Frequently Asked Questions
|Here are the answers to most of the questions people tend to ask us. If there is anything else you would like to know, please email us.|
|Accessibility:||The Domaine de Loustalviel is not suitable for people in wheelchairs, or who have difficulty with stairs. The ground floors are all wheelchair-accessible, but all bedrooms are upstairs.|
|Barbecues:||Each house has its own barbecue area, and barbecues are provided. The previous occupants may have left you some charcoal, but don’t bank on it. If you run out, the Casino mini-market at Belpech keeps charcoal in stock, but it’s not on display, so you have to ask for it (“charbon de bois“)|
|Beaches:||The nearest Mediterranean beaches are at Narbonne Plage, about a 75 minute drive.|
|Beds and linen:||Beds:||King Size beds are 1m50 by 2m (approximately 5 ft by 6 ft 6 in).Single beds are 90 cm by 1m90 (approximately 3 ft by 6 ft 4 in).|
|Bedlinen:||We provide mattress protectors (breathable, antibacterial, not plastic), and quality cotton bedding. Extra blankets are also available for when the evenings are chilly. We do not provide any bedlinen for cots.|
|Towels:||We provide well sized, good quality hand and bath-towels for each guest in the ensuite bathrooms, and hand towels in the separate WCs. We also provide swimming towels.|
|Bicycles:||Sorry. We don’t provide bicycles (the legal and insurance implications are prohibitive). There are however cycle rental companies who can deliver bicyles to the Domaine, or you can pick them up from their office.|
| Cars &
|A car is absolutely essential if you are staying at Le Domaine de Loustalviel. All the big car hire companies have offices at all the regional airports, but most of our guests seem to find that the best arrangement is to use companies like www.holidayautos.co.uk. We strongly recommend you book well in advance, because, generally, the earlier you book, the better the prices. Note that the car rental counters at Carcassonne airport can be unbelievably slow. To minimise the delay, on landing, one of you goes at a trot straight through immigration and baggage to get to the head of the car rental queue; the rest wait for the baggage.|
|Children:||Cots:||We can provide cots for youngsters up to about 18 months, but the supply is limited, so it’s essential that you check availability with us before you book. Note that we do not provide any bedlinen for cots.|
|Fun:||Apart from the obvious fun of having 3 acres of garden and meadow to run around in (and the ability to get far enough away to be able to shout and scream at the top of their voices without upsetting the boring adults), kids will also enjoy the football goalposts, swingball, piste de boules, and the big meadow suitable for cricket (or rounders)|
|High Chair:||We have two high chairs available; it’s essential that you check with us before you book that someone else hasn’t “bagged” them.|
|Safety:||The pool is fenced to French Government standards (AFNOR NF P90 – 306).It’s nearly a kilometre from the nearest public road, so, except for the guests’ and the owners’ cars, the Domaine is entirely traffic free.|
|Climate:||The climate in our part of France varies between quite wide extremes; pretty cold in winter to really very hot in summer (but almost always with a cooling breeze). Here are the historic monthly averages for Carcassonne (40 kilometres away) from 1971 to 2000 (excluding the heat-wave of 2003 and the most recent “Global Warming” effects):|
|Electricity:||French electrical sockets are different from UK sockets; if you’re bringing any electrical appliances (such as phone chargers) with UK, US, Australian or other plugs, you’ll need an adapter to plug them in to French sockets. The voltage in France is the same as throughout the rest of Europe and the UK, 240 volts. So visitors from Europe don’t need to bring transformers. Visitors from North America, and other places where the standard is 110 volts do need to bring step-down transformers to operate any 110-volt-only appliances they might bring with them.|
|Hairdryers:||We provide hairdryers in each of the houses.|
|Internet:||Hig Speed Wireless Broadband is now available on the Domaine in both houses.|
|Ironing:||There’s an iron and an ironing board in each house.|
|Journey Times:||Carcassonne:||We’re about 40 minutes’ drive from Carcassonne airport (Salvaza).|
|Toulouse:||We’re just under an hour’s drive (depending on traffic) from Toulouse airport (Blagnac).|
|Channel Ports:||Plan for at least 10-11 hours actual driving time from Calais if you use the autoroutes. You need to add rest times, loo breaks and refuelling to this figure.|
|Kitchen Equipment:||You will find all the standard pots and pans, dishes, bowls, knives, wooden spoons, spatulas, corkscrews, tin-openers, etc that you would expect. But here are some particular items that people have asked about:|
|Coffee Maker:||There’s a cafetiere jug in every kitchen|
|Electric Oven:||Full size|
If you would like to download a copy of the House Manual, so that you can swot up in advance where to find the gas taps, or the nearest vineyards (also useful if you are suffering from insomnia!), click here.
The frogs, owls, nightingales, deer and wild boar have a ball; like them human beings have to make their own entertainment. If you think you might want want to go clubbing, the Domaine de Loustalviel is not for you.
Sorry, the general rule is “No Pets”. In some circumstances we might make an exception, but please discuss this with us before you book.
There are no landline phones in the houses. In an emergency the phone in our house can be used.
Most mobile phones work – just – on the Domaine, although you may find you have to do silly things like standing on your head near the olive tree! Most people prefer to go into Belpech when they want to make mobile phone calls (the perfect excuse for a pre-lunch beer in the cafe!).
You can get a lot of information about restaurants in the area by clicking on the “Guide Gastronomique” link on the “more about the Surroundings” page.
The Security Deposit is designed to cover us in the event of major damage by our guests.
We try to be reasonable about minor accidents, and in 5 years have only withheld the Security Deposit twice. (The cost of the damage done was much greater than the deposit)
Officially it can take up to 6 weeks for the Security Deposit held by our agents be returned; in practice it’s usually back in our guests’ bank account within three weeks.
You can get more detail about shopping in the area by clicking on the “Markets & Shopping” link on the “More About the Surroundings” Page.
If you are planning to arrive late on a Saturday, or during Sunday, you do need to note that virtually all major supermarkets in France are closed on Sundays (Although some are now opening or a couple of hours on Sunday morning). About 6 weeks before your stay begins, we’ll send you directions for finding the Domaine, and this will include suggestions as to where you might shop on a Sunday morning (the butcher, baker and mini-market in Belpech, and a small supermarket on the way from Carcassonne airport).
The swimming pool measures 12 metres by 5 metres. We treat it like a baby, keeping it clean and crystal clear throughout the season.
The pool is fenced to French Government safety standards (AFNOR NF P90 – 306).
It is heated, which means it’s very inviting from May to the end of September. We close it down, usually, in mid-October, and re-open it around Easter (at which time it tends to be a bit “bracing”, but perfectly swimmable…if you like that sort of thing!).
You’ll find plenty of chairs and sun-loungers round the pool, and a couple of very large shade canopies to keep the burning Languedoc sun at bay.
Please note that even when it’s cloudy, the sun can still be very strong, and you would be wise to use high-protection sunscreen at all times (especially on children’s delicate skin). Please help us to keep the pool crystal clear by allowing waterproof sunscreen to dry for at least 30 minutes before entering the pool. Regular sunscreen can be showered off at the poolside shower before entering the water.
Please also note that we provide swimming towels, and we do ask you not to take bathroom towels down to the pool. We can also provide you with towels for taking off site if you wish to visit a beach or lake. The towels in the houses should not be removed from the premises.
|Satellite TV:||There is UK free-to-air satellite TV and a DVD player in each house. We have an extensive library of DVD movies spanning most genres, from disney to drama, which you are welcome to make use of (lists available in each house), or you may want to bring some of your own.|
| What to
Here are some of the essentials which people can forget: