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La Paichero - in the heart of the Languedoc

Clifford Mould discovers a B&B that thinks it's a luxury hotel

Some friends suggested that we visit this little gem, tucked away in a village full of character about 20 minutes drive from the airport at Carcassonne. It's run by an English couple who just like to be known as Colin and Margaret. Colin picked us up from the airport, and as soon as we had unpacked our bags, there was tea ready for us on the terrace, complete with a delicious home made cake.  Indeed, Margaret's lemon drizzle cake was so good that I took away the recipe, and I've made it twice since, and so have my culinary students.

Feedback from a reader

My wife and I have just returned from a week long stay at "La Paichero" in the Languedoc. On our return we read Clifford Mould's article on Dine Online about the  "B&B that   thinks it's a luxury hotel" and felt we just had to drop you an email to endorse what he had to say, both about the quality of the accommodation and Colin and Margaret's hospitality.

After setting ourselves up with a great breakfast that always included freshly baked local bread and croissants we spent the day visiting Carcasonne and other interesting locations in the region, local markets and  vineyards. In the evening we enjoyed Margaret (and Colin's) cooking and eating out at Le Jardin de la Tour in Carcasonne.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing holiday and we would recommend "la Paichero" to anyone seeking a similar experience.

Regards, Carol and Terry Babbs

The house was built for an important vineyard owner and it has high ceilings, a grand marble staircase, and huge cellars of course. It was built in the nineteenth century incorporating parts of a very much older house. Knowing that our French is bound to pretty bad, the ghosts didn't bother to haunt their English guests. There are four double bedrooms, each with its own private facilities. Ours overlooked the vineyards and the clear waters of the river Lauquet, which gives its name to the village. There's a river bathing pool a few minutes walk up the quiet road and it looked most inviting even on a cool spring day.

Colin and Margaret are wonderfully welcoming, and have that happy knack of being unobtrusive, yet always available - one of the hallmarks of excellent hotel keeping. The dining room is rather grand, and the beautifully proportioned sitting room is there for guests to enjoy. If the weather is uninviting for expeditions then you can chill out (or rather, warm up, in front of the log fire),  unlike some chambres d'hôtes that kick you out during the day. If you ask in advance, C&M will send you off for the day with a packed lunch, and at the weekend, Margaret, who is a very good cook, will show you just what the phrase table d'hôte means.

We stayed during the low season, just after Easter, when we qualified for a winter weekend break. La Paichero runs a package for €295 which includes airport transfers, three nights accommodation for two, breakfast and evening meal with wine (or a ride in and out of Limoux and Carcasonne to a restaurant). That works out at about €50 per person per night, and we thought it was excellent value. Single nights start at €48, but there are discounts for further nights. Details of the room rates and masses more information can found on their website, www.la-paichero.com

It's a great place for visiting vineyards and tasting lots of different wines. The walled city of Carcasonne has to be seen to be believed, and the tourist shops are actually quite good, though I wouldn't buy food or wine there. There's a good range of restaurants: we had an excellent meal at Le Jardin de la Tour, and the next day, on a Sunday morning tour of the City, we liked the look of Chez Saskia (sophisticated), La Marquiere (traditional) and the Auberge des Liques (full of French families). 
It's nice to be able to recommend somewhere  really good to stay without any fears that anyone will be disappointed. Colin and Margaret deserve your custom and I promise that you'll have a great time.

La Paichero - chambres d'hotes - www.la-paichero.com

1 Avenue de la Paichero, Ladern sur Lauquet, 11259 France
Tel: 00 33(0) 68 69 05 85

email: la.paichero@wanadoo.fr

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