7 Rue Caterine (sleeps 2/5)
Smaller, more intimate, more luxurious than No 5. Master bedroom has California King-size bed, east-facing balcony with 'timeless" view. Second twin bedroom (or ping pong room) has outside access only. Single bed in living room, another on upstairs landing. Marble bathroom with sink, bidet, shower, bath, wc and meurtrier window.
Fully furnished kitchen with hob, oven, grill, fridge freezer, kettle, microwave, dishwasher and dining table, 4 chairs. Living room with suite and furniture, single day bed, small interesting library, wood burning stove.
Terraced entrance along front of cottage, bordered on other side by medieval ruins. Secluded private garden with Jasmine-covered dining table, with seating for 4, BBQ; herb garden.
Weekly change of all linen and towels, inc pool towels.
"We lost track of time immediately after arriving in Brissac. This place and its atmosphere is unique, dreamlike." "The setting is absolutely unique, views outstanding, & the gite very tastefully furnished."
"Sensitively restored" medieval cottages in the ramparts of the Château de Brissac-le-Haut provide a smooth-running background for your perfect holiday. Master bedrooms each have their own balcony with "timeless" and "spellbinding" view; both cottages also have their own private garden with a particularly agreeable outdoor dining area. "The garden was fantastic in the evenings, when we sat and watched the sky change colour, content to listen to the birdsong give way to the sound of crickets and frogs and watch the stars come out." The silence is tangible, broken only by the village clock, whose bell rings the hours and the half hours, accurate to within 25 minutes of world time, which suits Brissac just fine. "The most dramatic of swimming pools (sculpted into the rock on which the castle sits), with amazing views", is shared between the guests in the two cottages; if our family and friends are staying in the castle they also come down for a swim. The pool lies above and behind the cottages, safe and private behind high stone walls, accessed by your front door key. It is a natural shape, some 16 meters long and up to 3.5 meters deep - excellent for diving or a plunge to cool off. There are numerous sitting areas around the pool: on the decking, under the pine trees, or beside the pool house, which is furnished with a hot shower and a toilet and a well-equipped kitchenette with small refrigerator/freezer and hob, perfect for lunch beside the pool. Next to the pool is a large rock garden full of local aromatic plants which perfume the area and attract bees and butterflies. As the sun moves round during the day it is always possible to fine either sun or shade someplace around the pool. There is also a large terrace nearby with a marble table, six chairs and another BBQ for dinners under the stars. The cottages are originally of medieval construction, rebuilt as necessary, most recently some 40 years ago when they were restored from roofless ruins to provide holiday accommodation of the highest standard. They are the last houses in the village, with only the ruins of a medieval inn beyond. Your neighbours there will be the birds, the cicadas, the frogs, and the occasional tourist passing and returning on the Rue Caterine. The most important decision of the day becomes when to go up to the pool, or perhaps to have a day out and go down to St Guilhelm le Desert for a stroll round the church before an excellent meal of fresh trout, followed by a swim in the Herault on the way home. Brissac is a small rural village surrounded by extensive oak forests interspersed with small vineyards. Located between the Cévennes National Park and the Mediterranean Sea, Brissac is well placed for canoeing, walking, climbing and mountain biking. Nimes, Montpellier, Avignon, Arles, the modern bridge at Millau, Beziers, Sete, Carcassone, and the Mediterranean beaches are all within easy reach. Good restaurants are everywhere. "There is a huge amount to see and do and savour, but the most important is to fill yourselves full of the peace and serenity."
Top Traveller Review
About the Owner
About Vera Sampson
The castle which provides welcome shade to parts of the swimming pool in summer was purchased by my parents as a restoration project for their retirement. They had a lot of fun turning a roofless ruin into a family home of timeless beauty, but abandoned both project and castle when they became too old to manage the stairs.
They chose Brissac because it is moderately close to Montpellier, where my grandmother lived. There were other advantages too: Brissac is a charming and friendly village in an unspoiled rural setting. There is so much to see and do in this region that after nearly 50 years we have yet to visit everything it has to offer. And it offered a wonderful castle to restore.
Fortunately they had purchased some house ruins to protect the pool area from unsympathetic development, which they rebuilt to form the two cottages now known as No 5 and No 7 Rue Caterine. We have maintained the cottages to retain their original charm while ensuring that they provide a smooth running background for your perfect holiday, furnished to the standard that we ourselves would like to find in a holiday cottage. The French describe the lifestyle of those who live in castles as "La Vie de Chateau," which consists of lazy days surrounded by beautiful architecture, swimming in a unique private pool, interesting visits out, good companionship and good food. We gladly share these pleasures with our guests on the Rue Caterine, while sparing them the disadvantages of life in a real medieval castle: dicey plumbing, ghosts, and icy blasts howling round corners. Life on the Rue Caterine is luxurious, sybaritic, relaxing, a nice change from the modern world.
Vera Sampson purchased this cottage in 1960
Book directly by email with the owners.
Changeover Saturday. Please plan to arrive not earlier than 5pm, and to depart by 9.30 am to give us time to clean the cottaes to meet our very high standards.
Notes on prices:
Prices are for each property per week in Euros. Security deposit of €300 payable with final balance. From May through September bookings are from whole weeks only from Saturday to Saturday. Price includes ironed, white, hi-quality cotton bedlinen; duvets and feather or hypoallergenic pillows; bathroom and pool towels; tablecloths and tea towels; electricity, gas and water; selected kitchen & bathroom consumables, & final cleaning - just Pack & Walk Away. No electricity or consumables for long winter lets.
(5 traveller reviews)
Arrived quite late in the dark the castle is very impressive even more so the next day. We received a very warm welcome and the cottage was beautiful, very comfortable and very well kept. Great base for touring the area and the coast but every evening was back to the balcony for a glass of wine and the spectacular views. Love that balconey!!! We had such a relaxing and peaceful holiday, and we're still feeling the benefit. Will definitely be going back.
The holiday we didn't know we needed
We booked 7 Rue Caterine for a much needed break, and it delivered in spades. The weather was pretty much perfect (for which read well over 30 degrees and wall-to-wall blue skies!) for our week; we ate breakfasts under a huge jasmine canopy, then lolled by the (glorious) pool for much of our time in Brissac. We only really strayed out to investigate the Cirque de Navacelles (well worth a trip!), swimming spots in the Herault, and a fantastic meal in the village restaurant, Le Jardin aux Sources.
Vera, our host, couldn’t do enough to accommodate us, whether with her encyclopaedic knowledge of the area, a fascinating tour of the Chateau de Brissac, or simply by ensuring that our cottage wanted for nothing.
The Rue Caterine cottage is the most well-equipped holiday cottage we’ve ever stayed in, with a particularly comprehensive array of kitchen equipment, a very comfortable bed, and fabulous views from the balcony across the local area.
The market in Ganges, the nearest town, is one of the best French markets we’ve been to – we were only disappointed that we were heading home the day after so couldn’t take advantage of all the food on offer.
We can’t recommend this place enough, and are already planning a return visit.
Just breathe .....
Every now and agian you find a special place that will be somewhere you hold in your minds special photo album, Rue Caterine is one of those places. It is a place to make memories. We went to the cottage with walking boots and good intentions however they never came out of the car!!! We ate, drank, read and swam and it was wonderful.
The cottage has everything you need and everything you didn't know you needed, and if by chance you need something else Vera the delightful owner will sort it out, what an amazing lady she is.
We did the tour of the castle which Vera did for us and it was magical, something we will always remember, what this lady and her parents have done to a ruin is incredible, its a must see.
If you are in doubt just imagine this, go to bed in your huge comfy kingsize bed with the beautiful curtains fully drawn, awake to the most amazing sunrise I have seen, then have breakfast under the Jasmine in no7, pop to the market for goodies, lunch in the poolhouse, take the odd dip, read, watch the Parascenders, Eagles, Hummingbird moths etc, just breathe.
As mentioned previously there are some good places to eat nearby, our favourite right on your doorstep in Brissac is the Jardin aux Sources, fabulous, there is a little Epicerie for bits, a bar/cafe, a bakery and Butchers, you do not need much when living in the slow lane. Fabulous, loved it.
We have stayed at many places in southern France, but Vera Sampson’s apartments on rue Caterine in Brissac le Haut leave us never wanting to go elsewhere. This is the most breathtakingly scenic, unique, tranquil, and well-appointed apartment – in the walls surrounding 11th and 12th century towers and a full chateau– that one could ever find.
The complex being privately owned at the top of the hill, there is no traffic or passing tourists. It's hard to convey the view, overlooking from every window stunning countryside of antique southern France on all sides. The master bedroom porch balcony is the piece de la resistance, like living on a panoramic postcard.
The apartments are exceedingly well and thoughtfully appointed throughout, and Vera takes care to supply high cotton weave ironed sheets and puff on the master king bed. The bathroom, kitchen, living room, and great wood-burning stove are complemented by effective electric radiators if needed. Amenities like a fan, iron, full kitchen wear, candles, full-sized fridge, microwave, oven w 4 burner stove, come standard in both units. Décor = wonderful + a stunning pool.
Though it's wonderfully remote, our GPS located rue Caterine Brissac no problem. Get there via an amazingly beautiful winding drive on D4 from St. Guilhem (itself remarkable) or the still pleasant and quicker D989. Ganges, just N on D4, has a wonderful market Tuesday and Friday plus a great SuperU for other needs: even as you look out like a 12th century lord, modern amenities are only 12 min away.
The larger area cusps l’Herault & Cevennes = perfectly placed for stunning mountain drives and vistas, quaint towns wonderfully French, and a scant 2 hours pleasant drive from the Marseille airport and 1 hr to Montpelier, if you like the southern coast.
Access to Brissac le Haut is up hairpin-turns to community parking + 200 m walk w one incline to the units. Or continue up yet steeper hairpins to the Chateau itself, with its own parking. Ring the big bell and the watchdogs plus Vera or the caretaker, Christian, will come running to greet you. Upon request, Vera may also be able to give you a personal tour of the towers and chateau, in which she also lives, and this is amazing.
Phone signal is fine for G3 connection. Though there's is no WIFI /TV in the units, the chateau has access and you can set up a time with Christian or Vera to access their cabled or WIFI internet.
In all, an unforgettably and quite wonderful place to be.
Paradise on earth.
Everything was perfect. The cottage clean and cosy. Very good beds and a perfectly equipt kitchen. The garden so filled with atmosphere :-) The pool in perfect size, with a wonderful view over the village. We felt welcomed and cherished from the moment we arrived, even the guard dogs liked us !! Vera is the kindest "lady of the castle", and she gave us a grand tour in the castle, telling very interesting and funny stories !! We highly recommend this place.. And we will always return there.. The most beautiful and peaceful spot in France !!! Perfect for both recreation and adventure !!
Activity and Interests
Special interest holidays:
Children of all ages are particularly catered for with interesting and challenging toys and activities.
The Mediterranean beaches are little over 1 hour away by car for a good day out.
Many guests also enjoy the gravel beaches of the Herault River which runs nearby. Canoeing on the Herault is "not to be missed - great fun and very pleasant on a hot day."
Also, "The pool is out of this world." "What an amazing place to be."
Brissac is approximately 1 1/4 hour from Montpellier airport (MPL) and 1 1/4 hour from Nimes (FNI), Beziers (BZR) and Perpignan(PGF), or 11 hours drive from Calais.
Train: Eurostar to Avignon in summer, approximately 2 hours drive away. Or Eurostar changing to TGV in Lille to Nimes or Montpellier.
A car is essential. There is parking reserved for you at the entrance to the chateau, or generally available in the communal parking area at the entrance to the village.
Ganges 10 km - all local amenities and not-to-be-missed Friday market. St Guilhelm-le Desert half an hour. St Jean de Bueges approx 15 mins. Causse du Larzac ½ hour. Montpellier and Nimes approx 1 hour. Carcassone approx 2½ hours. Herault River for paddling, swimming 5 - 10 minutes. (Times are all driving times.)
Brissac le Bas is an easy walk, although coming back is uphill all the way! It has a Boulangerie, also a nice restaurant, or a snack bar. Ganges (6 miles) has all the local amenities such as supermarkets and petrol station, coffee roaster, ATM, cafes and shops, as well as a Friday street market full of local produce and products, and a Sunday "Marche au Puces." You can attend a local market in a nearby town or village every day of the week. For even wider choice, Montpellier and Nimes are within easy access by car. There are more restaurants than we can count nearby, from simple country hostelries to superb haut-cuisine establishments - the Restaurant Book kept in the pool house is becoming an excellent resource as guests add cards or brochures and describe their experiences. Canoeing on the Herault river is popular, with numerous starting points and distances from 3 to 20 or more km. Walking is another pleasure, ranging from gentle meanders round Brissac or along the river to serious hiking in the Cevennes. In Brissac history is everywhere around you. The local area is chock full of Romanesque buildings, including our castle with its two 11th century towers. The thirteenth century, the time of the Cathars, is recent history, and Brissac's strong fortifications were built to keep out the English after the battle of Crecy. Roman Nimes and medieval (and modern) Montpellier are nearby. The local area is becoming noted for producing excellent wines, which you can buy at the supermarket, or when visiting the domaines, or 'en primeur' for collection the following year.
"Felt very well looked after." 'It usually takes me a week to unwind, but here it only took a day.' "The most important decision becomes when in the day to go up to the pool." 'The house is so well designed, comfortable and welcoming.' "Extremely clean." "It all exceeded our expectations & was a wonderful place to stay." "Everything was perfect." "We have had an absolutely amazing time." "A truly spectacular location."
- Away From It All
- Tourist Attractions
- Hair Dryer
- Heating ...
- Internet ...
- Iron & Board
- Linens Provided ...
- Living Room ...
- Parking ...
- Towels Provided ...
- Tumble Dryer ...
- Washing Machine ...
- Wood Stove ...
- Coffee Maker ...
- Dishes & Utensils ...
- Dishwasher ...
- Kitchen ...
- Oven ...
- Pantry Items ...
- Refrigerator ...
- Hob ...
- Toaster ...
- Child's Highchair
- Dining ...
- Dining Area
- Books ...
- Game Room ...
- Games ...
- Ping Pong Table
- Stereo ...
- Toys ...
Pool / Spa
- Communal Pool ...
- Outdoor Pool
- Long-term Renters Welcome
- wheelchair inaccessible
- winery tours
- bird watching
- eco tourism
- horse riding
- scenic drives
- sight seeing
Local Services & Businesses
- laundrette - serviced
- medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities
- fly fishing
- freshwater fishing
- mountain biking
- mountain climbing
- Bathroom 1 - Toilet, Bath with Shower, Bidet, Marble bathroom with meurtrier window.
- 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 5
- Master bedroom - 1 Extra Lg. Double Bed, California King-size bed with sunrise view over balcony
- Twin Bedroom - 2 Single Bed, Exterior access, only suitable for older teens or adults.
- Master Bedroom with California King bed, dressing table, superb balcony with wonderful view. Twin bedroom with medieval-style exterior access only, suitable for older teens or adults, furnished with 3-drawer chest of drawers, 2 armchairs & coffee table; can also be rearranged as study or studio for longer lets, or beds can be replaced with a 4' x 8' Ping Pong table. Additional single beds: one on landing next to Master bedroom is comforting for young children, other excellent bed in Living Room suits all ages.
- Balcony ...
- Terrace ...
- Golf ...
- Kayak / Canoe ...
- Garden ...
- Barbecue ...
- Max. occupancy: 5
- non smoking only
- pets not allowed ...
- children welcome ...
Learn more about this holiday rental at the owner's website
- Notes on accommodation: "The most comfortable and best equipped house we have stayed at." "Exceeded expectations." Electric fan in each bedroom. Electric heating throughout each house for cold weather. Guests' laundry washed and tumble dried by resident laundry fairy. No pets. Reserved parking at entrance to chateau. Children very welcome: age-appropriate furniture and furnishings, and interesting, creative toys are free - children are very welcome. "Arrived to find, unlike many gîtes, absolutely everything we should need." "You are so thoughtful with all the little touches like the toys and the extra sheets." From a boy aged 10: "Scorpions, Beetles, Owl Pellets and Bugs - fantastic. The pool is great - fantastic place to learn to dive." And from his brother, age 7: "The pool was the best, great for bombing." "...it's so hard to drag yourself away from the scenery and the stars. Secret Garden is great to eat out, especially with lots of candles." Outside: The spectacular natural-shaped pool, (16m x 6.75m max - 0 to 3.5m deep), has steps at the shallow end and middle. "The most beautiful swimming pool ever" "A work of art in itself" "The amazing architecture" "The setting is unbelievable and the pool incredible." The pool house has a kitchenette and changing room with toilet and hot shower; "exceeded expectations". Pool is shared between the cottages; family and guests in the adjacent chateau also come down to swim. There is decking for sunbathing, and several separate seating areas including under the pine trees, on the decking, beside the pool house, and beside the pool. Seating includes deck chairs, comfortable arm chairs, and a marble dining table with 6 chairs on the terrace below the pool. Child-size furniture as appropriate appears when needed. The entire pool area is surrounded by high stone walls for privacy and child security. The cottages are part of a living chateau which includes you during your stay.