The House is nestled in nature surrounded by four hectares of mature gardens, a walnut grove, spring wells, meadows and orchards. Not to mention the hidden bamboo den and stream that banks the land. Beyond this are rolling hills, ancient burial sites, untouched nature and walks to safely explore or lose a few hours in. Farms surround and all are managed in accordance to strict eco rules that do not allow chemicals or anything nasty. Expect to find sunflowers, donkeys and a Bison farm and exotic Bamboo gardenss with an incredibly authentic asian restaraunt as part of the local community.
Every season brings new blooms to discover. From stocking up your herbal medicine chest, to flower arranging and foraging. The Ariege boasts 60 different species of orchids and over 300 varieties of wildflowers. The House is home to a magnificent choir of floral colour. Yours for the picking. Mallow, pink clover, wild orchids, primula, daisies, butter cups. Beyond this there are ancient roses mingling with new vibrant specimens. Planted with love and part of an ever growing rose and jasmine collection. Fail to be intoxicated by the scents and the wildlife they attract.
The star of the show is the 200+ year old Lebanon Cedar standing proud in front of the House. Beyond this we lose count of the species of fruit trees, figs, cherries, plums, walnuts, oaks and the giant juniper that all punctuate the views with seasonal splendour. Bringing an array of birds from owls, woodpeckers and beyond. Find time to swing from the branches, walk tightropes, build treehouses. Star gaze, hang lanterns, watch the world go by or read a good book in the shade with a local glass of chilled rose.
Being in view of the Pyrenees means that birds of prey are regular visitors. A walk in the mountains can bring you Griffon, Egyptian and even a few rare Bearded Vultures - the Lammergeier or Bone-Cracker! If you are afraid of wildlife the rich biodiversity of the House and grounds will keep you on your toes. Bright red squirrels, owls, bats, and a variety of harmless snakes are regular sights. There is nothing like a Hummingbird Moth busy slurping nectar or a rambling Stag Beetle to stop you in your tracks. Apollo or Camberwell Beauty butterflies, are firm favourites in the Ariege. Expect nature to give you pause for contemplation and a daily "wow". We can offer curated nature trails and walks to make sure you don't miss any of nature's best instagrammable moments.
Foraging of course requires good basic knowledge, but the abundance of familiar fruits, nuts and berries around the House is a great larder for a novice on holiday. From elderflowers, figs, juniper, nettles, walnuts, apples, plums, cherries and blackberries. Feel free to raid our home stock or experiment with creating your own. We are building up the herbs and have great plans to extend the walled garden for vegetables and new specimens at the rear of the house. For now, you won't have to travel far from the kitchen window for rosemary, sage, lavender and thyme to complement your culinary adventures. For the committed we will be able to recommend local foraging tours by local experts.
The Ariège is beautiful and far from spoilt by tourism. You can go walking in August and not meet another soul. From alpine pastures, leafy valleys, lakes for swimming and an abundance of natural thermal springs, mountains and forests. Ski stations are discreet and there is a timeless feeling present in the customs and traditions of the local villages, towns and cities. This area is home to a density of prehistoric caves and cave drawings available to visit and explore, some on boats via underground streams .You will see the universe and night sky with zero pollution. From walking, cycling, climbing, white water rafting, waterfall jumping, horse riding and wild swimming. Dive right in, the waters warm.