Some of us are home now from our official summer vacations and others are wondering what our next destination will be. If you are in France and plan on meandering along the wine route from the Cote d’Azur to Bordeaux (which we did in June on our way to Vinexpo in Bordeaux) there is a new Garrigae resort – Les Jardins de Saint-Benoît. (www.garrigaeresorts.com) which officially opened July 1st.
This slice of paradise is located in the village of St. Laurent de la Carbrerisse between the medieval city of Carcassonne and Narbonne. The vineyards of Corbières are within tasting distance.
Designed as a village within a village, “les Jardins” is part organic (bio) spa, and sustainable home-away-from home complete with a nature-club (lots of activities for children). The lively outdoor pool is complemented by the quieter and more meditative indoor pool and adults can luxuriate in the steam bath and then sink into a massage with custom blended essential oils while the children are entertained by nature classes or helping the staff to harvest herbs in the medieval garden. After your massage, your senses will delight and soak it all in while you relax and sip your herbal tea overlooking a cloistered garden with an ancient olive tree.
The dining at “les Jardins” is a testament to Mediterranean culture. The Languedoc-Rousillon region, in the south, has touches of Spanish and Italian influence in their cuisine and contains 740,300 acres of vineyards (3 times the size of Bordeaux!) and is the largest wine producing region in France.
The large weekend brunch is an antipasto table (or tables!) filled with fresh and local goodies; seafood salads, freshly cook shrimp, charcuterie, cheeses and veggies or Chef Sebastien will cook something to order from the menu. An outdoor BBQ fires up for lunch only, but as you are in France, expect a fabulous menu and wine list with many choices.
Our accommodations were on the grand size, a Maison/Villa with living room, kitchen downstairs and 3 bedrooms upstairs, with our own private small pool. It’s amazing how luxurious it gets outside the center of Paris and how far your Euros can go here. You can bring the whole family as there is certainly plenty to keep everyone busy or consider this a romantic getaway in a surprisingly beautiful region waiting to be explored.
Do not miss a visit to the nearby town of Lagrasse. This pretty village in the Corbieres region has a Medieval Abbey founded in 799 and is on the Orbieu river, good for swimming and cooling off in the summer heat. It is officially “one of the most beautiful villages in France.” On Sundays there is a lively market and people are out and about in their Sunday best enjoying the people-watching in cafes.
In 2010 we are planning wine tours of this region mixed in with some Cathar country historical sights.
Let us know if you are interested and want further information. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Les Jardins de Saint-Benoît
11220 Saint Laurent de la Cabrerisse
Tel: +33 (0) 4 68 44 18 70