Ginestas is a medieval “circulade” village – in other words a village originally entirely encircled by a circular road. The village architecture is dominated by winegrowers’ houses and wine is still stored and made in some barns around the village to this day (they typically open once a week for tastings).
Everything in the village is within a five-minute walk. The church is at the highest point, the village café (Les Trois Couchons) just below it. A great place to hang out and just relax over a coffee and papers, it also offers lovely lunch menus. There is a boulangerie that also stocks a small variety of essential groceries and household goods, as well as a Tabac with newspapers, stationary, etc. L’Anais is the village restaurant with a wonderful selection of dishes at very reasonable prices. Bar Jules offers a fun place to spend the evening.
Nearby Villages and Attractions
The next village, about 1 1/2 miles away, that is on the Canal du Midi. The canal itself is a great place for walks, or you can hire boats for an hour or a day, or cycle along it. There are also boat trips along the canal if you prefer not to hire one, Several restaurants and art shops and the famous Le Troute du Livre antique bookshop, a huge antique bookshop hidden behind a small alleyway! There is also an excellent Tourist Information Office for the whole area.
Another village along the Canal, this time with a gorgeous chateau that is now a wine museum and, of course, selling lots of different wines made on the premises.
Yet another picturesque village along the Canal. This one has an excellent bike hire and repair shop. The shop will deliver and collect bikes to the house. You can pre-book as well.Find out more
About 15 minutes’ drive. On the canal with a couple of excellent restaurants. It’s a very pretty place, but one of many in the area. The unique draw is the Lac de Jouarres just outside the village. With a beach, watersports,and rolling hill views in every direction it is a frim favourite of the French locals and has lovely lake swimming.
About 25 minutes’ drive from the house, Narbonne is the nearest sizeable town. A Roman town with a spectacular cathedral and Roman museum. The centre of the town is an intimate area of a few streets of one-off shops and several excellent restaurants. Well worth half a day to just wander around.
About 40 minute’s drive. It is dominated by the huge 12th century castle that continued to be added to for hundreds of years. It is known as a “cite” in its own right. A must-vist, especially with children, but it does get very busy. Plan to get there early in the morning before the crowds.
The nearest beach to the house is Narbonne Plage, around 35 minutes’ drive away. Like all the beaches in the area it is fine sand, and is itself a seaside destination, so has restaurants, cafes, beachside shops and umbrellas and loungers to rent. Valras Plage, a round an extra 10 minutes along the road offers many more miles of beach with full facilities. Less developed is Serignan Plage next door at the edge of a nature reserve. Marseillan Plage continues for miles, and still less than 50 minutes from the house. Go the other direction from Narbonee and Gruisan Plage is at least another 5 miles of beach!
And the Vineyards!
Languedoc is the largest wine producing area in France, many. The wines have never become as recognised as, say, the wines of Bordeaux, for no very good reason we can fathom. There are literally dozens of different Domaines and Chateaux within 15 minutes of the house. All are open for wine tasting and buying as well as a tour. The Tourist Offices offer wine tour itinerary leaflets Walk along the road outside the house and within 200 yards you are walking in a vineyard. Even if you are not a big wine fan, it is a lot of fun and well worth joining in and educating yourself.
The Parc Naturel Regional de Haute-Languedoc
Just 10 minutes’ drive away is a huge national National Park. Long walks, even climbs as well as rafting and other outdoor pursuits are available. The high points are several hundred metres high, offering spectacular views across pine forests to vineyards stretching out to the Mediterranean Sea.Find out more
More nearby places
Only a short drive away you can have views of the Pyrenees mountains, see local lakes, visit Lagrasse and the Romanesque Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary or tour the well Preserved Medieval Cathar Castle of Château de Foix.