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The village of Cordes-sur-Ciel is a Middle Ages showcase, with a rare collection of houses patiently restored by and for heritage enthusiasts. With its balcony overlooking the surrounding hills as far as the eye can see, Maison Bakea is one of the best examples of this. Although its name means "peace" in Basque, it is actually built on former Cathar lands where there were frequent and often violent conflicts. But today there isn’t any risk of rivalry any more, just the possibility of a stay in a unique work of art. The building is unique first and foremost thanks to the first builders, who wanted it to be refined in every wood and stone detail. Then the renovations by the current owners, who started its renovation, and the Compagnons, who carried on its renovation it as if it were a "masterpiece” in a precious testimony to ancestral skills that are clearly still alive and well. Whether you're staying for a night or longer, you'll love being transported back to ancient times when, despite their harshness, they knew how to celebrate beauty.
Chance brought us to Cordes-sur-Ciel, and we immediately fell in love with this medieval town and its exceptional architecture, and even more so with this home that we bought after just three days. As Albert Camus said, “You travel for years without really knowing what you're looking for [...] and then you suddenly arrive in one of those two or three places that have been patiently waiting for each of us in this world. [...] The traveller who looks out over the summer night from a terrace in Cordes knows that they need go no further and that, if they wish, the beauty here day after day, will take away all of their solitude.”
This is a rare building with 15th-century architecture on a major European medieval heritage site. It is built on three floors around an inner courtyard, with exposed stonework, adobe floors, double and triple mullioned windows and leaded stained glass windows, all of which highlight the building’s medieval character. At the far end of the courtyard, an imposing spiral staircase, worn by the passage of the centuries, leads to the second floor. From here, two half-timbered passageways appear, decorated in ochre colours, with brick walls and wooden balusters masterfully restored by the Compagnons du devoir. A 400 m2 wooded and landscaped area, with uninterrupted views over the valley below completes the dwelling, which is something rare in this medieval village.
Cordes-sur-Ciel, the northern military stronghold in the County of Toulouse, is 300 m above sea level and surrounded by a formidable fortification system. It was founded in 1222 by Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse. The aim was to bring together the scattered populations, driven from the fortress of Saint-Marcel, burnt down by Simon de Montfort's troops in 1215, during the first crusade of the "Barons of the North" against the Albigensians. At the time, there was no talk of "Cathar" heresy in this region which spoke the "langue d'oc". A Gothic art jewel, it was one of the first bastides to flourish in the south-west of France in the 13th and 15th centuries. Cordes-sur-Ciel enjoyed great prosperity, in particular thanks to the cloth, silk and leather trade. In the 14th and 15th centuries, wealthy merchants built luxurious residences here. This seigneurial residence is one of the testimonies to this history.
The residence is located in the heart of the Cathar city on the St. James Way to Santiago de Compostela, one of Europe's most important heritage sites. The house has a terrace at the front, providing an unobstructed view of the surrounding valleys, as well as a garden, opposite and below, with a remarkable view which is very rare for a 15th-century residence. It is also the only guest house in Cordes to have Haute Époque and Renaissance furnishings in a medieval atmosphere. We would be delighted to share our passion for this era with you, and to help you have an exceptional stay here.
The "bastides" tour: Puycelsi, Bruniquel, Castelnau de Montmirail, Najac, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. The episcopal city of Albi, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Sainte-Cécile cathedral, the largest brick cathedral in the world. The Gaillac vineyards, where fine wine lovers will love the charm of the Tarn's "little Tuscany". Enjoy the sunset over the rolling vineyards with a glass of Gaillac wine in your hand. For restaurants, in Puycelsi, there is "Le jardin des lys" which overlooks the valley and serves traditional French cuisine. In Albi, the delicious L'Épicurien; L'Alchimie, with its beautiful terrace and delicious food; and magnificent Le Moulin de Varen, along the river! Last but not least, Cordes has many artists and artisans in residence.
195 € - 225 € per night
The five guest rooms are on the second floor, which is reached by a spiral staircase. Three of them can be accessed directly from the passageway. All have en suite facilities. There is parking in front of the house, at the foot of the historic village centre.