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It was not by chance that Henry de Monfreid, a writer, adventurer and traveller of the seas, ended up settling in the port of Leucate! Like a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean, it once stood guard on the look out for invaders and has since become a village of fishermen and winemakers. Leucate alone embodies all the vibrant colours of the south. At its heart, this peaceful, Italian-inspired house serves as a refuge for those who have explored the rich lands of the Languedoc region in the sun.
Leucate is the place where I first expressed my artistic emotions when I started to paint at a young age. I was inspired by the quality of light and the surrounding landscapes. As I often travel for work as a painter, the village remains an essential anchor for me.
It is an old, tall village house that has retained its original features. It has many architectural details that are specific to southern France, my favourites are the ones that are also often found in southern Italy: the floor tiles for example or decorations in staff such as the archways over the entrance. The work of companions is illustrated by mantelpiece medallions which show a travelling companion and his apprentice.
A map from a Tassin atlas of the time shows that the house dates from the 17th century. It is therefore part of the historic heart of the village. It is one of the southernmost villages in France and its former function, with the Vauban fortified chateau, was to defend the border against the Catalan claims before Louis XIV's Treaty of Spain pacified the warring nations.
A peaceful and refined atmosphere which is partly down to the decor, it features a mix of 18th century furniture and contemporary design pieces. Also displayed around the house are my canvas paintings, I use different techniques for them including the use of precious metal sheets such as gold and silver. My paintings are inspired by the surrounding light, the patina of time, the remains of Italian palaces that I have visited in Rome and sacred paintings from the Italian Renaissance.
The surrounding nature is a classified site. The village lies at the heart of a peninsula surrounded by sea and lakes where guests can go sailing. The vast plateau of vines and scrubland covered with stone paths, the wild beach that stretches for miles, the cliffs and the Cape Leucate are perfect for long walks in the countryside. Also nearby is Corbières with picturesque villages, fine wines and Cathar castles and abbeys. Nothing is more enjoyable than the mix of seaside with the various traditional restaurants in the village (which are all as good as each other) and summer huts on the beach. I particularly recommend "Le Grand Cap" which is located near the lighthouse and has a breathtaking view of the cliff. The castle of Jau just a few kilometers away is an exceptional place that offers a unique menu and wine-tastings. Local products can be bought two or three times a week at the small markets in the village square just in front of the house.
80 € - 130 € per night
Common areas for guests are located on the ground floor: a large entrance displaying paintings by the owner and artist, the living room and the breakfast room. The bedrooms are spread over two floors, those on the second floor are air-conditioned. Each room has a private bathroom. In the larger rooms, children's beds can be added. Although they have all been inspired by the same spirit, the decor in each room remains unique with a mix of 18th century French or Italian features and some more contemporary works.