- House / Villa
- Village / Rural
- Internet Access
- Log Fire
- Courses Available
- Horse Riding
This lovely stone property in the the Ariege Pyrenées National Park, Midi-Pyrenées, offers wonderful views west with fabulous sunsets over the mountains. Situated in a tranquil hamlet at 800m altitude, not far from the Spanish border, it is superb for walking and all outdoor activities. It is well placed for exploring the cultural and historical wealth of Ariege. Reduced price available for couples. Full board painting holidays offered.
Leaving the Garbet valley (famous for its “Montreurs d`Ours”) between Oust and Ercé, you follow a lane which twists and turns among woods and flowers, always climbing, to its end - and there is Miramont, a little paradise on earth overlooking the Bassin d` Oust. Nestling on the slopes beneath the proud ruins of Charlemagne's Chateau de Mirabat it consists today of eleven attractively renovated barns and houses."Le Pichet" is at the entrance of this pretty hamlet. Originally a barn, it is built, like many others in the region, partly into the hillside, and adjoins “La Carrette”, the original farmhouse which we are now also lucky enough to own. There is no through traffic except for the occasional car going to a couple of houses further up the hamlet. Almost all the houses are French- owned "maisons secondaires" - Miramont is a very friendly little community but this in no way impinges on the privacy of individual properties.
With its majestic peaks soaring to the Spanish border, and the gentler beauty of its lower wooded valleys and slopes, the Haut-Couserans remains one of France’s best-kept secrets - a little-discovered, unspoilt gem tucked far away from the stresses of modern life. It has a rich and varied history of which the locals are fiercely and justly proud. Within the immediate vicinity- the valleys of the Garbet, Ustou and Salat- are the starting points of a tremendous number of beautiful walks (see further information), as well as canoe/kayak/rafting, fishing, riding, ski-ing at Guzet and an Accrobranch Tree Adventure Park. For cyclists, we are in the middle of some of “le Tour'”s most challenging cols; but there are many gentler routes, as well as beautiful mountain biking trails, and a recently opened descent park at Guzet. You can relax afterwards in the Centre de Bien- Etre in the local spa town of Aulus-les Bains.
Despite its apparent seclusion,the Haut-Couserans is easily accessible. Miramont is 1h from the A64 (Toulouse-Bayonne Autoroute); 1h30 from Toulouse-Blagnac (Easyjet, Ryanair,British Airways and Flybe) and 2h from Lourdes/Tarbes and Carcassonne airports(Ryanair) Detailed road directions are sent on reservation. The characterful local villages of Oust and Seix have small but well-stocked supermarkets, excellent butchers' and bakers', and a good selection of restaurants specialising in regional cuisine among which the "Restaurant/Bar du Garbet" in Oust is outstanding. You may also like to visit the charming Jardin du Curé and Chateau in Seix, the Musée des Colporteurs, and the Gallo -Roman church of Vic d'Oust. Seix has a small market on Wednesdays. St.Girons, with a large selection of shops, supermarkets and restaurants, and a wonderful Saturday market, is 20k away. Medieval Foix has another delightful market on Fridays, and Toulouse, Carcassonne and Lourdes are all within 2h drive. For further shopping opportunities, Andorra is 3h away.
Toulouse 125 km; Carcassonne 138km; Tarbes-Lourdes 142km.
Available at airports
We have lovingly restored “le Pichet” over many years to retain as many of its original features as possible - the "pas d'oiseaux" originally built for thatching purposes, and the beams of the old roof structure. It is tastefully and comfortably furnished, and hung with our own paintings and embroideries. Rodney is a professional sculptor, and his works (when not being exhibited elsewhere) provide the finishing personal touches. The ground floor consists of a comfortable dining room with a welcoming wood-burning stove, bathroom and well -equipped kitchen; a lovely oak staircase leads to the high-ceilinged lounge on the first floor (where the canapé gigogne can also be used as 2 single beds if wished.) On either side of this are situated the two delightful bedrooms- a chalet- style room with a double bed and a second larger room with one single and one double bed. The house benefits from superb light, particularly in the afternoons and evenings.
The lovely west-facing garden is an idyllic place to relax and enjoy the view, and offers stunning sunsets over the mountains. Planted with roses, honeysuckle and clematis, it is a magical spot in all seasons; you are most welcome to use its abundant herbs in your cooking,and to help yourselves to raspberries, rhubarb and salad when available. There is a shaded paved area ideal for preparing your barbecue or enjoying an aperitif in the warm evening light. Please note, if you are coming with children, that the garden is not enclosed but as Miramont is at the end of a lane with very little traffic, children can also play in security in the meadow, woods and lane nearby. Neither can we boast a manicured lawn- this is a mountain hamlet and the surface is, inevitably, a little uneven. Miramont has communal parking.
Walking here is simply superb, whatever your level - from gentle family strolls to those requiring “Randonneur Experimenté” status (such as the wartime escape route Le Chemin de la Liberté). You can walk directly from Miramont, locally in the stunningly beautiful Garbet, Ustou and Salat valleys or head for the challenging frontier peaks and cols whose starting points are within an hour's drive away. The area is extremely well served by waymarked trails- the GR10 which runs the full length of the Pyrenées, passes at several points within a few miles of Le Pichet and is easily accessible. Please do ask for details. Slightly further afield, in the Bethmale Valley (famed for its lake, clog-dancers and cheeses); and in the Haut -Ariege above Foix you can enjoy canyoning, climbing and waterskiing. St Girons houses le Musée du Chemin de la Liberté; Medieval Foix, with its impressive chateau fort, the Grottes de Niaux/Lombrives with their prehistoric paintings, the underground River of Labouiche, (a boat ride through amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations), the Grotte du Mas d'Azil and the talc mines at Trimoulins are within easy reach and the Observatory of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, now open to the public via a stunning cable car journey) is within 2 hours drive.
Conditions of Rental
Outside the main holiday periods a reduced price is offered for couples requiring the use of one bedroom only. (see prices). Sheets & towels, (£15 per person per week) and final cleaning (£70 or £60 depending on bedrooms) ) are an optional extra. A deposit of 25-30% (depending on the total) will be charged on reservation, the balance to be paid 6 weeks before arrival. A caution of £300 (€350) is required on arrival. Outside school holidays, “Le Pichet” is available for weekends and short breaks. Changeover day is Saturday in high/very high season, flexible at other times. A contract and conditions of letting will be sent on reservation. We accept cheques or cash in euros or sterling but regret that we do not take credit cards. Please do contact us for any further information about the house and area, or for information about our painting holidays. We very much look forward to welcoming you!