We leave Spain on Day 14 – what must be the hottest day ever. A late night before and an early morning means we are a bit fraught, but looking forward to the next part of our adventure. We would be terribly upset if we were going home already – it seems that time is passing by at the speed of a train!
We bake in the car, but the traffic gods are on our side as it seems the whole of France is heading south, but we have fast moving roads with light traffic. The sun is relentless, and we see no clouds all the way through Spain, across the border in to the Languedoc-Rousillon. Vineyards stretch out before us, and the land reminds us of the desert.
We have to park the car for a siesta only an hour and a half into the journey. This might be a difficult stretch. WeeR is patient in the back of the car and removes his t-shirt with no word of complaint against the heat.
Narbonne means we turn onto the A61 and head towards Carcassonne and Toulouse. An ice lolly and some water from the fridge at the service station refreshes us suitably and soon we are in the Corbieres, with more vines, but more green also – onwards to the Aquitane. Cows in the fields. Rolling landscapes with a huge variety of trees, fields of sunflowers, and hay bales. We are in the land of the bastide and the pigeonnaires and spires and turrets peak out from amongst the trees.
Arriving at La Tuilerie is a welcome respite form the heat of the car. Our hosts Johnny and Alison are exceptional. The location is superb – just off the motorway – yet we are completely surrounded by countryside.
La Tuilerie itself is a magnificent property. A renovated cattle barn, it is a vast space and houses lots of rooms upstairs. Beams everywhere and nooks and crannies. A grand fireplace, and even grander table greet us.
Our room is perfect – the sun is setting outside our grand French windows – and we overlook the tall black barn which Johnny xplains over dinner once housed the tobacco crop. We are tempted out straight away into the large pool and feel immediately at home. This is of course helped greatly by the ease and generosity shown by our hosts, their children, friends and other guest.
Alison serves dinner round the biggest round table you’ve ever seen – I swear King Arthur and his Knights might once have sat in this very spot. We are spoilt with 3 delicious courses and excellent local wine. The vegetarian issue is no problem at all for this skilled hostess – and she continues to work hard throughout dinner to make everyone feel at home. Coffee on the terrace, and the kids are back in the swimming pool – it is after midnight when we manage to drag them out. WeeR is having such fun!
The morning is upon us too soon and the pigeons conduct conversation with each other outside our window. Breakfast comprises the most enormous pastries, interesting confituire and the quintissential coffees and hot chocolate.
Alison et al are once again bright, breezy and cheerful hosts. We take advantage of their hospitality and stay longer than is strictly polite when bed and breakfasting, but our hosts continue to encourage us to take advantage.
We decide upon further exploration of the grounds and buildings. This is definitely an impressive set up. Johnny tells us the barn housing the stables used to be used for tobacco. It was a popular crop in the area, and the tall, black barns are instantly recognisable.
Alas! There is no time for horse-riding, but we we do manage a refreshing walk in the countryside. It is not so hot today, so we’re able to enjoy the fresh air and I’m reminded of home as we walk through the woods.
The fields, not so much. French fields are always so much prettier
More fun at the pool and we are ready for the next part of the adventure. This is indeed a special place to stay and cannot be recommended enough – particularly for a family.
Another 5/5 on the ratings – Go on, book yourself a fabulous time in France!
Wish you were here…
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