Set in a quiet street which turns into a footpath down the valley, the house is on three floors. The top floor is devoted to the large living-room from which porte-fenetres lead out onto the spacious, south-facing roof terrace with its superb view. This room has a DVD player, cassette player with DVDs and cassettes. There are hundreds of books in English to suit all tastes. The leather settees are very comfortable, and the decor is especially attractive. A travel journal offers advice on good drives, walks, restaurants etc. Unfortunately, reception of UK television programmes has recently (8/18) been withdrawn.
The middle floor has the double bedroom and one twin bedroom, kitchen & dining area, and the main bathroom. The dining area opens onto the balcony. The views from the roof terrace and balcony are truly spectacular. The castle of Puilaurens is illuminated at night - a dramatic sight. The kitchen is well-equipped with 4-plate electric cooker, fridge and freezer, microwave, toaster.... and all necessary utensils. The pantry has the dish-washer and washing-machine. It is lovely to sit out on the balcony in the mornings with your croissants and tea/coffee. This a really sublime place.
All the bedrooms have ample wardrobe and storage space. Please bear in mind that we provide bedlinen and towels without charge, asking only that you bring your own towels for the beach and sunbathing (and bring your own cot sheets).
On this middle floor, there is the bathroom with bath and separate shower, wc and basin. There is a separate wc adjacent.
The ground floor has one twin and one single bedroom. The twin bedroom has the stand-up cot. The little single bedroom feels 'out of the way' and may be ideal for an 'independent' youngster. The shower room on this floor contains a shower, wc and washbasin. The kitchenette, also on this floor, is quite basic with sink, tumble dryer and small stove.
Doors lead you out onto the back patio, and beyond it the grassed garden which is safe for children.
A wide parking area is 30 yards away. It is easy to drive to your front door, deposit passengers and luggage and then drive round to the parking area. We have experienced no trouble with parking.
From the house there are walks in all directions. Your own street soon turns into a footpath taking you through the woods to Caudies, your nearest village. Stop there for a drink and return on the other side of the valley by the forest paths. More strenuous walking is easy to find, but the forest paths are ubiquitous, all with wonderful views.
It is a pleasant walk over the river to the shops. In the village there is a bar and a restaurant and a general store. Although you could live off the general store, your supermarkets are at Quillan or St. Paul. Various little shops often sprout up in the tourist season.
The little tourist train, Le Papillon, stops at Lapradelle viaduct. It goes from Axat to near Rivesaltes, at a very leisurely pace allowing time for photographs. Locals use the viaduct as a short cut. The village lies on the banks of the river Boulzane, a very beautiful place. Beyond it is the Cathar castle of Puilaurens which you see from the house. There is a parking area below the castle, adjacent to a castle shop which is worth a visit. This whole area has many ruined castles and battlements dating from the Middle Ages, and it is worth reading about the Cathars in advance to help make sense of them all.
It is a lovely 35-mile drive to the Mediterranean. You are driving along what used to be the border between Spain and France. Note the castles of Queribus and Peyrepertuse overlooking the road. The village of Maury is the source of excellent wines. There is a wide choice of coastal resorts - e.g. Argeles, St. Cyprien and Canet Plage - but don't ignore the large Aquapark which will keep children happy for hours.
There is excellent walking country all around, strenuous or otherwise. There is an international watersports centre at Axat nearby, open to the public. You are in Dan Brown country with Rennes le Chateau not far away, as well as Bugarach where many assembled to witness the end of the world at the millennium.
Lapradelle lies in the middle of one of France's most beautiful areas, still little known. That is why we say that it is made for romantics only, for lovers of the countryside, of village life, of France Profonde, of history and castle-bagging, of exploratory walks, of fauna and flora - or just lazing in the sun. It must be ideal for (first or second) honeymooners!