When an invitation to a friend’s wedding in a village near Carcasonne arrived, it was accompanied by a list of nearbygîtes and bijoux hotels. La Rougeanne, in the tiny village of Moussoulens, immediately delighted, with its high-ceilinged bedrooms and picturesque outdoor pool.
The former winegrower’s residence had been semi-derelict for almost 50 years until Parisians Monique and Paul-André Glorieux (as delightful a pair as their name might suggest) stumbled upon it in 2001 – now high-summer rooms at La Rougeanne are booked months in advance. The couple sensitively restored its original details, including the floor tiles, marble fireplaces and ironwork balustrades, to which they added modern plumbing, wall shades of pearl grey and duck-egg blue, as well as elegantly styling the house with carefully chosen antiques and paintings. A classical music soundtrack completes the charming ambience, where the peace is only ever momentarily broken by the crunch of gravel underfoot, or the splash of a body diving into the cactus-lined infinity pool.
Each morning we either sat in the gardens or the orangerie, feasting on a breakfast of pastries together with apricots and peaches picked from the garden. La Rougeanne also proved to be a wonderful spot for jaunts to nearby Cathar castles, lakes, Mediterranean beaches and Montolieu, with its bookish “village du livre” reputation. For us, though, the pièce de résistance was La Rougeanne’s candlelit four-course supper, enjoyed on the veranda, washed down with a couple of glasses of Muscat and a bottle of local cabardès rouge. Here, we watched a stormy light show of thunder and fork lightning illuminating the far off Pyrenees – a crackling spectacle.