Giddy up! Your caravan rumbles slowly into life. With steady steps the dependable dray sets off through the countryside and your saga begins...along small rural roads in the Ariège, by the side of delightful rippling rivers, and through the charming lands of the Cathars at the foot of the Pyrenees. Morning and evening, a professional handler helps you to harness, hitch and unhitch your horse.
He also provides essential advice to ensure your days are spent in trouble-free enjoyment.
At the end of each daily stage, you are welcomed in charming encampments adapted to your rig. And so you don't have to fuss over preparation, delicious meals made with local ingredients are delivered daily direct to your caravan! An authentic Bohemian existence... without the hassle!
7 days travelling in a horse-drawn caravan, full board and home cooking supplied!
The horse breeder available to help you if necessary all through your holiday
Ambling along at the horse's pace, unforgettable experience for your family or with friends
Regular breaks at bathing spotThe sensation of independence and liberty, with the flavour of a childhood dream
Once you've arrived on Saturday in the small village of Trémoulet (no earlier than 17.00!), you might like to relax and have a drink at the side of the pool...then it's off to Molandier, charming village of the Aude with a welcoming structure of Chambre d'Hôtes including 3 placements for horses and caravans. Indeed, this is where you get acquainted with your travelling companion, a superb and imposing dray horse.
On the road towards the neighbouring village of Belpech you can do a bit of shopping if you need to.
From Molandier to Mazères
Departure 9.30 for 7km.
Emmanuel will teach you how to get your horse ready and lead a horse and trailer in a tranquil manner. Your adventure begins by the passage from the Aude to the Ariège département.
I wish I lived in a caravan,
With a horse to drive, like the pedlar man!
Where he comes from nobody knows,
Or where he goes to, but on he goes!
(Victorian poem by William Brighty Rands)
Then it's on towards Mazères, attractive old village in the Laugarais area, formerly a fortified town ('bastide') within the region around Toulouse. Splendid castle, twin towers of the XVI century and a protestant chapel ('temple') built in 1846 are more than worth a look!
Reception at the village campsite, 'La Bastide', a shady oasis with the warm scents of the South-West, nestling beside the river which is named L'Hers. (Say, 'lairss'.)
On site: barbecue, wifi, swimmin
From Mazères to Calmont
Departure 9.30, 9km.
You follow the road along the river Hers, a swathe of greenery that links the Aude, the Ariège and the Haute-Garonne rivers. You're heading for a village of the lower Toulouse region in upper Garonne, Calmont. The route of this third day reveals the glistening colours of the Lauragais hills. The 'Camping du Mercier' is a small and friendly site where birdsong is the prevailing music.
On site: swimming pool and children's games. Shops in the village.
From Calmont to Mazères
Departure 9.30, 8.5km.
Today's outing gives an opportunity to enjoy an unspoilt and accessible natural environment that will delight grown-ups and children alike. Taking a different route you make your way back to the very agreeable camp site in Mazères, 'La Bastide' . The red-brick village diffuses an undeniable warmth, and the many activities proposed will make your evenings all the more enjoyable. Lots of ideas too for a relaxed afternoon: a visit to the elegant Musée Ardouin, canoe hire, or a few kilometres away, take a look at the Bird Park (Parc aux Oiseaux).
From Mazères to Montaut
Departure 9.30; 9km.
After leaving Mazères you head south towards the Pyrenees. You'll amble along country roads through the cereal fields of this rich plain of the lower Ariège. And you'll explore the lofty fortified village ('bastide') of Montaut, typical of the region, standing like a watchtower built on a mound to dominate the Valley of the river Hers.
You will be welcomed on arrival at the stables of the Domaine de Montaut. You can enjoy seeing the farm animals, go for a swim in the pool, or even take a riding lesson!
From Montaut to Vernet d'Ariège
9.30 start, distance 7km.
Your next stop is at Le Vernet d'Ariège that you reach along quiet secondary roads with little traffic. Rolling between the fields you come to the "Base des Canterines", a 2½ acre camp site with a real local feel. From "La Belle Verte" a guide can accompany you as you paddle down your canoe down the river Ariège (2hours or full day with pauses).
And there's also an "Accrobranche" (treetop adventure course - kids are under their parents' responsibility.)
From Le Vernet d'Ariège to Pamiers
Departure 16.30, 15km.
The later afternoon start is built-in to enable you and your kids to enjoy the activities available.
Day seven already! A pleasant escape from it all along narrow tracks heady with the scents and colours of the Ariège countryside. There is a variety of wonderful views of the Pyrenees all day long. In the evening you are welcomed to the "Haras des 3 Bornes" where you spend your last holiday night. These stables contain a stud farm specialising in breeding dray horses, and you can enjoy driving an "attelage" accompanied by a state qualified instructor (pre-booking essential - ask us how.)
Time flies, and now your stay is over. After a last thank you to your horse you will be accompanied back to your car around 10 o'clock.
According to availability, there may be the possibility of booking an extra night in your gypsy home.
Full board (7 days): all your meals are brought to your caravan.
Horse and caravan hire.
Initiation by a professional handler to hitching and unhitching.
Encampments with showers and toilets.
Insurance for both the horse and the caravan.
Food for the horse.
Beds (but please bring your own sleeping bags).
Dogs are not accepted on this holiday.
IMPORTANT: please remember to show us your valid public liability insurance certificate.
What's not included ?
Beverage and extra
Return transfer from Home to the first accomodation
Facultative cancellation and rapatriation insurance
Characteristics of circuits
Small convoy going from place to place, with a handler to deal with hitching and unhitching each day
Daily stages between 7km and 15km, at the horse's pace
General altitude around 250 metres above sea level
The route is along quiet little country roads
This description is for a one-week holiday. The circuit is swapped round the following week. Furthermore, the stable owner may adjust the hours and organisation of the holiday, in consultation with you and bearing in mind the weather forecast, any unforeseen wrinkles, roadworks or even festivals!
Each stage includes stopping places with food and water so the horse can rest and recuperate. We provide logistical and technical aid as required. The stables sends a handler to hitch up the horse to the caravan in the morning then unhitch at the end of each day.
The actual order of the day stages described here may be modified if needs be.
Most stages can be completed in half a day, which leaves you time to relax and enjoy the sights or go for a dip. Or indeed to stretch out your picnic-lunch time so it reaches the hour of the siesta!
Each evening you will stay in an encampment on private ground, with showers and toilets. You can plug lamps into the sockets situated at the toilet blocks, so don't forget to bring your own lighting / extension cable as these are not furnished.
By car: Go along the A66 towards Foix. Leave at sortie (exit)N°2, signs for Saverdon / Mazères, then drive along the D14 and the D611 to get to Trémoulet. The caravan hire place is 50 metres from the Mairie (town hall).
Toulouse Airport (TLS)
If you are coming from the West, we suggest you descend at Gare SNCF, Pamiers. If you are coming from the East, get off at Gare SNCF, Carcassonne.
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