Text by Olivia Lopez
After ten days in Paris spent basking in small-talk, bisous kisses and drinking wine well into the night for the fête that was Fashion Week, I hopped on a train from Gare de Lyon to Carcassonne in a state of unrecovered jet lag and sleep deprivation. The journey would last five hours total, and for the first time in two weeks I looked forward to sitting still for the train ride. Three hours into the commute I watched the flickering landscape transform. The gray, industrial outskirts of Paris had disappeared into rolling green vineyards dotted with stone farm houses.
In that moment I realized how potent the effect of nature is the moment you leave the noise of a city. What happened next was possibly a projection of our spout of good luck with the weather. But the moment the clouds parted to expose a blue sky, my mind shifted to a state of calm and clarity.
We arrived a day early at Camellas Lloret, a bed and breakfast in the village of Montréal located in the Aude. The Aude, unlike some of its neighbors, is unique for its authentic, rural charm devoid of pretenses. It’s a region that is known for its natural beauty and an understated allure.
After a warm bath and a full night sleep at Camellas, the sights, the sounds and the smells of the South became alive. Time moves slow here in a pace that heightens your senses. Whether it’s detecting the floral notes of spring or spurning a new appreciation for fresh bread from the local boulangerie, the purity and simplicity of the country side introduced a new way of living that I had never known to crave before.
These recommendations below are guided by our host Annie and Collin of Camellas Lloret, who warmly invited us to experience their lifestyle in the South of France.
Explore the region surrounding Cité de Carcassonne, a beautiful town in the South of France surrounded by vineyards and Cathar Castles.
Check into Camellas Lloret, a bed and breakfast with rooms swathed in natural light. The interiors are decorated with a flair of French countryside with a pared down minimalism.
Visit Les Jardins de Vaissieres, a family operated grocer that proudly sells some of the regions most vibrant produce.
Drop by the town of Mierpoix, where you can stroll along the central square and admire the half-timbered houses supported on wood pillars, along with a quirky cast of restaurants surrounding the center square.
Visit Cité de Carcassonne, a medieval citadel and UNESCO heritage site. Hotel de la Cité Carcassonne offers some of the best views from the castle and hosts a quiet atmosphere for a drink al fresco.
A spring time spritz with blood orange and sparkling wine.
If your trip to the Aude happens to fall on a Saturday, a must visit is the outdoor Farmer's Market at Place Carnot. The open market is great for cheese tasting, buying fresh flowers or general people watching from one of the many cafés around the market.