Camellas Lloret ~ The unexpected highlight of my summer 2017

I can hand on heart say I’ve never gone from such a high level of ready-to-explode anxiety to such a zen state of mind than when I was greeted at the door of Camella’s Lloret last August by owners Annie (an interior designer from New York) and Colin (an South African ex rugby playing Chiropracter).

They met on a train leaving Paris in 1982, and thirty years, three kids, and many adventures later they fell for this classic 18th-century house in an unspoiled corner of the south of France and Camellas Lloret was born. Together they dreamed of creating a place to celebrate and share the pleasures of french life with friends and travellers.

I was 7+ months pregnant and we’d been in 35+ degree heat driving back from Spain all day in an un-air conditioned vintage car (yes beautiful, no not ideally comfortable in my raging hormonal state). “It’ll be a wonderful drive!” he says… I was crying inside, it was one of the busiest days for travelling in the summer holidays and I just wanted to go back to Paris after 2 weeks away and nest. I was dying to start building nursery furniture.

There was no signal for our sat-nav or mobiles which didn’t help us much in tracking down the address. I was just about at the end of my patience (call it pregnancy hormones, and i’ll leave it at that..) so I get out of the car and set about finding it on foot once we knew we’d made it to the right village.

Down the quietest cul-de-sac in Montréal in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, is this beautiful and utterly magical haven of tranquility. I ring the door bell and am greeted by Annie, “You found us!”. I could have thrown my arms around her. We’d spent the last two weeks with wonderful friends, but it was heavy heavy French, and I needed a time out. Annie and Colin welcomed us into the courtyard (once I’d found Etienne a few streets away cursing at the sat-nav) and were immediately offered a glass of wine, it took us no longer than reaching the terrace off the living room to settle in and feel totally at home here.

I’ll also mention we’d only called Annie as we were setting off from Spain that morning. Etienne knew we were driving past Carcassonne so it wasn’t a detour at all to stop here. It was the height of the summer, but luck was on our side.

We were given room three (from 160€ a night) at the top of the house.

 

Colin took charge and booked us in at a local restaurant, he drew us a map and I went off for a nap. Restored, we set off for dinner along the canal and bumped into an Italian couple who were also staying at the house.

Before we set off for dinner we’d asked if we could stay another night, and came home to this note stuck to our door ❤.

Waking up to this… heaven. I flung open the windows and peered my head out to see who was already up for breakfast.

Fresh pastries, fruits, freshly baked cake, cereals and hot coffee, the perfect start to the day…

The cosy living room, filled with beautiful books on art, photography and travel, with an honesty bar at the back, through the curved door is another guest bedroom.

The potting shed outside in the courtyard, and also just a tranquil place to sit with a book.

The garden apartment (from 190€ a night) is independent to the main house. With a dining/kitchen on the ground floor, and up to a bedroom, bathroom and loft style living room above.

Above, the stairs from our room in the main house to the entrance.

So day two for us was one of my most memorable of the summer. I’d completely relaxed, and again Colin to the rescue, he drew us a wonderful map on a napkin of places to explore that day.

We began the morning in Mirepoix, a place we knew already after having passed through on a car rally a couple of Easters ago. The market town was in full swing, and we set about searching for little shops to dip into. I was on the hunt for bed time stories for the nursery shelves.

Lac de Montbel was our next stop. Park up and grab your beach towel, this artificial lake shines the brightest turquoise blue, and you could easily spend the afternoon here having a dip and hiring a canoe.

By now we were thirsty! Our next stop was Brasserie du Quercorb. We drove along the most beautiful country lanes to Puivert. A husband and wife team left their television careers in London and set up this microbrewery in January 2014. About an hour from Carcassonne, you can’t quite believe how in this very remote area, you come across such creative little hive of creativity.

We also bumped into a couple who were also staying at Camellas Lloret, we must have all been using the same napkin map from Colin!

There were 4 rotating taps selling the freshest, tastiest craft beer from the stainless steel brewing tanks. Just a lemondade for me though, we’ve managed to find the beer in Paris now.

On weekends the food trucks arrive, they set up bbq’s in the summer, host gigs, and local musicians play in the evenings. The shop just next to the brewhouse sells bottles of beer for you to take home by the box. Etienne filled the boot.

A quick drive up to Puivert Castle before making the hour+ drive back to Camellas Lloret for dinner.

Earlier at breakfast, we were all invited to have dinner together in the courtyard that night, we jumped at the chance, so there we were with fellow guests from America and Italy, just the six of us quietly realising how lucky we were to be in such a special place that night.

We were served grilled peaches, haricot vert & duck confit. Followed by a local cheese board and chocolate ganache tart, heaven. It was a rare night in my entire pregnancy that I chose to forget about my diabetes and enjoy every bite (with an extra shot of insulin for good measure before bedtime!).

 

The boys were first down for breakfast that morning, perhaps they’d never left the table that night…

So there you have it, a restorative two nights at Camellas Lloret. Oh and a tip for you Brits, Carcassonne airport is close by with flights to and from London Stansted, so really you can make it for a weekend yourself.

Camellas Lloret, 4, rue de l’Angle, Montréal, Aude, France

We visited Camellas Lloret in August 2017

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