This was to be our last trip to France, and we wanted a special experience, which Phillippe and Andonis provided--and then some. Phillippe greeted us warmly and helped us see the place and get settled. He's my definition of what an innkeeper should be. We are former B&B owners ourselves, so we know what goes into providing a great experience.
The hotel is small--eight rooms--and spills down the hillside in a tiny hamlet. Beautifully landscaped terraces were in full bloom when we arrived. Both owners speak excellent English, which is kind of a relief after I struggled along on my less-than-adequate French for most of the trip.
Our room was the Lauragais room, which was a great size with its own little terrace onto the garden, comfortable bed, well-appointed private bath. We didn't see the other rooms because it was pretty busy while we were there. The room was very quiet.
Andonis is a really fine chef. French cuisine is changing and becoming (in my opinion) overly fussy and kind of silly. Andonis gives you the wonderful old cuisine, but lighter and fresher, using ingredients from their own gardens. It was imaginative, delicious, and served by Phillippe with flair. Then--and I know this would not be for everybody--Andonis comes out of the kitchen, sits down at the player piano, and leads everyone in singing lots of old favorites--from Cole Porter to Les Miserables. He always begins with "Happy Birthday" for anyone who's having one, and there were lots while we were there. (He said he was getting sick of that song!). It was fun to see the French guests joining in (most of the songs were American).
Both Phillippe and Andonis love their region and are extremely helpful about what to see. Carcassonne of course (not worth it) Albi (very worth it), Toulouse, the Black Mountain, and lots of small towns and markets. They tell you how to go, when to go, what to avoid, and try to fit the holiday to you. I'd love to spend a whole week there, not just three days, but by all means consider making it your base of operations for that area.
What did we not like about Cuq en Terrasses? Nothing that I can think of . But given how expensive France is, it was the incredibly reasonable, and the best value of our trip. Absolutely the opposite of an impersonal hotel--welcoming, warm, and the kind of place only owners who love what they do can manage.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An 18th century presbitary turned into charming accomodation with restaurant, pool and gardens. Set in a 6 acres park in peaceful surroundings, Cuq is ideally located between Carcassonne, Toulouse and Albi and is an great base to explore the region and enjoy gourmet dinners and breakfasts ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cuq En Terrasses Hotel