Le Domaine de Perches: the perfect base for exploring Occitanie

by Michael Edwards

Le Domaine de Perches: the perfect base for exploring Occitanie. A 17th-century wine chateau restored with immaculate modern taste, is simply ideal for touring Auch’s Late Gothic cathedral, the medieval city of Albi and its Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, the cobbled village of Cordes-sur-Ciel floating in the sky on a misty morning, the abbey in Moissac, Armagnac and wine tasting, not forgetting the amazing Ville Rose – Toulouse.


And Occitanie? It’s the huge new region of South West France – the consequence of the shot-gun midnight marriage (on 31st January 2015) of Languedoc-Rousillion and Midi-Pyrénées. As Provence’s country sister, Occitanie does decadence in its own bucolic way – enjoying the traditional luxuries of good food, fine wines and the time to savour them. 

Perches is ideally located for visiting the area and Alain and Howard have taken the chambre d’hôte concept to another level. They are the ultimate hosts, sharing a pre-dinner drink with their guests; the venue is dependent on temperature and light – perhaps on the decking by the pool, or in cooler autumn, a picture window to admire the sunset.

They bring their guests into their gallic world, gossiping of the crops that are flourishing, the restauranteur who has bagged a great chef and another who has lost his Michelin star, the local vintner who is experimenting with an interesting rosé, a concert in Toulouse, the latest exhibit at Albi’s Toulouse-Lautrec museum.Table d'hôte, Domaine de Perches

Suddenly a delicious four-course meal emerges and neither Alain or Howard has been absent for more than a couple of minutes. Then they recommend some remarkable local wines to complement each course as they dine with you. Armagnac follows.

The chambre d’hôte concept is not for everyone, some want a silent, reflective breakfast, though breakfast is never served earlier than 8.30. But Domaine de Perches has a remarkably high percentage of returning guests who savour their slice of upmarket French rural living, while Alain and Howard give their take on all things French, and especially, on what to see in Occitanie.