The French Weekender
Markets of Montpellier
Fly into Montpellier and begin your gastronomic weekend as you mean to go on. Visit Le Marché de Lez outdoor market where the foodie hipsters of Montpellier hang out. Browse the handcrafted objects and soak up the creative vibes with a coffee beside the resident airstream. Have lunch at a café, recommended are fresh French salads or street food tacos. For something more traditional visit the Pezenas market for everything from olives to saucisson, girolles to woven baskets. Now hit the road to arrive at sundowner o’ clock at immaculate Chateau Les Carrasses. Join the throng on the terrace for ice-cold rosé from the chateau’s own vines and watch the sun sink into the Pyrenees.
Wake up to rural French bliss either up on the hillside residence surrounded by vineyards, or a three-bedroom villa with a private pool. After freshly baked pastries and French coffee head out into bucolic rural land on a bike ride. Explore the extensive gardens and enjoy a lazy game of petanque before settling down to a long lunch and afternoon by the indigo pool.
Take advantage of your car to explore the coastline of this unspoilt region. In less than an hour you can be at Tarbouriech, where the long lagoon of Etang de Thau creates a natural habitat for thousands of birds. For decades, famers have grown oysters and mussels here, and today modern methods using solar power imitates the tides in an eco-friendly way which doesn’t disturb the wildlife. Take a boat trip to get a closer look at the oysters growing then settle down at the rustic-chic oyster bar to sample fresher-than-fresher oysters and garlicky mussels, washed down with delicious local picpoul. Eat out on the sunny pier or enjoy the shady interior, festooned with fishing nets and thick whorls of rope.
Onwards to beautiful apricot-hued Chateau St Pierre de Serjac, which will be your bed for the night, in a cottage with a private pool. At the bottom of a long cypress-lined drive you’ll reach this gorgeously restored chateau whose surrounding land is woven with historic olive trees and ancient vines. Treat yourself to an afternoon of relaxation at the spa, using the jacuzzi and indoor pool before a full body massage. Dinner can be al fresco or in the inky-coloured dining room inside the chateau with panoramic views of the countryside. Enjoy beautifully presented dishes of veal tartare, grilled langoustine and chocolate fondant.
Wine and Wandering
Spend your last morning soaking up the pleasures of life at the chateau. Relax by the pool or order lunch to your cottage. Some may enjoy a wild foraging adventure with a guide to discover the wealth of the land including wild garlic and asparagus. We recommend heading to the newly renovated wine tasting room – a huge barn filled with enormous barrels and plenty of wine to try. Don’t miss the particularly special desert wine. All good things come to an end, and you can make your own way to Montpellier airport, perhaps making a last cultural stop at the Musee Fabre in Montpellier. Bon voyage.