Le Domaine. Things to do. Places to visit.

Pennautier lies 2 miles north-west of Carcassonne, at the southern end of the Cabardes wine-producing region. You have the Montagne Noire to the north and the Corbieres hills to the south. It's a quick motorway drive to Mediterranean beaches. Take a boat along the serene Canal du Midi - idyllic!

We think you may find it helpful to look at the websites for some of the local attractions, so we have listed many of them here. Sorry that many are in French, but a picture is often worth a thousand words. The site www.aude-aude.com/ is a mine of information. 

Carcassonne.

Carcassonne is wonderful. It is the largest fortified medieval city in Europe and one of the two or three most visited places in France. It stands magnificent on its hill 150 metres about the river Aude. Restored in the 19th. century, it is a dream of the perfect medieval city with its three kilometres of ramparts, thirty-five defensive towers, its moat, Viscount's castle and basilica. The 'old' city has some interesting shops and good restaurants. The 'new' town lies in the plain and offers all entertainments, music, theatre, museums and sports facilities. http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/16/93/


Around Pennautier.

Pennautier dates back to the Middle Ages and beyond. It regards itself as the heart of the Troubadour tradition in France. It has a museum and village theatre. You can live off the shops in Pennautier, but your supermarkets are only a mile or so away on the road to Carcassonne. There are sports facilities in Pennautier and a beautiful golf course at Carcassonne. The river Fresquel flows through the edge of the village, near the good and inexpensive restaurant.

Pennautier lies at the southern end of the Cabardes, an area which produces specially good wines. To the north you see the attractive village of Aragon (another good restaurant!) and go on to Saissac, Montolieu and Revel. Toulouse is an easy drive on the autoroute and well worth a visit for the sights and the shops. To the south, you cross the Aude and the Canal du Midi, to explore the Corbieres hills and the Razes beyond Montreal.

The Canal du Midi links the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It is a relaxing, peaceful experience to take a boat trip along the Canal with your picnic and white wine. You can either join a tourist boat at Trebes, Carcassonne, Castelnaudary or Homps, or you can hire a small boat for yourselves for a day or longer. Gliding between the plane trees at a leisurely pace, with the lapping water and birdsong above - few pleasures beat this! Otherwise, you can cycle or stroll along the tow-path. See pictures of the canal at Le Someil near Narbonne: http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/43/93/

The Minervois has many small villages, each with its own character. There are good inexpensive restaurants on the canalside at Trebes. Otherwise, Le Domaine has a Travel Journal which includes recommendations by earlier visitors - a mine of information and advice. Please add your own experiences.


Further afield.

We haven't the space to write about all the places of interest in the area, but here are some of them. We suggest that you look at their websites to savour their attractions. Sorry many of them are in French, but the pictures are worth a thousand words.

To the east:

Minerve, a spectacular medieval village: http://www.le-guide.com/minerve.html

Lagrasse, a beautiful medieval village: http://www.lagrasse.com/uk/

Gruissan, a marina with its castle and houses on stilts: http://www.gruissan-mediterranee.com/fr/  http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/21/93/  and Narbonne Plage http://www.aude-aude.com/content/blogsection/4/93/

Narbonne, a fine cathedral city on the canal. Good Sunday market. http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/14/93/

Peyriac de Mer and Bages, two pretty villages on the coast: http://www.peyriacdemer.com/ and http://www.bages.fr/

Sigean African nature reserve: http://www.reserveafricainesigean.fr/

Agde and Sete, old fishing towns, with a fine waterfront at Sete. Also Pezenas, the 'Versailles of Languedoc' and Beziers, a cathedral city: http://www.decouvrir-l-herault.com/

Also Lezignan with its good Wednesday market; the bird and reptile museum at Douzens; the monastery at Fontfroide with its concert programmes; the lake and marina at Homps. http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/37/93/

To the south:

The many ruined Cathar castles in the Corbieres hills: http://www.tourisme-corbieres-minervois.com/chateaux_abbayes/Page_Globale_Chateau.htm

Limoux, home of Blanquette wine: http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/39/93/  and the medieval village of Alet les Bains.

Rennes-le-Chateau: Mysterious place, Dan Brown country: http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/50/93/

Excellent Monday market at Mirepoix.

To the north:

Montolieu, the village of books: http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/36/108/

Saissac, its feudal fortress, wonderful setting: http://www.aude-aude.com/content/view/35/108/

Huge caves at Cabrespine and Limousis: http://www.grottes-de-france.com/

Explore the Montagne Noire, its countryside and parks.


Sports.

There are good sports facilities in Pennautier. Tennis at Carcassonne and Trebes. Horse-riding. Rafting, Kyaking at Quillan and Axat. Pedalos perhaps on Lakes Cavayere near Carcassonne, Jaures near Homps and Montbel near Chalabre. Excellent walking country. Fishing in grade 1 rivers. Lovely 18-hole golf course at Carcassonne. Anything else? Ask and we'll find it for you!