spectacular view of the Étang de Montady, a marshy lake drained by an ingenious system of canals in the middle ages. The nearby Via Domitia brought trade and commerce to the area in Roman times. Excavations from the period can be viewed in Narbonne and Sallèles d'Aude. Medieval Cathar history is present almost everywhere and the ruined castles perched high on rocky cliffs are spectacular remainders of this period. Nearby Minerve, once besieged as a Cathar stronghold by Simon de Montfort, is now home to a museum of the period.
The 17th century Canal du Midi crosses the region connecting the Mediterranean with the Atlantic. The Canal has been listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site, and walking or cycling alongside it under a canopy of ancient plane trees is an experience not to be missed. The ancient fortress of Carcassonne is less than an hour's drive away. A dream of towers, turrets and fortifications, it is well worth a visit. A little further afield are the beautiful cities of Montpellier, Toulouse and Perpignan. The opportunities for leisure pursuits are almost infinite: walking, horse-riding, rock-climbing, swimming, canoeing, cycling, golf, tennis, fishing, and of course wine-tasting.
“From our booking experience, right through to the appearance, cleanliness, fixtures and fittings of the house, everything was excellent. We have never stayed at a property before where every last detail had been thought of to make us so comfortable. It was a real home from home, with many personal touches. Sometimes the little things leave a bigger impression. Even the heating had been set to a perfect temperature considering the cold snap that hit as we arrived.”
Sandra W. - Eastleigh, Hampshire, UK
“We loved Maison du Beaupre and really enjoyed our stay there. Thanks again for your help, we will certainly bear you in mind for a future holiday!”
Catherine W. - Crookham, UK