Villa in Fourques, in the Eastern Pyrenees - quiet location yet 2 minutes walk to local shops in a wine producing village situated between Ceret and Thuir
- english, french
About Andrew McCracken
We are a retired couple with two grown up children and 4 grandchildren. We have lived and worked in Scotland, England, West Africa and Hong Kong, but have spent many holidays in France as well as the US, Canada, and Europe. We came househunting in this area in November 2005 and immediately fell in love with L'Andalouse. It had gone on the market the previous day, and we were the first viewers. We lived here for the whole of 2006, redecorating and making improvements before moving back to Scotland for family reasons. We now try to spend as much time as possible in France and have left many of our pictures, books and games to make the house a home from home. We aim to make improvements every year, some big, some small, making the house and garden more comfortable and convenient for ourselves and our guests. We have exchanged our house in Scotland each year for over 20 years, and have had some memorable holidays in the USA and Canada, France, Spain, Holland and Italy. We always appreciated the effort our swappers made to prepare their house for us and to introduce us to their home and their local area, and we made every effort to prepare our own house equally well. We hope we have brought some of that 'esprit' into our preparation of L'Andalouse for our guests. In addition, we try to make sure they have all the information and support they need to have a truly relaxing and enjoyable holiday. The fact that some have returned several times suggests we are some way towards getting things right!
Andrew McCracken purchased this Villa in 2005
Why Andrew McCracken chose Fourques
We had a holiday in this area in 2003 and loved the variety of scenery, the proximity to the hills and the sea, and to Spain. We returned to house hunt in this area in 2005 when we retired. This house had come on the market the day before our visit, we were the first to view it, and we fell for it at first sight. It is very accessible from most of the UK through cheap flights to local airports (Perpignan, Carcassonne, Girona and Beziers are closest, while Barcelona, Montpellier and Toulouse are around 2 hours away) and is well served by the motorway network. There is so much to do in this region whatever your interests. We enjoy walking in the local countryside - there is a pretty circular walk we often do from the house through vineyards and cork oak woods, with great views of Mt Canigou, the Alberes Mountains and glimpses of the sea. There are also serious walks in the hills and along the coast. There are ancient churches and Cathar castles, towns like medieval Castelnou and pretty Ceret with its avenues of plane trees, narrow streets and little squares. The house itself is very convenient, all on one level, with the two private corridors, each containing two bedrooms and a shower or bathroom and toilet. This makes it a very suitable house two families to have their own private space, or for grandparents to share the holiday with their children and grandchildren, but have their own private area of the house. The terrace and garden are also on the level, which makes it suitable for those with very young children or older people with minor mobility issues. It is sadly not suitable for wheelchair users, however, as some of the doorways would be too narrow. We are on the edge of the village, yet part of it, in a quiet cul-de-sac, with neighbours but plenty of privacy. We have worked hard to create a home from home, and aim to make as we have chosen improvements that make a real difference to how the house feels and to the experience of living in it.
What makes this Villa unique
We looked for a detached house with a pool and privacy in a traditional village where we could walk to the shops in the morning and buy a baguette and a local paper. L'Andalouse provides just that, and is a peaceful retreat from the bustle of the coastal resorts in summer. We can hear the church bells and the birds and precious little else. The night skies are fantastic - a real feature. Our neighbours are friendly and helpful but not intrusive. There are several good restaurants nearby, in Terrats, Thuir as well as in the local countryside. We can get to so many interesting places with an hour, and a little further afield are Carcassonne, Montpellier, Girona and Barcelona. We especially like the choice of beaches, with some super snorkeling in the rocky coves on both sides of the Spanish border. Our location opens up possibility of visiting the Pyrenees, Catalonia, Andorra, and the Costa Brava, as well as the attraction of living in a well equipped house in a typical wine-producing village.
Check-in: 4:00 PM
Check-out: 10:00 AM
Canceled bookings will not receive a refund
Wunderschönes Ferienhaus zwischen Bergen und Meer
Das Ferienhaus L’Andalouse lässt keine Wünsche offen. Es liegt sehr ruhig und nicht einsehbar am Ortsrand von Fourques. Die Wohnung ist geräumig, sehr sauber, schön und komfortabel eingerichtet und sehr gut ausgestattet. Die Besitzer tun alles, um von der Buchung bis zur Abreise den Aufenthalt in ihrem Ferienhaus angenehm zu gestalten. Für uns als erste Gäste aus Deutschland haben sie sogar eigens einen Receiver für Deutsches Fernsehen installiert.
Der Außenbereich mit seinem großen, beheizten Pool ist sehr großzügig gestaltet. Der Pool wird 2 Mal wöchentlich gereinigt und gepflegt. Die Sitzmöglichkeiten sowie die Sommerküche mit Grillstelle und Kühlschrank sind optimal zum Frühstücken oder Grillen am Pool.
Die Lage des Anwesens eignet sich ideal für vielfältige Ausflüge ans Meer, in die Berge, zu idyllischen Orten, Burgen und auch nach Spanien. Vor Ort ist ein Bäcker, zahlreiche Supermärkte sowie ein paar kleine, sehr empfehlenswerte Restaurants sind in den umliegenden Orten.
Wir hatten einen rundum gelungenen zweiwöchigen Urlaub mit tollen Ausflügen, aber auch hohem Erholungswert und freuen uns schon jetzt, im nächsten Jahr wieder zu kommen. Wir können das L’Andalouse nur weiterempfehlen und haben bereits wieder gebucht!
Exceptional property just s described
We stayed in this terrific bungalow for 3 weeks, everything was there from spices etc in the cupboard to beach towels & loungers by the pool. The pool was heated to about 29 degrees & was just wonderful to get into & relax. The temperature during the day was an average 26-28 degrees & we only had one day of rain. Simon who looked after the pool twice a week also gave us some very good advice when we asked about having an overnight trip to Spain. He suggested going to Gerona first, we visited the old town as advised & thoroughly enjoyed it. We can certainly recommend this property, the area surrounding it was superb with fantastic views. You do need a car but as we had driven there that was no problem. Castelnou is a definite must for a visit.
Amazing week at this villa
What more could you ask for. This charming villa had absolutely everything you could possibly want on holiday. Wonderful pool and outdoor eating with BBQ (always in the shade, which is a godsend when the temp. is high). Easy access to the coast and beautiful villages and towns close by. The villa is well stocked with games, music and books. This is the best villa we've rented and we look forward to coming again.
Fabulous villa and location
All facilities were very clean and the layout of the villa was excellent. We were two families of four and had a wing each. Lovely open feel to the main living area with good access to the patio where the main attraction is the superb heated pool with enough room to play water polo with four each side (we took our own net). There is also enough room for a badminton net around the front and a great surface for boules. The long warm evenings were just perfect for sitting outside with a glass or two of local wine, especially with the outdoor lighting and the pool lighting. We frequently used the summer kitchen which was excellent. There is a lovely local walk from the property through the nearby vineyards, but a car is required to reach the coastal beaches and nearby hills with great views of the Pyrenees. Andrew and Celia have been very attentive throughout the booking process and keen to make sure we had everything we needed. Simon who looked after the pool was very friendly and helpful with good local knowledge. We would highly recommend this villa for a great relaxing time. Thanks again Andrew and Celia.
Home From Home
If you're looking for "home from home" then look no further. This property has everything you could possibly wish for in order to make your stay a truly happy and memorable one. It is clean, spacious, very comfortable and so well equipped. There are beach towels that you can borrow, along with toys and inflatables to use in the pool. The summer kitchen is a real bonus having a separate fridge and freezer to store your food for use on the barbecue. The pool is regularly cleaned by Simon who is very friendly and helpful and most knowledgeable of the locality.
The villa is in a great location, being near to beaches and places of interest, yet set in a very peaceful, quiet typical French village. You will find the local village shops are just a stroll away and a good selection of supermarkets in nearby towns. The owners, Andrew and Celia are very helpful. If you have any queries at any stage they are quick to respond. We so enjoyed our stay that we we would like to return.
The villa is superb. Great private/quiet location and easy to find. Just a 5 minute walk for croissants in the morning. The grounds offer perfect facilities; a pool surrounded by two outdoor dinning areas including a BBQ and additional fridge/freezer. The interior of the property caters for all your needs - well stocked kitchen and dresser. Very comfortable beds and spacious open plan living area. The owners, Andrew & Ceila clearly care for the property and from booking to departure offered great communication and service. Thank you, the Lyall family
Several of our guests have enjoyed spotting the wildlife in our garden and beyond. Among the many sightings are hoopoe, swift, swallow, cirl bunting, golden oriole, goldfinch, black redstart, scops owl, little owl, bee-eater, nightingale, hen harrier, short-toed eagle, tree-creeper, jay, cuckoo, gecko lizard, stick insect, praying mantis. We often see bats at dusk. Recent guests (2015) watched a pine martin being chased by two magpies in the garden, and in 2016 we have had a red squirrel in the garden on several occasions.
The nearest coast is around 25 kms away, and takes less than half an hour. There is a great choice of beaches, from the long sandy beaches north of Perpignan to the rocky coves that start at Collioure and stretch south towards the Costa Brava. We like Le Racou Plage, just north of Collioure as it has parking right by the beach, and a mix of sandy and rocky coast. It can get busy in high season, when the quietest spots are on the D81A north of Perpignan. There is excellent snorkelling and scuba around Banyuls, and the best beaches for young children are between Canet Plage and Leucate where the fine sand shelves gently.
The nearest airport is Perpignan, about 30 minutes' drive. Other possible airports are at Girona, Carcassonne and Beziers (90 minutes) and Barcelona, Toulouse and Montpellier (around 2 hours).
Use of a car is recommended, although the local shops can supply most basic needs within easy walking distance. The village is 15 minutes from the A9 motorway which connects with Montpellier, Toulouse and Spain.
Thuir (6kms) has a wide choice of supermarkets, banks and restaurants, and a typical provincial Saturday market.
Perpignan (15kms) has many tourist attractions, as well as stores, boutiques, cinema and restaurants.
The medieval village and castle of Castelnou is a 15 minute drive, and has several craft shops and restaurants.
Ceret (20kms) is a very pretty town with a large Saturday market and the famous Museum of Modern Art.
Collioure (25kms) is a picture postcard pretty seaside town, but very busy in high season.
Spain (25kms) is not far away and there are great things to do and see just over the border in Figueras, Cadaques, and the Costa Brava.
A welcome pack is provided to help guests on their arrival. It includes information about the house, the pool and the local area. A starter pack of basic foodstuffs can be provided on request for guests arriving late. A supply of cleaning materials, condiments, oils and herbs will be left in the house at the start of the season, and guests are asked to replace these as required. We will be also be available at the end of a phone to answer any questions and to provide further advice if required.
Most supermarkets now open on Sunday mornings, and those shops that do open usually close at lunch time. In the village we have a baker, a butcher, a Spar supermarket, a chemist, and a hairdresser. The butcher has his main shop in nearby Llupia, where you can buy a range of cooked dishes, and on Sunday mornings, freshly cooked chickens. In Fourques there is also a post office, an ATM, a garage and of course the cave cooperative where you can buy local wines of various quality.
Village life revolves around the vineyards which surround the village and at different seasons you can watch the planting, pruning, and harvesting of the grapes. In September the gutters literally run with grape juice.
There is a tennis club in the village, and guests who are interested can join for a small fee.
We have a large collection of guide books and maps of the local area for the use of guests.
There are many interesting local festivals, some of which reflect the Spanish influence on this part of France. In early February there are ancient Fetes de l'Ours in several towns to mark the time the bears come out of hibernation. In Perpignan the Penitents' Procession takes place at Easter.
There are medieval towns and Cathar castles within a short drive of the house, and some beautiful churches and cloisters.
Ceret has bullrunning in July, when young men try to leap onto bulls which run through the town.
There is a large Christmas market in Perpignan, and elaborate Nativity scenes with a Catalan twist.
Of course, many guests just like to relax by the pool with a glass of something.