Chateau Les Carrasses, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Chateau Les Carrasses, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

in the Languedoc-Roussillon countryside, Chateau Les Carrasses‘ turreted
19th-century castle and vineyard is a go-to for luxurious suites,
self-catered cottages and revelling in a laid-back Mediterranean
pace of life (read: quaffing rosé).

Not far from the bustle of Narbonne and spires of Béziers,
Chateau Les Carrasses sits on an isolated hill. Beyond the
domaine’s grounds, ancient vineyards undulate towards the Gulf of
peppered only by occasional tumbledown farm buildings. This is
Languedoc-Roussillon at its finest; none of the manicured pretences
, yet pretty enough to match its better-known
neighbour. The Chateau was built in 1886 when the region around
Béziers experienced a wine boom thanks to a new railway line
connecting the area to Paris.
At this time, Les Carrasses was responsible for over 700,000 litres
of wine per year.

A renowned Bordeaux architect designed the grand estate, where
the De Zélicourt family produced wine until they ran into economic
difficulties in 1998. Since then, Karl O’Hanlon has sensitively
transformed the chateau and outbuildings into a luxury retreat,
while the wine-making has been handed over to nearby sister winery
Domaine de Cibadiès. So careful and considerate was the renovation
that it took three years, and you can tell; Les Carrasses treads
that fine line between comfort and style. From the outside, the
buildings are virtually unchanged, while inside they have every mod
con conceivable. The ethos and service match this unpretentious
take on luxury. Scattered apartments and suites of all shapes and
sizes (some with private pools) make privacy easy to come by.
Meanwhile, a vast communal pool, grounds and bar area create an
easy-going and social vibe.


Les Carrasses caters to all accommodation needs. For romance,
opt for one of the nine cosy double suites in the turreted chateau
where lofty ceilings and pretty tiled fireplaces exude 19th-century
charm. By contrast, the self-catered terraced cottages in the
outbuildings are more contemporary, with neutral tones, French
country-inspired interiors and spacious living spaces. Amenities
are organic and come in refillable containers, showers have novel
pebbled floors and kitchens are stocked with wine fridges, coffee
machines and local pottery and glassware. Apartments and suites
come in all shapes and sizes, some with terraces, pools and
gardens, so it’s worth checking what suits you best when

What’s for breakfast?

Breakfast can be as casual or extravagant as you wish. The
pastry chef takes bread and croissant orders each evening.
Alternatively, there’s a continental spread of homemade goods –
bread, jams, cakes, local cheese, cured meats and organic yoghurts
and fruit. For a change of scene, take breakfast in the morning sun
beside the pretty glass orangery (rumoured to be designed by
Gustave Eiffel).

How about lunch and dinner?

Les Carrasses’ laid-back approach to eating and drinking is
refreshing and there’s no pressure to eat in the restaurant.
Locally curated picnic baskets, barbecue packs and pizzas allow
guests to eat in or enjoy the communal, rustic barbecue area. The
hotel is also happy to recommend local supermarkets and markets at
which to stock up. In the restaurant, there’s a menu of the day for
25€ at lunch (starter, main, and dessert) and 38€ at dinner (three
courses) as well as a simple à la carte menu. Chef Valère Diochet
scours local markets before landing on recipes, emphasising the
best of Languedoc and Catalan flavours. Come summertime, the weekly
seafood feast is a must-try.

Is there a bar?

The terrace overlooking the pool is the social heart of the
hotel – from here it’s possible to get stuck into the melee or
slink off to a quiet corner. There are cocktails and G&Ts
aplenty, although it’s hard to stray from the quaffable Les
Carrasses rosé. The hotel can organise bespoke wine-tasting trips
and tours and, throughout the summer, there are regular wine
tastings and guided walks around the vineyards.


The main pool is the centrepiece – at 30m long, it has as much
exercising potential as it does lounging. Also onsite is a clay
tennis court, volleyball court, petanque pitch and complimentary
bikes and sports equipment. There’s no spa, but the hotel can
arrange for local therapists and beauticians to visit.

Things you should know

Les Carrasses has a sister hotel on the other side of Béziers
(Château St Pierre de Serjac) and
a new hotel in the making by the coast (Capitoul). Both make for
pleasant outings for a day, or link them up for a luxed-up
Languedoc-Roussillon road trip. Ditch the airports and instead hop
on the train – there are direct trains from Paris to Narbonne and
Béziers, both just a 30-minute drive from Les Carrasses. Couples
might want to shy away from school holidays when the property
becomes overrun with family groups.

Within a short walk you will find?

Bucolic vineyard views as far as the eye can see. For a quick
stroll, wander up to the woods behind the hotel for expansive
sunset views. Alternatively, hop on one of the free bikes to whizz
between vines and along car-free tracks. Village squares, churches
and markets in Capestang, Quarante and Puisserguier are just a
short ride away on easy-to-navigate cycle paths. To really feel and
look the part, Citroën 2CVs are available to hire for novel
adventures further afield.

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