When well-traveled folks think of Languedoc, they conjure up visions of Cathar Castles, troubadours, tree lined canals and rich red wines. It is in an old village among these traditions that we find Chez Alvilde. This stone dwelling, now stucco covered, is a modest house when judged by its exterior. But inside the Canadian owner has turned the four-bedroom vacation rental into a comfortable headquarters for enjoying everything that is on offer in the south of France. In the village of Pepieux there are many services to make life easy—a grocery store with butcher counter, a bike rental shop, a boulangerie for your morning supply of baguettes and croissants, a news shop, a pharmacy and a cafe at the nearby lake where you can gather with the locals for a late afternoon pastis. Pepieux has its own public tennis court and a wonderful guarded swimming lake just a five minute drive from the house. Two miles away the larger market town of Olonzac has a bank/ATM machine
Chez Alvilde sits on a quiet lane off the main road and there is plenty of off street parking adjacent to the house. The only noise to disturb this peaceful setting is the hourly chime of the church bell. Pepieux sits in the exact center of the Minervois wine growing region between Narbonne, Bezier and Carcassonne (each thirty minutes away), between the Montagne Noire and the Pyrenees. So you will never be short of excursions that amuse and inform.
Chez Alvilde’s entry opens into a long hallway: to the right is a spacious eat-in kitchen with a fireplace, fridge-freezer, dishwasher, ceramic stove top, and built in oven. On the left of the entry hall there is a powder room (WC/sink) and a separate shower room with basin. The double doors at the rear of the hallway open into an especially large and light living/dining room. A big, characteristic French window opens onto the private rear courtyard where you can dine out or barbecue. A comfortable upholstered sofa faces the working 16thC fireplace, while nice tables and plenty of reading light render this room perfect for a curl up and read evening. In front of the luminous windows there is a nice dining table and chairs seating six. This room is lovely and a perfect setting for morning croissants and coffee. In the corner by the window is a satellite TV with English language service. There is a DVD player attached.
The entry hall has a curved stairway leading to the second floor which has four bedrooms: one with twin beds and the other three bedrooms with standard (140cm) double beds. There is a newly installed tiled bathroom with big corner tub/shower, sink and WC. Upstairs in the loft there is a washing machine for guest use.
Chez Alvilde will appeal to travelers wanting the convenience of village life and services paired with a location that provides spectacular touring opportunities. Only a forty minute drive from the Narbonne TGV train station and just forty-five minute's drive from the Med beaches, this clean and well prepared village house is a perfect setting for a relaxed holiday: bike along the Canal du Midi or through miles of vineyards, search out and explore Cathar castles, visit the famous walled city of Carcassonne... or perhaps just a stroll down the lanes of Pepieux and stop for a pastis before dinner.
Chez Alvilde is well supplied with linens, coffee maker, iron/ironing board — those little touches that give guests peace of mind. All in all, this big old house is good value catering to a group of friends or family. The owner limits occupancy to six persons.