Vacation Rental Description
All rooms are large - for example the kitchen/dining room and the library immediately above it are both about 40ft x 15ft and the grand salon is 25ft square. The games room is about 60ft x 20ft.
Four of the bathrooms have a bathtub and either an overhead shower or separate shower cubicle. There are also two shower rooms. All bathrooms and shower-rooms have wash-basin, WC and heated towel rail.
There are two high chairs and and two cots. The staircase at the top of the house is gated.
All of the bedrooms are accessed via public areas (it is not uncommon in large old French houses to find that one bedroom can be entered only through another - we regard this as unacceptable for rooms occupied by adults).
The chateau lies beside the sleepy little bastide village of St Martin d’Oydes, surrounded by the gently rolling foothills of the Pyrenees. Rebuilt at the end of the 15th century on 12th century foundations and using the famous brique rose which changes from deep rusty red to a light honey colour, according to the light, the house has been completely restored to combine its historic charm with modern comfort and convenience.
With six bedrooms, six bathrooms and five 'public' rooms the chateau has ample accommodation for up to 15 people without feeling crowded. It is furnished with antiques but these are solid country pieces rather than gilded delicacies so the atmosphere is very much that of a comfortable family house. It is very suitable for two or three families sharing or for large family gatherings - recently it seems to have been be particularly favoured for seventieth birthday celebrations. Because the walls are about three feet thick, the rooms are cool and airy in summer but cosy in winter, with full central heating and big open fires.
The magnificent five acre park is landscaped in an informal English style - there are large open spaces, splendid mature trees, masses of flowering plants, a partial moat, a small river and a delightful swimming-pool.
The chateau is looked after by our housekeeper, an English woman who lives in a nearby village, and her team of helpers. Maid service (3 hours a day 6 days a week) is included in the price. A cook or other further help is available. The house is exceptionally well equipped thoughout and, whilst there is much in the surrounding area to interest those who like to explore, there is plenty to occupy others who prefer to stay put.
This is an enchanting and romantic place but, above all, it is somewhere to relax and feel at home.
- Cable Satellite
- Cooking Utensils
- Amenity Parking
There is broadband wireless internet (though because of the thick walls this doesn't reach all over the house) and a desk top computer in the library for the use of guests. There is also an accessible mobile (cell) phone network.
There is no problem if you like to read. There are books everywhere (the travel editor of the Observer has described ours as 'the best English language library in south west France'). The range naturally rather reflects our interests and we are particularly strong on fiction, including plenty of crime and thrillers as well as classics, history, biography, humor, puzzles and children books. There are about 3000 books in the library itself and others in just about every room: selections in the bedrooms, cookery books and gardening in the kitchen/dining-room, biography on the landing and a battered Chambers dictionary in the downstairs sitting room to resolve Scrabble disputes and assist crossword fanatics.
- Adventure Sports
- Horse Riding
- Mountain Biking
Apart from activities round the pool there is a lot to do in the park.There is plenty of space for ball games.Soccer and Rugby balls, Frisbee and equipment for boules, croquet, badminton and a number of other outdoor games are available for the use of guests.There is a collection of children toys including pool toys and a play tent and bikes (three adult and two children).In the village there is a little-used hard tennis court which is no more than a few moments from our main gate.A number of way-marked walks have been developed in the surrounding countryside,two of which start in the square immediately in front of the chateau-guides can be found in the house.Concerts often take place in churches and throughout the summer there is a series of music festivals in the area (including jazz).
- Travel Info: The chateau lies immediately beside the historic little village of St Martin d'Oydes in the beautiful and unspoilt department of the Ariège. The village is most unusual in that it is a complete 'bastide'. For defensive purposes the houses form a circle clustered round the church which, until just over a hundred years ago, could only be reached through one of the houses. Though it is very sleepy, the village does have a Post Office and cafe/shop (with daily bread delivery). It also has a public hard tennis court.
St Martin d'Oydes is in the 'basse Ariège' surrounded by farmland - rolling hills which are the foothills of the Pyrenees and at this level reach heights of about 1500ft. It is almost due south of Toulouse (about 45 minutes drive) and lies about a third of the way along the Pyrenees coming from the Mediterranean. Driving south from the chateau the hills quickly become higher and grander and within an hour you are among the glorious mountain peaks of the High Pyrenees - the least polluted major mountain range in Western Europe. The cities of Toulouse, Albi, Carcassonne, Foix and Lourdes are all within reach as are other places of interest - magnificent castles, neolithic cave paintings, underground rivers and many more.
For those traveling from the UK by road, the chateau is about 10 hours drive from the channel ports. It is easily accessible from Toulouse (Blagnac) Airport (45 minutes) and from Carcassonne (about 1hr 15 minutes). Blagnac is a major international airport with direct flights from many British airports and frequent flights to Paris. Carcassonne is a small airport which is used by RyanAir. The TGV (the ultra-fast French express train) comes from Paris to Toulouse Matabiau from where local trains connect with our nearest train station - Saverdun. There are also Motorail connections from various European cities to Toulouse and Narbonne. Car hire (a car is essential) can easily be arranged at either Airport and at Toulouse Matabiau.