This area is famous for its Cathar castles, ancient abbeys and historical cities, and is also an area of outstanding natural beauty, with forests, lakes and snow capped mountains, and rolling hills planted with sunflowers and vines. The main tourist attraction is of course the famous citadel of Carcassonne, with its narrow cobbled streets, gothic towers and magnificent ramparts. During the summer there are music concerts, jousting tournaments and cafes & restaurants spill onto the streets. Limoux, situated on the banks of the river Aude is also local to Saint Hilaire, and has a fine central square with cafes and a Friday market, or a little further afield is the medieval market town of Mirepoix.
You may wish to just completely relax in the lovely surroundings of Domaine de Rey. However, if you are feeling adventurous there are plenty of things to do in this area, such as visiting some of the magnificent ruined fortresses perched on sheer rocky outcrops, such as Montsegur, the final stronghold of the Cathars. Or, hire a boat and explore the historic 17th century Canal du Midi which runs through the vineyards of the Minevois to the Mediterranean. There is also canoeing and white water rafting at Quillon and Limoux, and an accropark, a great favourite of the children, at both Carcassonne & Alet les Bains. If you want a change from the pool there is beautiful river swimming in the rock pools in the local river, and also lakes at Carcassonne and Montbel, where you can also sail, windsurf, canoe and hire pedal boats. For riding there are a number of stables locally offering hourly to whole day treks. Keen golfers can play the 18 hole golf course at the nearby Domaine d’Auraic.
In just over an hour from Saint Hilaire, you can be on a wide sandy Mediterranean beach eating seafood in one of the many excellent beach restaurants near Leucate. An hour in the opposite direction takes you up to the ski slopes of the Pyrenees in the winter months. The nearest Mont d’Olmes, has 23km of piste in the mountains near Montsegur. Both beach and mountains make wonderful day trips.
The house is surrounded by vines and there are many local vineyards where you can go to sample and buy wine, or even book yourself onto a wine course. There are also a number of good restaurants in the area, from simple pavement cafes, beach bars, or auberges in the mountains, to Michelin starred restaurants.
You will find a comprehensive list detailing all the above at the house and it can also be emailed to you on booking.