La petite French romance
Travel Supplement

La petite French romance

Diane Spender and her husband lingered in Languedoc for a weekend without the children and loved it

Chateau Les Carrasses
Chateau Les Carrasses

Here’s a suggestion. Take a short flight to Béziers, pick up a hire car and then enjoy a slow drive through the beautiful Languedoc countryside and vineyards.

Stop for a moment at a café  to marvel at the boats on the Canal du Midi and then, after a refreshing citron pressé, proceed on your journey.

Then, when you are just outside of Capestang, turn off the ignition, revel in the silence and look ahead at Château Les Carrasses, the stunning fairytale turreted 19th century castle that you are about to call home for the next few days.

Château Les Carrasses is the sort of glamorous continental residence Cary Grant and Grace Kelly would have stayed  at in a 1950s screen romance.

I was beginning to wish I’d packed a hat and gloves as we were escorted to our apartment, the Bridal Suite or Le Grand Salon, as it is officially known – which was odd for a couple married for 20 years, but who were we to argue?

And nor did we as we were rendered totally speechless entering our salon – a two-bedroom apartment, with open-plan kitchen and living area, which was extremely spacious with a pale grey stylish décor and all mod-cons.

Le Grand Salon, living room
Le Grand Salon, living room

“What a shame the girls are at home revising,” I said to Cary, I mean my husband Mike, who was unfazed by their absence and, instead, focused on the amazing views of the infinity pool and vineyards surrounding the château.

Of course I had to try out the free-standing bath in the bedroom holding a glass of rosé and then have a nap on the comfiest bed (with an extra soft topping) I have ever slept on.

Château Les Carrasses is a luxury family orientated resort, and has been beautifully renovated into 28 stylish suites, apartments and villas.

Accommodation ranges from double-bedded apartments to three-bedroom houses in the winery’s old outbuildings, many with private sun terraces and pools.

The estate is the perfect mix of self-catering and hotel facilities, which include that magnificent infinity pool, floodlit clay tennis courts, boules court, barbecue area, complimentary mountain bikes, a kid’s club and bistro and bar.

Diane in Pézenas
Diane in Pézenas

There is everything here you need for a great family break, too.

If you simply want to relax and unwind by the pool, the views from the terrace are best enjoyed with one of the Château’s house wines, made with grapes grown in the surrounding vineyards.

There was a wine tasting prior to dinner on Friday night, one of a planned series of events to make the Château a centre of both local and visitor interest.

Cuisine being at the heart of everyday life here, dinner at its brasserie was wonderful, offering fresh Mediterranean dishes using local produce with tapas style starters, followed by a slow cooked lamb, in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. There is also a good choice of fish on the menu.

If you can tear yourself away from the pool, the bed, the wine glass… there are plenty of things to keep you busy in the area, and hotel manager Lucy and her excellent team were always on hand with great advice.

Our first experience of this region was of Poilhes, the laid-back sleepy French village, where we stopped for a delicious lunch and our fifth (I think) glass of rosé at La Tour Sarrasine, positioned in a lovely location along the banks of the Canal du Midi.

Pézenas has the best market to go to in Languedoc on a Saturday morning, as it takes over the whole of the town centre and offers a great range of regional food, clothing, flowers and general knick-knacks.

A short drive from Les Carrasses brings you to the golden stretch of sand on the Mediterranean coast.


Wander along the quays of Marseillan port and allow yourself to be transported  by the gentle sound of water lapping on the boat hulls.

The surrounding restaurants offer delicious fish of all kinds and one shouldn’t miss a tour of La Maison Noilly Prat to discover the history and traditional craft of one of the first French vermouths.

Minerve is a picturesque fortified medieval village situated on top of the gorge of the River Cesse and is a must-see.


On our final day, we went over to the sister estate, Chateau St Pierre de Serjac, a magnificent château estate, which mirrors the style of Les Carresses. The pool and view are to die for; an excellent infinity pool and views over the vineyards.

Food at Serjac
Food at Serjac

We were shown around by marketing manager Darren, who explained how the château had been renovated into what it is today, with an extremely inviting spa that is open to all the guests.

You can book a variety of treatments, from deep pore facials to energising scrubs, but I opted for a relaxing Moroccan argan oil massage, followed by an outstanding three-course lunch in the restaurant.

All of these meals were complimented with a dazzling assortment of wines (I don’t think I’ve drunk so much wine in the space of a weekend before).

Château Les Carrasses is a rare find in a stunning setting with amazing food and drink and friendly attentive staff who work hard to make sure you have a great time.

And we certainly did.

Getting there

The Languedoc region is easy to reach – fly with Ryanair to Béziers (30 minutes), or easyJet to Perpignan (50 minutes), Montpellier (1 hour) or Carcassone (1 hour)

For further information on Château Les Carrasses: visit, and for
Château St Pierre de Serjac visit

To enquire or make a booking, call 0845 686 8067, or email

A one-night stay costs from 249 Euro during high season (sleeps two).

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