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Escape to the Corbières and Minervois region for a gourmet break

PUBLISHED: 14:40 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:21 01 October 2018

This region is a haven for food and wine fans. Pic: G&C Deschamps

This region is a haven for food and wine fans. Pic: G&C Deschamps

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The sunny south of France, with its rich winemaking heritage, is just a two-hour flight away from the UK.

Fancy a gourmet getaway in the sunny south of France?

Fly into the Corbières and Minervois wine region, an authentic and intimate wine tourism destination situated between Carcassonne and Narbonne in the heart of the Aude Cathar country.

You’ll arrive at the Sud de France airport in Carcassonne, after a flight of only two hours from London Stansted Airport.

A short transfer by car or coach leads you through the sweet-smelling wild scrubland (garrigue) countryside and gently rolling landscape of the Corbières and Minervois vineyards.

The gorgeous Corbieres vineyard scenery. Pic: G&C DeschampsThe gorgeous Corbieres vineyard scenery. Pic: G&C Deschamps

Wine Tasting Weekend

After a relaxing night in charming accommodation, you’ll be refreshed and ready to enjoy several ways to discover local wines and products.

The region has produced two quality wine varieties: Minervois and Corbières. To the south, the Fitou wines have also managed to establish a solid reputation for themselves in the rich Hautes Corbières massif.

If you choose a self-guided tour, the winemakers will be happy to share their experience with you, as well as presenting their profession, working environment, facilities and wines.

For a local and authentic experience, we suggest you also try the cooperative world! Cooperative wineries allow the villages to preserve their wine-growing character.

Enjoying a tasting session at La Maison des Vins du Minervois in Homps. Pic: G&C DeschampsEnjoying a tasting session at La Maison des Vins du Minervois in Homps. Pic: G&C Deschamps

Gourmet tours

Vignobles & Découvertes

Go on a gourmet excursion with our ‘Vignobles & Découvertes’ (Vineyards & Discoveries) guides. The ‘Vignobles & Découvertes’ label aims to promote the territories and the local service providers who have committed themselves to a number of qualified wine tourism activities.

Vin en Vacances

The joy of an accompanied wine tour is that you can sit back and relax whilst your expert wine guides drive you through the beautiful vine filled countryside, entertaining you with stories of the region.

They have chosen some of the best estates where you will enter ancient wineries to hear how generations of wine makers have made their living toiling in the vines to create delicious wines from the largest vineyard in France. You will taste generous, full-bodied reds and whites that will astonish you with their elegance and complexity.

Lunch is always a very special part of the day and includes traditional dishes made using local and fresh ingredients. The tours focus on wine but also include a cultural visit such as to an ancient abbey or village. If you choose the Canal du Midi tour, you will cruise the canal whilst enjoying a glass or two of delicious Languedoc wine.

Guests enjoying a Vin en Vacances tourGuests enjoying a Vin en Vacances tour

Vin’4 Heures Tour

Go for a drive in the legendary Citroen 2 CV! The ‘Vin’4 Heures Tour’ invites you to an experience of sharing and discoveries, of passions and emotions, all in the legendary Citroën 2CV. Just take a seat in the car, enter the magic of the Languedoc-Roussillon wines and meet the passionate men and women who produce them.

Take to the road in an authentic Citroen 2CV on this exciting wine tour with 24heurestourTake to the road in an authentic Citroen 2CV on this exciting wine tour with 24heurestour

Wine tasting adventures on two wheels

Why not take a ride on a classic or electric bike and go for a cycling tour across the vineyards? You will cruise along behind a friendly and knowledgeable guide, Hugo Blanquier. Cycling tours pass through some of the region’s most notable wineries and typical landscapes. Enjoy a freshly catered picnic lunch at a winery, overlooking the vineyards.

See the region's vineyards by bike. Pic: G&C DeschampsSee the region's vineyards by bike. Pic: G&C Deschamps

You can also try another original tour with Raphael Brugger and his electric all-terrain scooters, which will allow you to leave the beaten track and get back to nature (wine tasting on demand).

Leave the beaten track on an electric all-terrain scooterLeave the beaten track on an electric all-terrain scooter

Savouring local products

Goat and sheep cheese, garrigue honey, olives… There are so many simple, local and tasty products to accompany your picnics. You’ll find them served by our restaurant owners, prepared in their own fashion.

Surprise your friends with some mouth-watering gifts. All those delicious products are available in local shops like Esprit de Garrigues in Villerouge-Termenès, where you can get them after a visit to the medieval castle.

Enjoy a picnic of local produce for an authentic taste of the region. Pic: G&C DeschampsEnjoy a picnic of local produce for an authentic taste of the region. Pic: G&C Deschamps

La Maison du Rire, food and wine school

In 2008 Emma moved to the Corbières, where she is renovating an old winery to create ‘La Maison du Rire’ (the house of laughter), a wine school with a difference. Here you will learn not only about the wines of this incredibly diverse region, but also about the foods and how to prepare them. A region rich in history and gastronomy, sample food that comes from local products and producers, demonstrating the terroir and its people.

At La Maison du Rire, you can choose from a tasting with tapas luncheon, a day of cookery and wine, and various weekend breaks. If you would like a private tasting in your home with your friends, Emma can come to you.

A cooking lesson with Emma at the Maison du Rire. Pic: Garth BowdenA cooking lesson with Emma at the Maison du Rire. Pic: Garth Bowden

Key Events

Why not to take the opportunity to join a local event and breathe in the typical atmosphere of our villages?

Jazz in Conilhac

In autumn, don’t miss this important jazz festival. It’s major rendezvous for all jazz enthusiasts and lovers of good food in Conilhac-Corbières. The concerts continue in the jazz cellar. A great opportunity for some unique encounters between artists and audience with wine and local products. Find out more here.

Fête des Vins Primeurs, Lézignan-Corbières

With this celebration of Primeur wines in October, you’ll embark upon a joyous discovery with heritage and cultural references. You’ll be able to taste local products and wines, listen to Occitan tales and chants, enjoy the Primeur market and the renowned bicycle ride ‘De caves en caves…’ (from cellar to cellar). It’s perfect for those into both cycling and wine.

Fête de la Truffe, Talairan

Explore this winter truffle market and pick out a small black Corbières or Minervois truffle. Now you’re ready to cook some delicious, truffle-infused scrambled eggs – bon appétit!

Tasty black truffles. Pic: G&C DeschampsTasty black truffles. Pic: G&C Deschamps

Markets

Live the Mediterranean atmosphere going to weekly markets. A stay in our region would be incomplete without a visit to the weekly Lézignan-Corbières (Wednesday morning) or Lagrasse (Saturday morning) markets. In a convivial Mediterranean atmosphere, local producers are waiting to chat to you and offer up their products to taste and buy.

The Lezignan-Corbieres market. Pic: G&C DeschampsThe Lezignan-Corbieres market. Pic: G&C Deschamps

Getting here

By plane: Carcassonne, Perpignan, Toulouse, Béziers, Montpellier airports

By train: Lézignan-Corbières, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Perpignan, Béziers railway stations

By car: the A9 (Montpellier/Spain) and A61 (Narbonne/Toulouse) motorways

Interested in a stay with a wine-grower? Find out more details at: holiday-southfrance.com

To find out more about Corbières Minervois and prepare your visit at: tourisme-corbieres-minervois.com

To find out more about Aude Cathar Country, visit: audetourisme.com

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

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