Pyrenees – Gite business in Ariège foothills
House plus two gites
16th century château as 6 bedroomed gite
Cycling on the voie verte (Foix-St Girons)
Price € 515,000 * (ref 171)
There is a marvellous road which runs the length of the Pyrenean mountain range from Perpignan to Biarritz, through the foothills and piedmont, linking the key villages and towns: Estagel, Quillan, Foix, St Girons, St Gaudens, Lourdes and so on to the Atlantic. There used to be a railway line running along paralell to a lot of this road, now, alas abandoned. However a stretch has been brought back to life by local authorities and transformed into a voie verte – a pathway for cyclists, walkers and runners who want to keep off the main roads.
This property is – literally – on the portion of the voie verte which runs from Foix to St Girons. Cyclists and hikers just have to crawl 5 yards from the pathway to the gite’s front door!
What is for sale is the 16th century château/manor house (transformed into two gites) and the owner’s separate three-bedroomed house next door: both houses being surrounded by 3500m² of gardens, veg patch, chicken run and sheep pasture.
The manor house – which dates back to 1591 – has been renovated from top to bottom by a French Artisan. A carpenter by trade, he has crafted a beautiful six-bedroomed gite out of the top two floors and a cosy two-bedroomed gite on the lower floor. The owners currently let the two gites together as a – much sought-after – ‘very large gite’ which can accommodate 20 guests.
As well as the quality of the woodwork, the house boasts an infinite variety of plasterwork, hand-made double-glazed windows, handmade parquet flooring and an excellent wood-fired central-heating system. In the main gite there are 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a vast kichen with seating for 16 people, an enclosed balcony, a spacious living room and various nooks and crannies. There is even a tower which has yet to be finished: the idea is to put a jacuzzi on each floor!
The second gite on the lower floor is a cosy two-bedroomed apartment, each bedroom having its own bathroom. The kitchen is simple but functional.
The owners live in a renovated cottage next door. Three bedrooms (each with shower or bathroom and WC), big kitchen/living space with superb wood-burner heating the 80m² surface area. Fully insulated and double-glazed. There is a basement area of the same size below the house which serves as garage (it is on the ground floor on one side) and storage space. it could be converted into living space.
There is no pool (this is mountainous country: guests are more interested in nature pursuits than lounging around) but a big space with a children’s playground, Wendy House, ping-pong etc. There are plenty of chickens and a few sheep to keep children amused.
The local village is a couple of hundred metres away: village with services less than 4 kms. St Girons – with its supermarkets, street market, hospital etc is just 9 kms.
The location couldn’t be better for anyone wishing to exploit the wave of tourists who use the voie verte every year. One would be tempted even to open a summer café ….
It has taken 13 years for the owners to convert a ruined mediaeval manor into a stunning upmarket gite. As a rare gite which takes 20 guests it is already nearly fully-booked for the 2016 summer season … at €2300 pw. And this is with only French guests as they do no marketing abroad. In other words plenty of scope to better these figures and, by using the rooms as B&B rooms out of season, doubling the already hefty turnover figures. It is also ecologically sound (wood-fired heating, double-glazed) and has cheap property tax. No hesitation: a very good deal.