Hôtel Le Monastère & Your Hosts

3, rue de la Mairie, Limoux, France

Hôtel Le Monastère is situated in the medieval quarter of Limoux, a three-minute stroll from the town square. The Inn is an integral part of the town, as it was in the Middle Ages when it was a monastery. In the 1300s, most of the property was garden and orchard, with the Cordelier Order using the building for grain storage and a wine cellar. The vaulted wine cellar, which appears much as it did 650 years ago, has been described as the best in Limoux for its constant temperature and humidity. In the Middle Ages, the garden was entered through the still-existing stone portal. In the centre of the garden was the monastery’s well, which now feeds the Inn’s fountain.

The Cordeliers were an order of both monks and nuns under the Franciscans. In Limoux, the order consisted of nuns, who prospered from their flourmill on the Aude River. By the early 1600s, the nuns had amassed enough wealth to construct a new residence on the property, adjacent to the granary and wine cellar. The building was unique in Limoux, following a style popular in Italy employing double-tiered stone arches facing onto the courtyard. At some time during the 1700s, the garden’s forged iron pergola was added. After the French Revolution in the late 1700s, the monastery was taken out of religious use and served as a way station for Napoleonic soldiers. It was later bought by a wealthy local family who remodelled the interior as an elegant maison de maître. This latest renovation produced the current 19th century guest rooms, as well as the beautiful spiral staircase to the second floor, with its steps carved from the volcanic stone of the Mediterranean town of Agde.

The London Financial Times describes the Inn as “a luxurious small hotel”. Each of its five spacious guest rooms has a tiled walk-in shower. The beds are custom made in the Louis Philippe (sleigh bed) style of the mid-1800s and can comfortably accommodate tall guests. The Inn has a dining room, and several common reading and relaxation areas facing the courtyard. The courtyard garden, with its central fountain, nooks and crannies, and pergola covered with flowering vines is a favourite spot for guests to relax.

To provide the maximum in comfort and space, we never accept more than 11 guests and no smoking or pets are allowed in any part of the Inn. There is no access to the general public. Our guests have a key to the front door and are free to enjoy any part of the Inn as they would their own home.

Your Hosts: Your permanent hosts at Le Monastère are Fabienne Montserrat and Chris Georgas. Occasional hosts are Roberto Gualtieri and Diane Bridges.

Fabienne Montserrat is a native daughter of Limoux, especially knowledgeable in the flowers, herbs and other flora of the region. Fabienne guides you on nature walks in the countryside around Limoux as well as on some cycling outings close to home. Fabienne will also tell you about local customs, natural food products, and the way of life of villagers in the region.

Chris Georgas, Fabienne’s husband, guides you on your more wide-ranging outings. Chris is knowledgeable in the history and geography of the region and provides you with fascinating stories and information on the many villages and historic sites you will pass and visit on your outings. Chris has extensively explored the Languedoc on bicycle and foot, and knows the most scenic and quiet roads as well as many “secret spots” shown to him by his local friends. Chris is also a qualified cycling coach and fitness expert and can provide you with personal fitness advice, whatever your personal fitness level and objectives.

Roberto Gualtieri, an accomplished cyclist and hiker, is responsible for having opened the doors of the best vineyards in the region to our guests. He is a member of several prestigious wine and food societies in France and Canada and is highly respected by the region’s wine producers for his expertise. From time to time, Roberto will be present at the Inn to provide guests with his special in-depth knowledge and convivial story telling.

Diane Bridges, also an accomplished cyclist and hiker, comes over from Canada from time to time to join Chris and Fabienne in hosting our guests. Diane has a rich background in art and architectural history, and is a delight on our visits to churches, cathedrals and abbeys.