Although La Roueyre is a haven of tranquility there are loads of things to see and do in the local area. At the bottom of the page are links to three very comprehensive websites that contain a wealth of information for the whole of the Languedoc.
The hamlet of la Roueyre is very small and doesn't have any shops. There is a small Spar store and larger Intermarche in St Chinian 10 km away, there are also bakers, newsagents post office and variety of other small stores here. There is also a small Spar shop at Bize (again 10 km away). A much larger supermarket is located in Saint-Marcel-Sur-Aude near the canal du midi 18 km away. This is open Sunday morning from Spring to Autumn. If you arrive on Saturday night and need to buy food on Sunday your best options are the Intermarche at Saint-Marcel or the market at St Chinian - both are only open Sunday morning.
FOOD AND WINE
There are lots of great restaurants very near to La Roueyre. A few recommendations include:
St Jean du Minervois – The Old schoolhouse (Auberge de L’Ecole) is a 5 minute drive from La Roueyre – it’s a must do for all visitors. Small restaurant in the old school room. Wonderful, unique and special are some of the descriptions used. Its run by Bridgitte and Patrick – you MUST try it Reviews. They do take away pizza if you feel the need.
Bize-Minervois – Three great little restaurants in descending order of recommendation (but all good). La Grange, Café du Midi, Chez Jean Marc. Restaurants Bize-Minervois
L'Oncle Jules at Genestas (15 minutes away) This is a hidden gem. Great choice of local wines and tapas at a reasonable price. The service is warm and friendly. The atmosphere encourages a long lingering evening. Now officially the best Tapas bar in the area since Castigno at Assignan closed theirs and started charging exorbitant prices (so sad). L'Oncle Jules
Auberge de la Croisade Cruzy (30 minutes away) – expensive but absolutely wonderful food and wine. Highly recommended Restaurant Auberge de la Croisade Cruzy
L'o A la Bouche Le Somail (15 minutes away) Terrific restaurant in a beautiful setting on the canal du midi. Restaurant L'o A la Bouche Le Somail
Oysters at Cabezac - Bar and a restaurant (a ‘routier’) in the hamlet of Cabezac – 2 kilometres from Bize. If you like oysters – this is the place to go on a Wednesday or Friday evening
Assignan- Just up the road in Assignan (4 km) a Belgium entrepreneur has set up Castigno Village which has a lovely ambiance and includes three great but expensive restaurants La Petite Table, a Thai restaurant, and La Table a very up market restaurant. They also do wine tasting and tapas. Village Castigno
Many more eating recommendations can be found Tripadvisor Restaurants Bize-Minervois
We recommend three local wineries where you can taste and buy great local wines:
Le Clos du Gravillas - organic wines found in most local restaurants Clos du Gravillas
Vignoble du Loup Blanc - great local wine but sell globally - I even found a bottle in New York Vignoble Du Loup Blanc
Domaine de Barroubio - the best Muscat de St Jean in the area and I love their reds as well Barroubio
There are a number of short (30 minute) and long walks (3 hours) around la Roueyre and Assignan see selected walks on this My Map Walks around La Roueyre. Longer local walks can be found on Visorando and VisuGPX. Stuart and Jacquie can give you advice to help you find each walk. There is also plenty of wildlife to see in nearby locations.
The beautiful hills around Bize and Assignan are ideal for horse riding – there are two equestrian clubs close by:
Cycling - Autumn, Winter and Spring are best.
The countryside around La Roueyre, Assignan and Bize is ideal for bicycle riding (on and off road), and the Canal du Midi is only a 15 kilometres from here. The best months to cycle here are April, May, June, September and October (Its cool and the roads are relatively quiet). If you are cycling in July or August set off very early to avoid the intense heat and return before midday. You can also book fantastic guided bike tours through Gillian at cycle-d-oc - she will take you on routes which will suit your level of experience.
If you don't have your own bikes, we can arrange for you to hire them and have them delivered to bonellis-gite for free. If you want to organize this yourself contact Melow Velos on 04 68 43 38 21 or 06 50 50 01 49 www.mellowvelos.com.
A wealth of information about road cycling in the Languedoc can be found on Gerry Patterson's detailed and comprehensive website: Cycling Languedoc. Also try this 70 km road route which passes through La Roueyre.
Mountain Biking (VTT) - Autumn, Winter and Spring are best
There are many mountain bike (VTT) routes in the area, which is just perfect for off road riding. 26 routes are shown on VisuGPX (based around St Jean de Minervois - a few km from la Roueyre). Some additional VisuGPX routes are shown around Bize. Also try this 45 km VTT route at Bize and this 55 km route around La Roueyre (both can be shortened). Also check out Randovtt and Utagawavtt and search for either Assignan or St Chinian for more routes nearby. We can also advise on our own routes nearby (see Walking and birdwatching map below - all these routes are suitable for VTT although you may have to walk short stretches - speak to Stuart or Jacquie before setting off).
Birdwatching - Spring is best but we also have a host of autumn migrants and overwintering species. Summer is very quiet.
The Languedoc is an ideal area for bird-watching (especially in spring and autumn) – one of the most diverse regions in Europe. Check out our bird list below and also the Birding Languedoc link at the bottom of the page. Our Domaine is located on the edge of the Haut-Languedoc Parc Naturel in a biodiversity hotspot. It is home to endangered species including the Bonelli’s, golden and short toed eagles, eagle owls, genets, oescellated lizards, orchids, and a host of other wildlife. Sitting by the pool in spring you will be serenaded by nightingales. Take a stroll in the evening, and you may hear eagle owls whilst watching scops and little owls dive-bombing the local cats. Nightjars nest in the garrigue below us and can be heard chirring through the night. It’s a birdwatching and nature lover’s paradise with access to mountain, marshland and coastal habitats. We can lend you binoculars and a telescope and remember to take lots of water with you. Details of bird varieties and locations can be found at Birding Languedoc which has two downloadable guides Where to Watch Birds in the Haut Languedoc National Park and Where to Watch Birds in the Narbonnaise National Park. And here is a great guide and article written by the famous naturalist Derek Moore (who is very sadly missed) who lived near Minerve Birdguides Wildlife-of-languedoc
Archaeology & Fossil Hunting
The area was made famous by the naturalist Jean Miquel (1859-1940) from the nearby Barroubio winery, who spent his life investigating the late cretaceous geological sites in the region. Fossils found at Cruzy, Montouliers and Combebelle include dinosaurs, birds, mammals, coelacanths, amphibians, turtles, squamates, crocodilians, and pterosaurs. Fossil eggs are also common. Collections can be seen in the museums in Minerve and Cruzy. Keep your eyes open when you are cycling or walking. A good geological tour with locations of fossils (mainly trilobites) can be found using this link.
The valley of La Roueyre is also important for bronze age and roman remains. We have found roman pottery including parts of Amphora in the valley and are happy to guide our visitors to suitable sites. There are two dolmen (prehistoric burial sites) in La Roueyre and the caves at Bize are world famous for the first evidence of Neanderthals and Cro Magnon (modern) Man coexisting (at different times) in the same location. It was also here that local chemist and historian Paul-Tournal first used the word pre-history and challenged the book of Gensis as he found extinct animal bones along side ancient human remains. All you could ever wish to find on local prehistory can be found at Dolments Lost and Found
Canoe and Kayak
At Roquebrun on the river Orb 40 minutes from La Roueyre, there is a great canoe and kayak center. Trips are 1hour 30 mins, 3 hours, and 5 hours. A bus takes you to the start and you canoe back to your car. Wonderful scenery and great fun for the whole family (kayaks are available for kids) Features a café snack bar, parking, and lots of fun! Open April to September (call them to confirm dates).More details at Canoe Roquebrun
You can go canyoning with a guide near to the Gorge du Heric around 1 hour north of La Roueyre. Minimum age 8. More details at Terre Liquide.
Bize has two tennis courts. If you fancy a game while you're here – pack a racket!
Most have a variety of stalls – not always the same – comprising fruit/vegetables, clothing, bread, gifts, cheese, fish and meat vans, shoes, flowers/plants, etc. in order of size:
Les Halles Narbonne – a feast for the eyes and stomach open 365 days a year (mornings)
Olonzac – Tuesday
St Chinian – Thursday and Sunday (antique market on Saturdays in summer)
Bize - Held every Wednesday morning 10am to 12 noon – on the promenade (small)
15 minutes from la Roueyre lies the magnificent historic Cathar village of Minerve – perched on a column of rock in the gorges of the river Cesse. It has the most fantastic views several great restaurants a museum and several walks along the bottom of the gorge. More information can be found at:
The Cité de Carcassonne, a medieval fortress settlement with a history that exceeds two and a half thousand years. It’s around 1 hour west of La Roueyre. Picturesque fortifications (over 3 km of walls with 52 towers, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was partly shot here). It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Features shops restaurants, historic re-enactments, and lots of photo opportunities. A quick guide is City-guides Carcassonne
At the village of Sallèles d'Aude – a museum of Gallo-Roman pottery located on the excavation site at Sallèles d'Aude, not far from the Canal du Midi. It overlooks the excavated remains of Roman ceramics workshops dating from the 1st to the 3rd centuries A.D. Roof tiles were made here, along with a variety of pots, including amphorae.April to June - open Tuesday to Friday from 14h to 18h and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 12pm and from 14h to 18h. From July to 30 September
Open 7 days / 7, from 10am to 12pm and from 15h to 19h.
Oppidum d'Enserune and Lake Montady
The Oppidum d'Ensérune is an ancient roman hill-town (or oppidum) near the village of Nissan-lez-Ensérune, close to the Canal du Midi. There is a museum and wonderful view across the plains
The Olive Press at Bize
L'Oulibo Olive Co-operative is at Cabezac, just 12km down the road near Bize). Here you can taste all the different types of olives and olive oils which they produce, the buttery flavoured "lucques" being one of the favourites. There is also a large gift shop where you can buy olives, olive oil and a huge range of products, household goods and souvenirs from the region. Tours can be arranged.
Goat Cheese Farm
The Ferme de Combebelle is a short drive from La Roueyre. Visiting times: 1 March to 30 October: the goat farm is open daily from 1030 to 1200 and from 1600 to 1900 except Monday afternoon. It is open on Sundays and holidays at the same times. To be sure to see the goats, you are advised to arrive shortly before 1700 for the return of the flock and to watch the milking. You can taste and buy the cheeses and a small range of local produce in the farm shop. Good for children. Chvrerie-de-combebelle
Sigean African Safari Park
This is wonderful animal reserve with opportunities to drive through enclosures with black bears, lions, giraffes, ostriches and zebras. You can also tour enclosures on foot to see elephants, alligators and snakes etc. A great day out for the family. Sigean African Safari Park
Le Someil is a delightful village on the Canal du Midi, abou 15 minutes from the gite. It has several lovely restaurants and you can hire boats here for a trip on the canal. The old book shop here is a treasure-trove of old out-of-print books, posters, etc. There are some lovely walks along the canal from here and if you are a bird watcher look out for nesting Golden Orioles and Rollers.
BEACHES AND THE SEA
There are a range of different beaches between 1 and 1.5 hours from la Roueyre. Check out this great article from the Guardian with recommendations. Narbonne coast beach guide
THINGS TO DO WITH CHILDREN
Some days may not be suitable for the pool - or the kids may be bored with sunbathing and swimming - check out - Things to See and do for Kids in the Languedoc on the Creme du Languedoc webpages - Childrens Activities , the top 10 things to do in the Aude on Trip Advisor - Activities in Aude . There are also two zoological parks which a great fun to visit: Montpelier zoo - Zoo Montpellier and Sigean Safari Park - Reserve Africaine Sigean
BONELLIS GUEST BIRD LIST
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LOCAL WEBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Languedoc Living (Creme-de-Languedoc)