Hérault havens: the big six
Harriet O’Brien is a travel writer and award-winning author. Her first book Forgotten Land, a rediscovery of Burma was published just before she joined The Independent, her second Queen Emma and Vikings, a few years after she left. She was on staff at The Independent during the 1990s and subsequently worked in Canada and then as managing editor at Conde Nast Traveller before going freelance in order to travel more. She mainly covers the UK, Europe and Asia, where she grew up.
Friday 25 March 2011
Hostellerie St Alban, Nézignan l’Evèque
Set in an atmospheric old village close to the historic town of Pézenas, this gracious 19th-century mansion offers 13 comfortable bedrooms, a fine-dining restaurant and an attractive garden with swimming pool. The Mediterranean coast and the hills and wilds of Haut Languedoc are within easy reach to the north. Doubles from €98 per night, room only,
Commanderie Launac-le-Vieux, Fabregues
Close to Montpellier, this splendid fortress-house dates back to the 12th century and the days of the Knights Templar. Expanded and well restored since then, it still retains its atmospheric medieval stone staircase and its chapel. Today it offers chambres d’hôte accommodation in five finely furnished bedrooms – along with a warm welcome from its owners. This is a B&B with aristocratic flourishes and a deep sense of history. Doubles from €85 per night, bed-breakfast.fr
Hôtel de la Paix, Lodève
A former coaching inn, creaking with atmosphere, Hôtel de la Paix has been run by the Escudié family since 1876. The comfortable rooms are individually furnished while facilities include a recently refurbished restaurant and a swimming pool. The hotel is set in the heart of historic Lodève, close to the Fleury museum and the Gobelin tapestry workshops. Doubles from €55 per night (breakfast an additional €8), logis-herault.fr
Village House, Octon
An attractive village in the upper Hérault region, Octon nestles between vineyards and hills. There are plenty of picturesque attractions within easy reach. Lac du Salagou complete with watersports is about 1km away, the amazing drama of the Cirque de Mourèze rock formation is due south, while the bustling, cultured town of Lodève is a few minutes north. Set in the upper part of Octon, this well-placed gite sleeps four in two bedrooms. From €350 per week (rising to €550 peak season), visit-herault.com
Château de Siran, Siran
Last spring, the Château de Siran was triumphantly reopened after painstaking restoration. Set by vineyards at the edge of pretty Siran, this majestic 16th-century property was graciously revised in the 1700s and is now one of the most elegant small hotels you could hope to find. It offers 11 rooms decorated in quiet colours and uplifted by flourishes – a mural in one room, Tuscan-style embellishments in another. Facilities include a lounge and bar, a garden terrace and an excellent restaurant. Doubles from €100 per night (breakfast an additional €12 to €14), logis-herault.fr
Lo Polit, Quarante
If you’re in search of a rural retreat for a week or so, look no further. Lo Polit, which means “the beautiful” in Occitan, is an appealing self-catering option set on the 30-hectare Domaine de Malviès vineyard. This charming cottage sleeps six people in three bedrooms and also offers terrace, barbecue area and garden. The Canal du Midi, Béziers and Narbonne are nearby. From €350 per week (rising to €950 peak season), visit-herault.com
Gîtes de France Hérault is an umbrella organisation offering a booking service for an extensive choice of self-catering properties, campsites and B&Bs in the region. Logis de l’Herault is a collection of chic, individually owned small hotels selected on the basis of their style, quality and excellent cuisine.
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