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A Château in Languedoc France

May 6, 2013 @ 1:36 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Canal du midi

Canal du Midi, France

Sometimes you want to plan a retreat for an entire group of family or friends, and I know just the place – the very elegant Château Ventenac. The ‘castle’ borders the Canal du Midi and is right next door to the 13th-century church of Ventenac-en-Minervois in the Languedoc region of southern France.

Drive along the narrow D26 through miles of carefully-tended vineyards, and suddenly you round a corner and – voila! The canal, the village, the Château and the little ancient bridge come into view. The six-bedroom gîte is beautifully appointed, with gardens and terraces overlooking the canal and just waiting to deliver a self-catered getaway for you and your friends or family.

The little village has the necessities of life … croissants from the boulangerie and wine from the Château de Ventenac Wine Cave, now a co-opérative that makes and sells wines using grapes from the same vineyards you pass on your way into the village. A couple of times a week, mobile market vans visit the village to sell fresh local produce. There’s even a chicken van, and the Mairie announces the van arrivals over a loudspeaker system –village culture at its best!

Cycling on the Canal du Midi

Peaceful paths lining the Canal du Midi

But, here is my favorite part. On the Château grounds, there is a lower gateway that provides access to the Canal du Midi. The gate is locked with a padlock – a la the Marcel Pagnol story and film, Le Château de ma mère (My Mother’s Castle) – but the code is kept in the kitchen. You can slip through the gate and meander for miles along the tree-lined Canal. Merveilleux!  We’d love to hear from you!

 

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