Situated on a hillside above the sea, above the vineyards
The house is situated in the south of France above the sea and the vineyards in an oak forest on the steep slopes of the Albères with fantastic views over the Roussillon plain over the Mediterranean Sea to the snow-capped peaks around the Canigou, in southern Roussillon or French Catalonia on the border with Spain.
Property / Garden
The property, as well as the surrounding area, is situated on a wooded mountain slope and is covered with cork oaks and holm oaks. There you will find beautiful, semi-shade places with a wonderful view over the plain of Perpignan. The steep slopes of the property are home to some interesting Mediterranean plants including aloe vera and wild herbs such as thyme, rosemary and oregano.
However, you have the most beautiful view from the terrace. Over the treetops of the holm and cork oaks you look to the east to the sea about 12 km away, to the north over the plain of Perpignan to the mountain ranges of the Corbieres and to the west to the mostly snow-covered local mountain of the Catalans, the Mont Canigou, about 60 km away. The terrace is large. (approx. 40 sqm) It is tiled with real terracotta and completely covered. There is a comfortable lounge seating area (couch with brothel and coffee table) and a garden table with 6 chairs. In the morning there is sun on the terrace from the east. In the midday heat, when the sun is high, you enjoy shade, in the late afternoon the sun comes back to the terrace from the west.
The apartment is about 63 square meters in size and consists of
It is normally suitable for 4 adults, but an extrabed or a baby bed can be provided if required and there is also a fold-out sofa bed (140x200cm) in the living room which can be booked in for overnight accommodation. The large and bright living and dining room as well as the spacious well-equipped kitchen can be opened with large glass sliding doors to the terrace and has views over the wide plain of Perpignan.
The kitchen is open to the living room and has a fitted kitchen. In addition to a fridge with separate freezer compartment, stove with oven and double sink, it also has a dishwasher, microwave, coffee machine and an electric grill. You will also find extensive cooking utensils in the apartment. This is not a typical narrowly equipped holiday home kitchen. You can really cook in this kitchen. And you should. Take advantage of the wide selection of fresh, locally grown food and the wonderful Mediterranean spices, some of which grow in the garden.
You share the swimming pool (about 350m from the house as the crows flies) with the inhabitants of the Domaine-des-Alberes. From the house they can already see it and of course walk there, but beware, there are a few meters of altitude in between, and you should consider whether you want to walk up the mountain again, fought off, or rather take the car. There is also a toilet and a room where you can change your clothes.
You can park directly next to the entrance, above the house at the Chemin du Vilar on a gravel area in front of the house.
The house is easy to reach. After leaving the motorway (A9) at Le Boulou you drive 15 minutes on the country road. For the last 5 minutes the road winds its way up the mountain. The access to the apartment is at garden level, but unfortunately not wheelchair accessible, as the road is higher and the property is situated on a steep slope, you have to go over an irregular natural stone staircase (see photos) with about 15 steps.
This house is a non-smoking house. Smoking is only allowed on the terrace and only carefully. Fill the ashtray with a cm of water so that the wind does not carry embers to the surrounding trees. (danger of forest fire)
The house bears the name of an old Catalan woman, my French "grandmother of choice" Josephine, who lived in Douilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse below the great Carthusian castle of the same name (see excursion descriptions in the apartment) and grew wine (including an excellent Macabeu vielle vigne) and vegetables there. She was the grandmother of my exchange partner Béatrice and I spent many weeks with her as a child in summer, while Béa buffaloed in Avignon for her exams. From her and her daughter, my wonderful host mother Jannine, I was cooked and pampered and learned a lot about rural life. Besides her vineyard and the big vegetable garden she also had various chickens and rabbits and dogs and cats. She and Jannine, who still lives in Douilhac today, taught me many recipes and drew our family's attention to the cultural wealth of the Laroque region, which finally led us to settle here 35 years ago.
Address: 82, Chemin die Vilar, 66740 Laroque-des-Alberes, France
Size: 60.0 m², 6 Rooms, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom
Beds: 3 Single beds, 1 Double bed, 1 Child bed
Prices: 70 EUR - 190 EUR / Night
The swimming pool, the tennis court and the table tennis room, which you can see in the photos, are not directly in front of the house, but can be used free of charge by the residents of the holiday home. The blue plastic wristbands in the apartment indicate that you are entitled to use them. Even if you can see the pool from your terrace, it is not as close as it seems. Of course you can walk there, but there are a few metres in between. The swimming pool is already open in the morning during the bathing season (mid june-september) and closes in the evening. The swimming pool is usually empty early in the morning, but from late in the morning it becomes an attraction for families with children and young people who make contact here during the holiday season. The swimming pool is maintained daily and the quality of the water is monitored. However, it has no lifeguard and use is at your own risk. At the pool there is also a shower, a changing room and a toilet.
We would like to warn you a little about our very irregular natural stone stairs leading to the holiday apartment. It is very picturesque and consists of rocks of the region, but the steps are different in height and depth. There are no high steps and there is also a sturdy cast iron handrail on the wall, but you should definitely have your eyes on the stairs when you go down them so as not to stumble. People with walking disabilities should contact us for safety before booking, then we will send you more photos.
The house is situated in the Domaine des Alberes, a part of the village that is still well above the medieval centre and the castle of Laroque on the slopes of the Alberes and overlooks the wide plain of Perpignan, the mountains behind and the sea. To the left of the house lives a nice older, French couple with their son, in the cute house on the right side of the Villa Josephine lives a German, also a very dear friend of the family. It's a quiet, tranquil place, but close to the lively coastal towns and beaches if you want to spend the day on the beach. Since the Chemin du Vilar ends just above the house, there is hardly any traffic. Only mountain bikers can be seen more often that torture themselves up the mountain because of the rewarding view. (How nice that we only have to sit on the terrace. ;-)) Above the house there are several walking and hiking trails that lead through the Alberes up to Noillos, the highest mountain of the Alberes.
The surrounding towns of St Genis, Sorede, St André, Argeles-sur-mer, Collioure, Port Vendres, Brouilla, Bages, Elne..... All of them have medieval town centres and, in addition to the typical tranquil landscape marked by a wine-growing tradition, they also hold some wonderful cultural treasures.
Very famous is the lintel of the monastery of St. Genis in the neighbouring village or the cathedral of Elne from the 10th century, but also take a look at the countless small medieval chapels, hermitages and monasteries over which you stumble almost every walk. A walk through the medieval alleys from Laroque to the old fortified castle of Laroque, which dates from the 12th century, is highly recommended.
Another kind of "celebrity" has been won not far from the house by the villages Collioure and Ceret, because thanks to the wonderful light of the "Cote Vermeille" many famous Impressionist artists have settled down and immortalized these places in their pictures. Collioure is considered the birthplace of Fauvism and Ceret the Mecca of Cubism. Some places will certainly seem familiar to you thanks to the famous paintings of Matisse, André Derain, and Picasso. Also painters like Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, Foujita, Othon Friesz, Juan Gris and Albert Marquet spent a lot of time in these places and because they were poor at that time, many artists often paid for their beer with a picture. (This has probably paid off for the landlords... ;-) And speaking of art, on the Spanish side of the Albères, about 30 minutes from the house, you can visit Dalí's life centre and place of work. More crazy than his "theatre" in Figueras, where he had himself walled in after his death, there is hardly an artist's place that can still be visited today.
But also the "activists" get their money's worth here. Wonderful walking and hiking trails run through the mountains and a breathtaking coastal hiking trail, which you can access step by step from the house over several days, connects the coastal towns around the house up to the Spanish side. It's a dream area for demanding cyclists, but they should be in good physical shape, as this is also the area where the Tour de France is trained. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy the beautiful marina in Argeles, from where many surfers also use the last part of the sandy beach to start off in the southern area off the steep coast.
Apropos sandy beaches: From Argeles to the north you have 40 km of wide sandy beaches to choose from. As our guests are usually spoilt for choice, you will find information in the house about which beaches are best suited for which purpose. For small children there are flat, wide beaches with fine sand and little waves, water sports enthusiasts will find wind, snorkelers will find steep beaches with crystal clear water and for party goers there are of course also beaches with restaurants and discos, which celebrate into the night. There are also naturist beaches and naturally less frequented stretches of beach suitable for long beach walks.
Arrival by car
Take the A9 motorway. At the Le Boulou exit near the Spanish border, follow the road (D618) towards Argeles-sur-Mer for about 10 km until you reach St. Genis-des-Fontanes. From here the path goes 5 km up the hill via village roads to Laroque, the last 5 minutes you gain height via asphalted serpentines to the house. You will receive a precise description of how to get there after booking together with many other useful information that we have compiled for you.
Arriving by plane
The low-cost airline Ryanair flies from many airports in Europe to the nearby airports https://www.ryanair.com Tickets cost there from 20 euros per flight.
All major airlines fly to Barcelona several times a day. (Travel time to the house approx. 2 hours)
From the airport you can take a rental car e.g. via https://billiger-mietwagen.de (We fly regularly to Girona and usually pay about 20 Euro/day, with free border crossing for a small car)
Bus & Train
In Laroque there are 2 bus lines that go inland to Ceret, as well as to the beaches of Argeles-sur-mer and the coastal towns, or to the regional town of Perpignan, from where you can take further train connections. Unfortunately, no line goes up the mountain to the Domaine, where our house is located, this can only be hiked, or with your own car or taxi. Nevertheless the bus network is interesting, if you want to hike the beautiful Sentier Litoral along the coastline, the bus will bring you comfortably back to the starting point of your hike. It is very cheap and costs only 1 Euro per trip, no matter how many stations you drive and is often used by young people who want to explore the area on their own without parents. Argeles-sur-Mer and Perpignan also have railway stations. In Perpignan there is a high-speed line that will take you to Barcelona in less than 2 hours.
The bike is a wonderful means of transport to explore the Roussilon plain around Perpignan. But to cycle up the mountain to Villa Josephine you should be very well trained. The tourist office in Laroque rents out electric bicycles on a daily or weekly basis, which support the trip up the mountain if needed. The nice employees of the tourist office speak English and French. Feel free to contact us, we will be happy to help you with your booking.