Barri d’Amont and La Cachette are located in the village of Rivel, in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, on the edge of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France – see map below.
The nearest airports are at Toulouse and Carcassonne. By car it is 90 minutes south-east of Toulouse, and 50 minutes south-west Carcassonne. Rivel is also very close to the Spanish border which can be reached within 90 minutes by car.
It is a stunningly beautiful and relatively unknown part of France: winding roads take you through undulating valleys, past fields of sunflowers, through lush green forests, often opening up to majestic vistas of the Pyrenees. Streams and lakes feed off the winter snowfall, and provide welcome relief for swimming in the summer. There is a stream at Rivel for paddling; there is a small lake for swimming and fishing at Puivert, 5 minutes away, and you can enjoy more swimming, fishing and sailing at the larger lake at Montbel which is only 10 minutes away.
Home of the Cathar believers, the valleys surrounding Rivel boast a rich historical heritage. Their impressive castles and fortresses are open for the public who can roam around their hallowed ruins. Close to Rivel are the mystical ruins of Montsegur, where the Cathars made their last stand against the Crusaders, and the well-preserved remains of Puivert castle. A little further afield, but easily achieved in a day trip, are the sites of Puilaurens, Peyrepertuse and Queribus.
This area is a walker’s and cyclist’s paradise! There are several well-marked trails leading off direct from Rivel and beyond: and we have a bunch of walking maps for you to use. The Tour de France almost always passes nearby Rivel – in 2012 the route went straight through the village! – and both road cyclists and mountain bikers of all levels will enjoy the challenges the terrain provides. We can put you in touch with a local business that hires out all kinds of bikes at very good rates.
And of course, there is the abundance of southern French wine, produce and cuisine to enjoy. Not to be missed: the fabulous food and clothing market every Monday morning in the medieval town of Mirepoix (about 25 minutes away). And in neighbouring villages during July and August delightful evening markets tempt you with local delicacies such as escargots (snails), magret de canard (fillet of duck breast) and churros (a sort of sticky sweet donut).
When you get here we’ll provide you with a list of “tried and tested” restaurants, cafés and bistros in the area – from à la carte fine dining, to rustic village auberges. We can also offer suggestions for excellent local wineries where you can enjoy tastings of superb wines, including the region’s famous sparkling wine, the Blanquette de Limoux.
Here’s a handy Google map showing the location of Rivel.