We live in one of the most interesting, beautiful, and climate-friendly areas of France. The extraordinary success of Le Monastère Adventures is built on a simple philosophy. The infinite system of country roads is quiet and ideal for cycling. The countryside is semi-wild, full of flowers and birds and wonderful for walking or hiking. The history is deep and fascinating. It is still an authentic area, unspoiled by development. If you want to know what Provence, our next-door neighbour, was like 50 years ago — this is it!
We see our task as eliminating all the pressures and stresses usually associated with visiting a new and foreign region, and allowing our guests the freedom to simply to enjoy everything it has to offer. We meet you at the airport or pick you up at your hotel in Toulouse or Carcassonne on Saturday morning arrival and take you back on Saturday morning departure — so no car rentals or train and bus connections to worry about. Our small, intimate hotel is outstanding in quality and is reserved solely for our ‘Adventure’ guests. The food and wine is fabulous and you don’t have to worry about paying for ‘extras’. The principal owners, Chris Georgas and Fabienne Montserrat, and their staff are there to interpret, guide, explain and support all our activities in the region.
An enormous advantage to our guests comes from Chris and Fabienne being a part of the local community. This presents you with a rare chance to ‘get under the skin’ of a wonderful culture, and even to make friends in and around the town. It is no accident that no less than seven Canadian and American guests of Le Monastère have bought semi-retirement residences in Limoux and have integrated themselves into the local hiking, cycling and painting associations, as well as the wine and food scene.
A Le Monastère Adventure is for the mature and the thoughtfully discriminating person who enjoys new experiences and learning about the local history and culture, as well as having good fun and getting a well-deserved rest from the busy life and pressures of home.
Every day is a new adventure organized by your convivial French and Canadian hosts, who take care of the time-consuming and stressful details usually encountered on self-organized vacations. Each outing has an historical or cultural focus, sometimes coinciding with fairs or other celebrations in nearby villages. You visit wondrous gorges and mountain meadows, ancient villages and hilltop towns, fortresses and castles, abbeys and cathedrals.
Our favorite way to enjoy outings is by bicycle, which allows you to breathe the fresh air and meld your spirit with that of the countryside — smell the flowers, hear the birds, feel the breeze on your skin. Some of our “sorties” are entirely by foot — over an ancient riverside Roman road or along the scenic ridges overlooking the Aude River valley. Other activities, such as horseback riding, a visit to a nearby spa, tennis or swimming, can be arranged.
Guided outings are offered every day except Wednesdays. But if you wish to go off on your own on a particular day, we provide you with maps, other information, and a bicycle, if you wish.
Some potential guests are concerned that the cycling and hiking may be too difficult, or the outings hurried and exhausting. Have no fear! Unlike standard “luxury” bicycle holidays, our support van is never far away. You can choose to cycle as much as you want — the whole way, part way, or simply coast down long hills with wonderful views. You may also decide to leave the bike in the van and walk along sections of the panoramic paved pathways that we cycle on. Whatever you choose to do, you can be sure that you will be cycling and walking along some of the quietest roads in Europe.
Our itineraries are relaxed and provide lots of time to take pictures, taste the delicious local wines, or even pick roadside berries, rosemary and thyme. Your hosts are highly knowledgeable in the history, geography and culture of the region, and liven the outings with interesting history.
However, for those who are after the thrill of personal physical achievement, Chris — who is also a well-known bicycle racing coach in the region — will set up a custom route for you including as many hills, mountains and other exciting terrain as your personal limits allow.
Groups are limited to no more than 11 guests to ensure that each receives the support and personal contact required to make this an intriguing and physically refreshing vacation. The price of our adventures, in addition to guiding and support, includes Saturday morning airport pickup and drop off at Toulouse International Airport, four-star quality hotel accommodation, all breakfasts and all dinners except Wednesday (wine included), the use of our well-maintained bicycles, and entry charges to scheduled visits to historic and natural sites.