By Phil Little, SAT Travel
L’Abbaye-Château de Camon is an ancient Benedictine monastery dating back to the tenth century. It is situated in the beautiful village of Camon in the foothills of the Pyrénées. Surrounded by forest and pasture it is only a ten minute drive from the medieval town of Mirepoix. In the heart of Cathar country this historic monument is now a luxury chambres d’hôtes, also available for exclusive use.
This past August, some friends and I travelled to the south of France to celebrate a colleague’s 60th birthday. My friend Mick at Discover Europe Ltd had booked us into a converted monastery between Toulouse and Carcassonne in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The L’Abbaye-Chateau de Carnon is about half an hour from the city of Carcassonne.
We arrived in Camon in the early afternoon and wound our way up the narrow streets to the abbey that overlooked the little village. Parking in front of the monastery, we were met by our very welcoming and friendly hostess, Katie. She and her husband Peter have lovingly restored this amazing complex of buildings, much of which dates from the 10th century.
On entering the building you realise how sympathetic and impressive their renovations have been. There is a real sense of age, original paved floors and mosaics, ancient books and ledgers from when the abbey welcomed medieval pilgrims rather than modern travellers. The rooms are large, individual and beautifully restored.
Our 5 course dinner menu was delicious. As the evening was sunny, it was served in the stunning cloisters where the diners are surrounded by the fragrant blossoms and exotic plants alongside the ancient abbey.
The delights of Mirepoix, Carcassone and Toulouse are all a short drive away. We decided to take a brief trip to visit the nearby Chateau of Montségur
where in the 13th century the Cathars were besieged by French catholic troops. After 9 months the castle surrendered and over 200 Cathars were captured and burnt to death. Fabulous views from the remains of the rebuilt chateau at the top of a daunting and steep climb to the summit.
The Chateau de Camon is a fantastic place to visit and spend a long weekend. Katie and Peter are wonderful hosts, and the accommodation, dining and surrounding countryside are all incomparable.
Parking in the grounds
Library with wi-fi
Mature terraced gardens
Table tennis room
Open from 1 April until 31 October. Room prices range from 135-184 euros/night.