Ideal for relaxation, cycling or walking & site seeing in a beautiful valley.
- english, french
About Gilli Palmer
Mike and I have been together many years having run a successful agricultural advisory business in the North of England together for 18 years before we moved to live in France. I have always ridden & driven horses as my sport & Mike has been a successful amateur racing cyclist all his life. I am an enthusiastic cook, gardener and a fairly successful artist - watercolours & oils. I love painting portraits. I am also a Reiki Seichem Master/Teacher & enjoy all levels of a spiritual life connected to the land & our beloved woodland. We also have a farm with breeding sheep here at Gary, but as we are surrounded by mature broadleafed woodland we also have an interest in a firewood business. Our forester comes from Cumbria & manages our woodland in an ecologically sound & sympathetic manner. Mike is a keen gatherer of wild mushrooms in season & is also a keen gardener. He loves introducing children & young people to the country life having reared two lovely daughters of his own. He keeps good care of our cycles & his own beloved Kuota! which he rides regularly. I enjoy cycling too but am not up to his level of fitness & dont do hills very well. He will happily take cycling parties out for a spin if required. We both enjoy our animals, we have 3 cats and a dog as well as my retired horses and of course our small flock of sheep. It gives us both great pleasure to see our visitors relax & enjoy both our cottage and the beautiful area in which we live.
Gilli Palmer purchased this Cottage in 2004
Why Gilli Palmer chose Saint-Benoît
Well, we didnt really set out to buy a property, it just happened. We were in the area on holiday & tagged on to a property visiting event with our sister in law. Basically we came to Gary, saw the house & land & just decided to buy it. It was so like our home in the UK, lost in the forest with a few paddocks, only here at Gary we have much more land & we actually own the woodland too. The old stone house needed a lot of love & care but had a huge amount of potential which we have been able to exploit. We havnt been able to date the house as there have been no records kept but we think it is about 300 years old. The walls are thick & keep us cool in summer but warm in winter. We have a large vegetable garden sloping east-south/east on clay but which is now starting to produce well after several seasons of deep working & applications of well rotted manure. The surrounding woodland is full of wildlife & we have many rare butterflies & orchids. We also have wild strawberries in the spring & wild crocus in the autumn. Sweet chestnuts are plentiful along with walnuts, medlar & blackberries. Many of the annual traditional garden flowers which I have planted since we arrived seem to have started to naturalise & I have also noticed several types of garden flowers which grow wild in this area - we even have alliums growing in the hedgerows. Many of our visitors ask us how we found the property & our answer can only be Chance - either that or in some unique way the property found us.
What makes this Cottage unique
I think that under this heading I can only say that although when you live or stay here at Gary you can feel as though you are in the depths of the countryside, when in actual fact we are only a few miles from our nearest village and only a few miles further from a decent sized town and wonderful site seeing in a unique historial area. We now supply fresh bread & croissantes to order each day. On the other hand, we enjoy the annual visit of the Tour de France - it always seems to come close to us and in fact for the last 2 years our local town Limoux has been able to host a stage start. Add to that we have quiet roads all the year round so it is possible to enjoy a safe & peaceful cycle ride whenever you wish - at all levels of difficulty from virtually flat to as steep as you can manage. It is also easy to visit many of the great Pyrennean climbs to have a go yourself if you fancy it & still get home to supper. The Med is not too far away for a day trip so safe, warm sea bathing is a regular enjoyment, or walking in the mountains - we are extremely lucky to be virtually central to a wide array of sports & activities. Then of course I mustnt forget the old castles & abbeys - we especially enjoy the music concerts & other activities which are held throughout the year at many of these venues. Our closest castle, Chateau Chalabre has its own horses & knights & holds weekly tournaments & participation entertainments specially geared to children all summer & it is only about 5 miles away over the hill. It is safe to say there is always something interesting to do if you want to apart from sitting in the garden by the pool in the sun. One of our visitors was delighted to sit & see the stars in the night sky after a lifetime of light pollution! Most people find something unique about Gary.
Canceled bookings will not receive a refund
Utterly idyllic spot with generous hosts.
Absolutely wonderful stay at Butterfly Cottage, which is as quiet and relaxing as we could possibly have hoped for. The cottage itself caters amply for a family of 4 (great shower!) and sitting on the outside terrace you could quite literally be in the middle of nowhere amid the stunning scenery. The only sounds at night are those of the forest and wildlife abounds - the cottage is aptly named - we have not felt so relaxed in years.
What made the stay extra special was Gilli and Mike. Their generosity (wonderful garden produce) and advice on where to go was fabulous. On discovering I had a particular interest in moths, Gilli told me about the hatching Death's Head Hawk moths they had seen and over the week they brought round two recently emerged moths for the children and I to see before releasing them - quite wonderful!
The cottage is ideally situated for exploring markets, Cathar Castles, beaches, Carcassonne and of course wine. We would return in a heartbeat. Thank you Gilli and Mike for a wonderful stay!
Thank you for your very kind review. As we explained Mike has always had this passion for moths & butterflies so it was wonderful to share our exceptional creatures with you all. Late August & early September seem to be the weeks for the hatching of these amazing Deaths Head Hawk moths. We really love this place and its surroundings and we thoroughly enjoy sharing it with like minded people. We hope you will come back to visit us again.
Fabulous setting for a relaxing break.
Butterfly Cottage more than lived up to the description provided. The cottage was clean and comfortable but more importantly felt homely. Given that it was a considerable drive to the local shops we were delighted to find that the essentials such as coffee and milk were provided for the first night.
The setting is stunning if you are looking for relaxation and beautiful French countryside with attractions within driving distance should you wish to explore the area. The cottage had a comprehensive folder containing local information and attractions. The pool which was exceptionally clean was an added bonus for my granddaughter who made good use of the facility.
The owners, Gilli and Mike, were really friendly and on hand should you need advice, information or directions.
Prior to our holiday we had arranged for Gilli to provide us with a meal on our first evening. Gilli is an accomplished cook and the meal was superb. So much so, we arranged another meal for later in the week! A treat not to be missed!
Mike also sent us home with a bag of dried mushrooms which he had "foraged" during our stay. Tomorrow night my kitchen will be full of the smell of mushrooms and memories of our recent holiday as I cook up a wild mushroom risotto. We would certainly stay at Butterfly Cottage again and recommend it to others who enjoy nature and the countryside.
Very glad that you enjoyed your visit and will look forward to you coming to see us again. We love our home here at Gary & sharing it with our visitors gives us a lot of pleasure.
A haven of peace and tranquility
As we drove down the country lane passing pigs, horses, fields and through woods we wondered where on earth we were going amd if we would ever get there! And then we pulled into yard and were greeted by Gilli, Mike and lovely bouncy bella the staffordshire bull terrier in the beautiful tiny hamlet of Gary.
Butterfly Cottage has everything you need and we enjoyed many hours in the garden, playing in the pool and walking through the countryside.
Carcassonne is stunning and around 40 minutes drive away and there are many pretty villages nearby with markets to wander and explore.
Gilli and Mike are on hand to provide any information and advice and provided us with gifts of fresh produce from there garden which was delicious.
This really is a little bubble of peace and tranquility and we were sad to leave. We would highly recommend this property.
Thank you - your pleasure & response to our beautiful property and area is very much appreciated. You will be very welcome to come again any time you like. Gilli
A peaceful and relaxing holiday
We have recently returned from a 6 day break at Butterfly Cottage and highly recommend it. The property is well equipped for a family and Gilli and Mike are lovely, kind folk. They offered us fresh produce from their garden ( which was delicious! ) and even let us have some butter when we had run out on a Sunday and no shops were open. They told us about events that were on in the area and their are plenty of leaflets in the cottage that offer other suggestions. The pool was very refreshing after a hot day out and the cottage remained fairly cool even in the hot weather. Thanks again Gilli and Mike for a great break. Best wishes, The Turnbull Family. X
Many thanks for your review, we are very pleased you enjoyed your stay with and hope you and your family will come again some day. Gilli & Mike
A tranquil French escape.( with awesome owners)
When looking for a French cottage holiday it can be a little hit and miss, we've been to a few misses over the years but the reviews for Butterfly cottage were so good we had to give it a try, well what can I say? the reviews are spot on, from the long leafy drive into Gary and the warm welcome you receive from Gilli and Mike you know you're on to a winner. Butterfly cottage is everything we'd hoped for and more! My wife and daughters wanted warm weather markets and a pool to relax in and i wanted history, castles and dare i say wine! all were provided in the area and property.
Butterfly cottage is well appointed, nestled at the end of a wooded lane surrounded by forest and open fields, all of which you can explore if you've a mind, if you like good food Gilli will provide you with a meal on arrival or anytime you don't feel like cooking for a very reasonable price including wine....she is a very good cook and uses all her own produce which was delicious and just about as fresh as you'll ever have.
Inside Butterfly Cottage upstairs you have two double rooms one of which also has a single bed so lots of room, seperate wc and the most amazing shower room, from the landing you can go outside onto a roomy balcony where I sat every morning with my coffee listening to the sounds of forest and wildlife...bliss? you betcha!
Downstairs you have a kitchen and living room, kitchen is fully fitted with fridge freezer, microwave, slow cooker (very handy after a long day out) oven and hob, there is no dishwasher but I don't have one at home so didn't miss it, there is a dining table and chairs if it gets too hot to eat outside and sofas with stereo and English and French tv channels. Outside the ground floor door is a very nice raised eating area with table chairs and a candle holder for lighting once the suns gone down. As i've said before i've been to one or two properties over the years but never enjoyed my surroundings as much as I did here.
Towels, beach/pool and bedding are all provided so don't lug extra weight and there's plenty of spares, there was even spare toiletries which we didn't need but if you'd forgotten them they were there for your use.
Gilli and Mike are truly the best owners ever! they are helpful in every way from gifts of fresh fruit and veg from the garden or tips and advice on places to visit.
Id like to think they are now our friends and we look forward to many more stays at Butterfly Cottage, thank you very much,The Doherty's
Absolutely delighted you enjoyed your stay so much. We take great pleasure in our guests enjoying their holidays, surroundings, visits etc etc. We will be very pleased to have you visit us again, weekends, winter breaks whatever you fancy. Thank you. Gilli & Mike
A friendly stay in nature and quietness
A friendly welcome by the landowners in a small farm. Quietness guarenteed and beautyfull walks trough the surrouding forest. Excellent for nature and hiking lovers, I've spent three relaxing days sharing my time between following the farms' work and wandering in the forest arround.
Thank to Gilli and Mike for this good time shared.
Thank you for your review. The weather was kind and we enjoyed your company, a short break can be very relaxing I am surprised more people dont try it especially as Carcassonne airport is so close.
Gary is a small hamlet of houses set in a valley of deciduous woods and grazing pastures. Close to the GN7 walking route there is unlimited walking and cycling (road & all terrain) Hire your cycle from us - good quality road & all terrain, straight from our door. Listen to the nightingales sing in spring or the deer barking and owls hooting in late summer from our sunny balcony or shady terrace. Our gardens & the wild flowers attract fantastic butterflies, Swallowtails, Rare Swallowtail, Silver Washed Frits, White Admirals & many more. Relax in the sunshine, swim in the pool, picnic in the woods, walk marked paths or further afield. Close to Carcassonne & the Cathar Castles. Like a wild swim? visit Montbel a large lake near Chalabre with a mountain backdrop, or the lake at the foot of Puivert Castle. On the edge of this wonderful wine growing areas, taste Blanquette de Limoux, or the reds & whites of Malpere, Corbiere, Minervois, tasting visits can be arrange. Go with Mike on a Fungus Foray Aug to Oct - cooking tips with Gilli.
Other Activities: Wine tasting, canoeing, castles, abbeys, Carcassonne, medieval towns & villages