Four days in the Languedoc-Roussillon by Jim Beattie
Our weekend started early, on Thursday in fact, with a morning flight from London to the compact airport in Beziers. We left the English capital under rain and arrived, as we had so fervently hoped, under a haze of glorious sunshine. There was no time to enjoy it yet though, as we had a busy schedule ahead of us.
Our first stop was to the site of the future tourist residence in Juvignac– set in 445 acres of land it will offer furnished apartments and a swimming pool, close to Fontcaude golf course (ref 30871). Speaking of golf, we moved on to the leaseback development Domaine du Golf Fabregues (ref 14161), where we stayed the night. The residence offers a range of facilities, including of course the golf course (excellent for a novice like me as it is only 6 holes) and a pool, but it also includes a spa and a restaurant, perfect for a relaxing mini-break. Before our evening meal we met a new partner of Sextant’s, who showed us the location of a new leaseback project near Beziers.
Our stomachs rumbling, we proceeded into Beziers itself in search of our evening meal. Strolling along the beach we found the answer to our prayers- a paillotte, or beach hut. These delightful structures pop up over the summer and serve the freshest seafood around, then like some fragile flower, they vanish for the winter only to reappear again the following year. I feasted on fresh prawns and bourride, the popular fish stew with chilli and garlic mayonnaise. Rosé was on tap to wash it all down, as the sun set, framing the local fairground in the background, a sort of Mediterranean Coney Island.
Friday was another sunny day. We decided to breakfast in Montpellier, the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon. It is a vibrant city with a beautiful old town, bursting with history. The architecture especially is interesting, and a real mix, including an 18th century water tower, an aqueduct, the medieval Ancient Courrier and a host of delightful narrow streets. It’s also mainly pedestrian, making strolling along even more pleasant. Bakeries and cafes are a dime a dozen here, with enticing smells of freshly ground coffee and croissants wafting through the air. In the afternoon, we drove to a superb development near Carcassonne, a magnificent vineyard and spa estate (ref 24659). The collection of intimate houses, stylishly decorated and furnished to the highest standards really compliments the use of local materials (flagstones, wrought iron and stone). The reception house in particular took our breath away, with its beautiful Spa, Hammam and pool, the chic bar and restaurant and panoramic views from the terraces. Carrying on with the luxury feel, we headed to the La Redorte chateau (ref 26624), currently languishing in faded grandeur but soon to be rehabilitated into a stunning development of apartments and villas. Recalling its glorious wine producing past, the red liquid will flow once again, with 12 bottles of wine a year to be offered to each owner! We even visited the secret tunnel where the process will begin anew. Following this visit we felt a little parched ourselves and decided we wanted to experience wine tasting too. We found a charming local producer and a wizened old lady with a sale’s technique to beat any property mogul had me surrendering my hard-earned cash in exchange for a few bottles.
Dinner was a glorious affair in the attractive town of Pezenas. I supped on breast of duck in a succulent fig sauce, one of the best meals I’d had in a long while. We chose to visit the place properly the following day, and returned, tired but satisfied, to our living quarters in Herepian. The former convent here has been delightfully renovated now offering six contemporary yet classic suites. Needless to say, we slept well.
On our final day, we woke early to properly explore Pezenas. Its Saturday market seemed to attract the whole region, and for good reason. The array of mouth-watering produce on offer was staggering- cheeses, sausages, fresh fish, fruit (watermelon, cherries, apricots, nectarines…) and vegetables (the asparagus is renowned). Quaint squares are to be seen at every turn, with cafes and restaurants each more appealing than the next. The birth place of Moliere (France’s answer to Shakespeare), the playwright is celebrated in many ways, notably in street and cafe names and every summer impromptu plays are staged in courtyards for the delight of locals and tourists alike. We took the opportunity to view a development near Pezenas, which offers furnished luxury apartments in restored 19th century buildings. At its heart lies a swimming pool and spa with a tiled Mediterranean courtyard, with full guest services and conference rooms, ideal for investors (ref 24697).
Along from Pezenas lies Marseillan, a picturesque fishing port by the lagoon. Here the Port Rive Gauche development is entirely sold out- a charming rustic decor and uninterrupted sea views made sure of that.
We managed to pack a lot into our morning, and after a lovely lunch on the promontory with views over the bay and the beach, we drove to Sete, known as the Venice of Languedoc. We took in a hotel residence right by the sea (ref 29546), and slightly further out a modern residence set in the hills with a pool and landscaped gardens (ref 14243). La Grande Motte, a seaside resort 45 minutes east of here offers a leaseback development nestled in a large landscaped park with swimming pools and leisure facilities, ideal for investment as the resort is very popular among the French (ref 30108).
Finally, for a bit of relaxation, we headed 15 minutes east to Aigues Mortes. This beautiful fortified medieval town is set between the sea and lagoons, making for spectacular scenery. The development in the Aigues Mortes marina doesn’t disappoint (ref 27053), with small but perfectly formed Mediterranean houses, reminiscent of fishermen’s dwellings, some with their own moorings. Inside the town walls, the plethora of cafes, boutiques and restaurants see life go by at a slow, relaxed pace. It really is the perfect place to unwind. We enjoyed a leisurely meal of pizza with an ice cold beer, a lovely end to our trip.
On Sunday morning we flew back from Montpellier airport. Our flight was at 10 am and we were back on British soil by 1pm, so quickly it felt like we’d never left…
If you’re still unsure where to buy in the Languedoc, and weighing up the pros and cons of Sete, Marseillans, Aigues Mortes or any other town, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Direct line: 020 7428 4915
Tags: Investment Provence Cote d'Azur, Leaseback Provence Cote d'Azur, New development Provence Cote d'Azur
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