at about half an hour's drive from the Med beaches
For a video of the interior of this gorgeous ancient mill and surroundings click here:
Our two Camargue horses used to roam the beautiful 'garrigue' with wild lavender and thyme, olive trees and other Mediterranean vegetation. mills include our own little vineyard where we grow the 'grenache noir' grapes and make our own wine the old fashioned, artisinal way. It is actually greatly appreciated by our professional viticulteur friends in the village. Just enough for ourselves unfortunately!
The ancient millers' house where we live, is right next to the mill.
The 10 acres surrounding the house and mills include our own little vineyard where we grow the 'grenache noir' grapes and make our own wine the old fashioned, artisinal way. It is actually greatly appreciated by our professional viticulteur friends in the village. Just enough for ourselves unfortunately!
Extremely peaceful unpolluted setting unspoilt by tourism, with a timeless French countryside ambiance. Just perfect for vacation rentals.Beautiful countryside all around the house, with marked hiking routes. The region is rich in historical sites and gastronomic opportunities. Mediterranean climate with around 10 hours of sun per day in July. The area can be windy, but the 1000 trees we planted decades ago give great protection. The medieval walled city of Carcassonne is reached in 25 minutes, Narbonne is half an hour away. Spain and the Pyrenees in just over an hour.
The small wine producing village has a essential shops, a small supermarket, bakery, pharmacy, butcher and post office. The village organises walks, excursions and village open air dances during the summer. Horses can be rented locally for riding. Ours were not suitable for riding. The village is in-between Carcassonne and Narbonne. The Mediterranean beaches are reached in 35 minutes. At Gruissan, near Narbonne, you can windsurf in the salty Lake of Mateille, an 'etang'.
The windmills date from the Cathar period (1266) and are probably the first windmills in the South of France. The historic interest of this property is well documented in an ancient book in which an entire chapter is dedicated to La Couscouillette. The period is important in the history of France.
The two mills, and maybe part of the house were built in the 13th cent. by Simon de Melun, one of the Northern conquerors of the South of France. He had them built so the villagers would no longer have to grind their corn and maize manually and individually. The windmills were new to France then, only watermills were well known.
It is said that Simon de Melun, well known in the history of France, brought the knowledge of the East concerning windmills (Crusades) to the S. of France. He purchased a piece of land called 'La Couscouilede' (the name of the hill) to build the mills on.
In the 14th cent. the windmills were destroyed, probably by the 'Black Prince' who had also burned down the town of Beziers, killing 20.000 people.
In the 16th cent. the Comte de Malacoste acquired 'rights on the wind' from the French king. He restored the two mills and became rich due to his monopoly position on the grinding of corn
After that he was given his title by the king. In those days farmers lived mainly from growing corn, not grapes.
Over the centuries the house was constantly changed and extended. Millers lived here up to the beginning of the 20th century. Around 1930 grinding the corn was no longer economically interesting. A shepherd moved into the house and mills with 300 sheep. He left around 1950 and the house stood empty, falling to ruin till we bought it in '77.
The friendly, wine producing village of Montlaur, part of Val de Dagne, provides walks, excursions and village open air dances and (occasionally) meals in the summer.
Horses can be rented locally for riding. Ours are deceased and were not suitable for riding, they had trained us expertly to just produce their breakfast, their dinner, their shelter, their freedom and never do a day's work!
Sightseeing, Historical, Gastronomic
Gastronomic delights in the region are numerous. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the luxury of world famous French Cuisine at very reasonable prices. Fantastic sightseeing: for instance the famous Medieval Walled City of Carcassonne is reached in 25 minutes. There are beautful abbeys nearby and of course the Cathar Castles, from the early Middle Ages, are worth a visit. In fact, the mill itself dates from the Cathar period (1266) and is probably the first windmill in the South of France. The village has a bistro Vins de Dagne and we can recommend various restaurants, our favorite is Brasserie Quatre Temps in Carcassonnewith chef Franck Putelat who also has a 2star Michelin restaurant. Reserve to get your table outside or you will not get in, very reasonably priced.
Drive through beautiful countryside to the Dinosaur museum at Esperaza. It's at an hour's drive from here and it takes one back 70 million years.