I want to start with staying, if your bag is rolling countryside, complete rest and relaxation away from the crazy busy lives that we have, this place, is your thing. Admittedly we did have to involve ourselves with some mild food preparation tasks, but this generally involved throwing together soft cheeses (brie being our french fav) french stick, olives and various continental meats.
We flew Easyjet, and I will say I couldn’t fault them, we booked the flights back at the beginning of the year and I think the general idea is; the earlier you book the cheaper the seats. I never prebook our seats online until the night before but, if you’re flying with children you will always be seated with them, one adult to one child ratio at least. Fortunately for us, we were all placed together both ways.
We took a hire car from Toulouse airport, which we pre-booked in the UK with Hertz, this was so straight forward, if you’ve wanted to hire a car abroad but not quite had the confidence to; do it. The freedom that it gives you is amazing, especially with little ones, they love the adventure. We didn’t book with SatNav but thank goodness we got it, it made life HUGELY easier, I think possibly if you stick with a highly rated reputable hire company most cars will come standard with this, I’ve since learnt. The village, Beauville where the Chateau Montoussel is located is 45 minutes from Toulouse.
Montoussel is utterly magnificent, take a fairly tale castle, line it with pots of hydrangeas and add the most beautiful view for miles of the local countryside and you have a little insight to the beauty of this place. We were greeted by Baloo, the labrador and Will, one half of the chateau’s husband and wife owner’s.
We were taken to our gite (The Mutley) which was everything I expected. Decorated surprisingly modern, but still with the rustic french charm; it used to be an old chicken barn, which has been lovingly restored by the owners. The views from our gite were gorgeous, with floor to ceiling windows, which we loved, really bringing the beauty from outside, in. The kitchen was well equipt, we had a huge four poster bed in the main bedroom and the sweetest twin bedroom. My children love sharing a bedroom on holiday, lots of giggling and evening chats took place, which is so lovely. We had a terrace, a bbq, and next door a utility room, which, as sad as it sounds, to do the odd bit of washing here and there allowed me to return home after two weeks away with only two loads of washing. Happy days!
We spent our days lounging around the pool, which was used by all three gites, and exploring the local area. Places we loved, and are well worth visiting, are the markets; the best and biggest being the one in Revel, the lake at Ferreol (great for watersports, pedalos and sunbathing) the Toulouse Space Centre is a brilliant day out, we loved the 3D iMax cinema, which documents a real life space adventure. The Canal Di Midi, the castle at Carcassonne and the village of Saint Felix, so picture postcard perfect and is VERY insta-friendly! Travelling with a nine and five year old its so very important to us to ALL get out of a holiday. As much as we all love the pool, we love to really get a feel for the country we’re visiting and to mix with the locals providing the children with a fun, but educational and cultural experience. It was so sweet listening to them trying out the language, looking up little words in the french phrase book, I think they really enjoyed that aspect, as well as picking their tasty treats from the boulangarie, the pain au chocolat’s were a hit!
What I loved so much was the complete peace that this place provided, you could literally drive for miles without seeing another car or person, just miles and miles of sunflowers. Now this, I can handle.
I think overall it was the title touches that really made this place our haven, I prepared a shopping list back in the UK, so that Will could do my first shop for me, I arrived to fresh bread, milk and all of the essentials, including wine! The freshly delivered basket of veg on our first morning, as a treat. The picnic blankets, parasols and picnic baskets available for us to use at any time, to take out for the day, the locked wooden picket fence around the pool which allowed us to relax in the evening, allowing the children to explore without worrying that one will take a dip without us watching, and the sweetest silkie bantams greeting us in the morning. The owners were always on hand to supply directions, tips and advice whenever we needed it, but also providing us with the space and privacy needed on a holiday, the list really is endless.
Please do contact me for any further information, I would be happy to provide any further knowledge I have on this area, I have also added some helpful website links for accommodation, flights, and car hire.
But for now,