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South France Villas Blog

Thursday 5 September 2013

Top 10 Languedoc Holiday Homes - Roquebrun: A Client's Review

This is a client review of a fantastic river-front holiday home ideal for a large family group or several families sharing a house.  

See where this client stayed: Maison Mimosa in Roquebrun

'Our one week stay at Maison Mimosa, Roquebrun in July was absolutely fantastic.  We were a two-family party of 9,  with offspring ranging in age from 14 to 23,  and parents of appropriate ages!  Everybody had a wonderful time. 

We are all very keen wild swimmers and with children who would want some or lots of independence, we had deliberately chosen a house right on a river and right in a village.  Good decision.

We had dreamy mornings and evenings cooling off and swimming in the crystal clear water of the River Orb against the gentle current right outside the house and also really enjoyed being in the really spacious at atmospheric house looking at the fantastic views of the bridge and mountains beyond and also of life on the other side of the river where happy people and their dogs spend the day mucking about in the river from the large natural river beach.   

The river is safe and you can happily let children from 12 years and up paddle and swim on their own.                    


In the house there is an indoor pool and sauna plus games room with table tennis table and bar in the cellar and the children enjoyed the swimming pool as a novelty a couple of times but the weather was so good and the river so beautiful that it was very under used.  However, I can imagine that these facilities might be wonderful to have mid-winter or when the weather isn’t great. 

Roquebrun is as charming as any tourist website tells you but it feels properly lived-in and real and there is obviously a lot going on.  

The Mediterranean Garden right above the village is beautiful and testament to a lively community as it is run mainly by volunteers and there was a really well attended village party on our last night.  We had a couple of great meals out in Roquebrun; Le Petit Nice does really good pizzas and  the relatively new, I think,  Cave de St Martin tapas bar (tapas bar as a description doesn’t really do the place justice I don’t think) was really superb and is making my mouth water just thinking about the meal we had there.

  Everything fresh, everything melt-in-the-mouth delicious, every ingredient top quality and everything seasonal – plus great wine.   

We came back to England enthused with the peach, tomato and basil salad we had there and  I  have served what I hope is a not-too-bad imitation of it four times since being home!  Both Le Petit Nice and the Cave St Martin have fantastically friendly and helpful staff and wonderful views and it was such a treat being able to walk to both restaurants in less than 5 minutes.    

Out of Roquebrun we spent a great day jumping into and swimming in the beautiful deep clear-water pools in the Gorge d’Heric and another day kayaking 10 and 15km back to Roquebrun, where some of our party saw an otter and all of us loved the scenery and peace and quiet (except when negotiating a rapid!).  Also spent a day at the Lac de Salagou, an amazingly atmospheric damn lake surrounded by martian-like red sand and some really interesting villages and natural rock formations.  The journey cross country to Salagou was beautiful too and a reminder of just how unpopulated and unspoilt this part of France is. 

Shopping was easy, with a village shop and a basic but comprehensive selection of fresh bread plus tinned and fresh food  and drinks in Roquebrun plus a fairly basic twice-weekly market,  and if you needed to do a big shop, the big street market (weekly?  twice-weekly?) and supermarket in St Chinian were a pleasant 15 minute drive away.   And of course there’s a vineyard round every corner……..    

We had to do an airport run to Montpelier near the end of the week and it was extremely hot so we combined it with a trip to the beach on La Corniche, just outside Sete.  We had a good swim in some great waves and it was perfect for a quick cool-off and to dip into the Med quickly.  Easy parking and a nice freshwater shower was available.  But I know there are better beaches in Languedoc and, given a choice, I wouldn’t have moved from the river Orb!

The South France Villas team were wonderful.  Helped with travel arrangements, gave great advice and were generally as helpful as they could possibly have been.  The fact that all their staff have lived in the area for a very long combined time really shows as they have brilliant local contacts and can answer almost any question you put to them.   Thankyou all very much for a wonderful holiday.

Phyllida Barnes
20-27 July 2013