With vineyards as far as the eye can see in a region renowned for its strong cultural and historical roots, Corbières is a paradise for wine lovers and the perfect place for a second home in France
Languedoc is the biggest wine region in France – producing three times as much wine as Bordeaux – and home to 18 AOCs (“Appellation d’origine contrôlée”) of which Corbières is the largest.
Spanning around 12,000 hectares in the Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales departments, Corbières lies in the foothills of the Pyrénées and is renowned for its hot, dry climate, diverse landscapes, wild, natural surroundings and scrubby Mediterranean vegetation known as “garrigue”. Whilst it is mostly a red wine region, white is produced here too, and it has long been famous for its sparkling wine from Limoux.
But don’t come here just for the wine, in the thick of Cathar country, and scattered with medieval towns and villages, châteaux, rocky hills and rolling vineyards, Corbières is as rich in culture and history as it is wine excellence.
“Corbières is so peaceful and perfect for ‘away-from-it-all’ holidays,” says Julie Reaney, a Home Hunts consultant. “Near the coast and the mountains, living an authentic French country lifestyle is possible here, as it has a beguiling remoteness, but all the modern conveniences you need to live a dream lifestyle in France.”
Don’t miss Roquefort-des-Corbières and Limoux
Part of the Parc Naturel Régional de la Narbonnaise en Méditerranée, Roquefort-des-Corbières is a charming wine village located south of Narbonne. In the heart of Cathar country, and on the ancient Sentier Cathare, or Cathar Walk – which runs for 200km from Port-La-Nouvelle to Foix – it is an excellent base not only for wine lovers, but also for those who wish to hike around the countryside and explore this historic corner of France. For those who like to spend time on the beach, Roquefort-des-Corbières is just fifteen minutes from Port-La-Nouvelle, which offers 10km of fine sandy shores.
Nestled on the Aude river, the bustling town of Limoux is part of the Limoux wine region. Sparkling wine is a speciality here and Limoux produces three different kinds under AOC classifications: Blanquette de Limoux (the first fizz ever to be produced in France), Blanquette méthode ancestrale and Crémant de Limoux. Limoux’s delicious whites and reds – which are always predominantly Merlot – are also worth exploring.
The best places to buy property in Corbières
In terms of where to buy property in Corbières, Julie recommends Lagrasse, Ribaute, Fabrezan and Ferrals-les-Corbières.
“These attractive, tranquil villages, located in the heart of the stunning Corbières wine region, offer overseas buyers excellent value for money,” says Julie. “With house prices expected to rise during 2017, property here can make a great investment opportunity, and bigger properties are particularly well suited to B&B and gite rentals to accommodate the growing number of wine enthusiasts and tourists during the summer months.”
Ferrals les Corbières
Set between the river Orbieu and pine forests, Ferrals-les-Corbières is surrounded by beautiful, diverse countryside, yet it also offers a wide range of amenities – including schools, shops and a cinema – to ensure a rich and fulfilling lifestyle. For those seeking local luxury, Ferrals-les-Corbières is particularly renowned for its excellent restaurant En Catamini. Serving high-level cuisine, international flavours compliment an exceptional wine list, and with a pretty courtyard and floral garden, dining here on a warm summer evening is particularly special.
Traditional village houses, stone properties with development opportunities and spacious country houses are the most sought-after properties in the popular village of Fabrezan. With a range of restaurants and facilities, including a swimming pool and a train station, this lively village is easily accessible and is just a few minutes from Lézignan-Corbières, which holds a huge market every Wednesday. Local restaurant Les Calicots is a hidden treasure along one of the village’s charming cobblestone streets.
Just ten minutes away from Fabrezan is the picturesque village of Lagrasse, one of the “Plus beaux Villages de France”. Famous for its Benedictine Abbey, which is separated from the medieval village by the river Orbieu and accessed by the “Pont Vieux”, Lagrasse is a stunning place to live and a wonderful holiday destination. Locals cool off during hot summers here by splashing around in the river, which, over the years, has become a well-loved location for swimming and sunbathing.
Just 2km down the road you will find the charming village of Ribaute, which is also renowned for providing a superb swimming and picnicking spot. With around just 300 inhabitants, this is one of the most sought-after villages in the area. Whilst offering tranquility and still being something of a well-kept secret, Ribaute’s village life is lively and thriving with regular local activities and events held throughout the year.
If you are looking to buy a property in Corbières, visit www.home-hunts.com to search Home Hunts’ online portfolio. To speak to a consultant about your specific real estate needs and about other recommended locations in the region, call +33 (0)970 44 66 43