A beautiful and historic stone house that has been lovingly renovated while retaining its authentic French style. It stands in the very best spot on the main square (along with the café/boulangerie/épicerie) in the picturesque Mediterranean fishing village of Bages, situated between vineyards, salt-water lagoons and sea. The house overlooks the village square and rooftops with views from every bedroom and from the roof terrace to the sparkling water of the Étang de Bages (lagoon) and the Mediterranean beyond. We fell in love with the French style and character of this house the very first time we saw it as well as the friendliness of the village and we are sure you will too; it is the perfect place to relax, switch off and enjoy a taste of the very best of France and French village life but also close to Narbonne, Perpignan, Collioure, Spain and Barcelona and a large choice of beaches plus every activity on land or on water.
The house is tucked away in the prettiest part of the village, peaceful and calm but with everything you need on the doorstep; watch the sun rise over the water from the terrace, then pop across the square for your morning baguette and stop by the café to enjoy a petit crème with your croissant. There is every activity close by; fantastic walking, beautiful cycle trails, sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing, kayaking, rowing, fishing, bird watching (the region is famous for its bird life and flamingos), tennis, wine tasting, beaches, historic chateaux and cities – or just sit and enjoy the views and soak up the atmosphere of this friendly and authentic fishing village in the perfect climate of this part of the south of France.
Bages is that very rare thing, an unspoiled, authentic and picturesque Mediterranean fishing village in the Languedoc-Roussillon (now Occitanie) situated between vineyards, lagoons and sea but that is utterly untouched by mass tourism and has managed to retain its traditional feel and way of life despite being just 15 minutes from Narbonne and on one of the most beautiful stretches of the Languedoc coast. One of the prettiest villages in the region, Bages dates from the 11th Century and is situated in the beautiful wine-growing area of Corbières, overlooking a vast lagoon, part of the Narbonnaise en Méditerranée natural park and home to flocks of pink flamingos and an extraordinary assortment of birds (350 species have been spotted here). There is still a small fishing industry here and the village is famous for eels, sold in nearby Narbonne and exported all over the world. It is an idyllic location in a wild, picturesque and lightly populated pocket of the otherwise crowded Mediterranean French coast and with over 300 days sunshine a year and temperatures constantly above 30o for four months every summer. (N.B Bages, our village has the postcode 11100 and is in the Aude – do not confuse with Bages in the Pyrenees Orientales, postcode 66670, which is further south and inland.)
The landscape all around is a spectacular mix of salt water lakes, sea, mountains, islands, lagoons, flora and fauna and vineyards covering 12,000 hectares of protected natural park. This provides a unique landscape and offers a wealth of outdoor activities for holidaymakers. You can walk around parts of the 75km Gulf Path, cycle along the numerous cycle paths, swim, sail, kayak, windsurf, kite surf, fish, row to the islands, spot flamingoes, herons, cormorants, storks, visit local vineyards for a wine tasting or just sit on the terrace and enjoy the views and the peace. It is the perfect place to stop, switch off, relax and re-connect.
The village itself sits in a protected rocky outcrop with spectacular views over the water; an utterly peaceful oasis of calm. In the village, everything you need is close at hand; there are two restaurants plus a third restaurant/café/epicierie/ with organic fruit and vegetables, fresh bread and general supplies. Thanks to its picturesque setting and charm, the village also attracts artists and there are a couple of lovely art galleries. A cycle ride away in Peyriac de Mer (6km) are more restaurants, a small supermarket, chemist and a choice of viticultures with wine tasting. The cycle tracks are spectacular and a great way to see the numerous birds on and around the lagoon. Across from Peyriac is the hidden beach of Doul and swimming here in the little Etang de Doul near Peyriac is an interesting experience as the water is 43% salt, similar to the Dead Sea. In Bages itself, you can rent out kayaks, dinghys or windsurfers at La Bateautheque and explore the lagoons or cycle around the water to the sailing club La Nautique where there are bigger boats, sailing and windsurfing lessons and another good restaurant. For something entirely different, just 15km to the south of Bages is the Sigean African Safari park with over 3,500 different animals and a great day out.
Location is everything and Bages has so much on its doorstep; national park, historic towns, glorious vineyards and immense stretches of sandy beaches. It also has eight major airports within easy reach (see details below) including one within half an hour and the motorway for every direction is just a 15-minute drive. The south’s most attractive cities are all within easy reach: Narbonne is just 15 minutes/10km, Carcassone 30 minutes, Perpignan 30 minutes, Montpellier under an hour, Beziers 25 minutes and Barcelona two and a half hours. In addition, Bages is 20-25 km from all the famous golden beaches of the Languedoc; Narbonne-Plage, Gruissan and La Franqui and just an hour south is Collioure for an easy day trip (take the train from Narbonne to avoid the summer traffic and parking problems) with the Spanish border just beyond. So, if you’re looking for just the right blend of relaxed French village life mixed with Mediterranean beach holiday, a smattering of history, local flavour, wonderful food and wines, a friendly welcome and easy access across the south of France, Bages is the perfect place.
The closest city, Narbonne, is just 10km from Bages and is a vibrant and historic Roman city, an architectural gem. The historic centre concentrates on either side of the banks of the Canal de la Robine which links to the Canal du Midi, with a majestic pedestrianized, tree-lined avenue surrounded by quintessentially French buildings leading to the impressive cathedral of Saint-Just and the Archbishop’s Palace. All around are historic, narrow lanes of shops and cafés, bars and pretty squares of the old town. The town also has a distinctly Spanish vibe and an exceptional covered market, ‘Les Halles’ which sells fresh produce directly supplied by fishermen and local farmers. Anyone who visits Narbonne will not fail to be impressed by its sheer architectural elegance, its wonderfully cosmopolitan atmosphere, and its numerous cultural, gastronomic and historic offerings.
This is our second home with all the usual home comforts and we hope that we have thought of everything so that you can really relax. Downstairs, steps lead up to the front door and you come into a cosy sitting room with comfortable sofa, plenty of books and games and TV/DVD/Wifi/ipod dock. From here it is a step up into the large open-plan kitchen and dining room filled with light from the huge windows overlooking the village square. There is a large dining table seating 8 easily and the modern kitchen is very well equipped with a large American style double fridge/freezer, an induction hob, dishwasher, coffee maker, plenty of pots and pans and crockery and cutlery for at least 8 people. There is a separate back entrance into the kitchen from the little lane behind which is perfect for unloading the shopping and there is a small table and a couple of chairs here for another choice of sitting area. There is also an open fireplace in the kitchen, lots of storage and a separate wc.
Upstairs, on the first floor, is the master bedroom with double height windows that open to the south with views over the square and the lagoon behind. The room has a large king size bed which can be made into two single beds as required. This room manages to be cool in summer and cosy in winter. There is a large closet area with its own sink. There is a second double bedroom with two sets of windows facing east over the square and views of the lagoon plus a large wardrobe/storage area. Across the hall is a very large, family bathroom with sink, bath and Italian shower plus there is a utility area with washing machine.
Upstairs again, on the top floor, is a further double bedroom with king size bed (can be made into two singles) facing south with beautiful views of the village, the lagoon and the surrounding landscape. Next door is a shower room with wc and sink.
Also on this floor is our favourite room; the sunny top sitting room with sliding French doors onto the terrace and spectacular views of the lagoons and the sea beyond. It is the perfect place to enjoy an early morning cup of tea, watching the sun rise over the water or a relaxed breakfast as the village wakes up below. Perfect too for an evening aperitif or just a heavenly place to sit and admire the ever-changing, panoramic view of the fishermen at work on the water, the sailing boats, the windsurfers the famous flamingos and birdlife of the region and French village life. Out of the end window, you may even spot snow-covered Canigou in the far distance.
All bedding and bathroom towels are provided.
Washing machine – iron – ironing board
Prices change depending on time of year – happy to discuss so please get in touch
Boat hire from La Bateautheque:
Restaurants in the village:
Le Beaux Arts
Les Jardins de Bages
Pizza van (Weds and Fri evenings)
How to get to Bages:
Bages is ideally located 10/15 minutes from Narbonne and the A9/N9 motorway interchange. Take the exit 'Narbonne Sud' on the A9 towards Barcelona and then take the N9 direction Perpignan.