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For nearly seven hundred years, this timeless property has stood proudly amidst four hectares of greenery and one-hundred-year old trees; surrounded by farmland as far as the eye can see, it gazes out towards the snowy peaks of the Pyrenees. This former medieval fortress is now a family home that hosts private and professional events whilst also offering seasonal, weekly, weekend and nightly rentals. A passion passed down from mother to daughter has brought this unique property back to life as grandeur has been replaced with simplicity. With only the Pyrenees as a witness, endless happy days unfold around the beautiful swimming pool and in the shade of the English style park and the thick stone walls.
My parents bought the Château de La Commanderie in 1973. They wanted to leave the chaos of Paris for an idyllic, rural life. My mother, Marie-France Gregory, studied Art History at the Ecole du Louvre and devoted many years of her life to restoring this chateau that was once in ruin. After her premature death in 1988, I decided to take over the "my mother's chateau" where my roots truly lie. Twenty-nine years later, I have never regretted the slightly irrational choice that I made. Having devoted many years to my two children and my passion for metal sculptures, I decided to open La Commanderie to holiday rentals, receptions and seminars in 2008.
Built in stone, the chateau still has a 13th century tower-door that was incorporated into the 16th century main building. The remarkable architectural features date back to the days when the culture of pastels contributed to the wealth of the region - the main features being an oak staircase in the horseshoe tower to the south and the Salle des Chevaliers which has preserved its impressive stone fireplace, French ceiling and florally decorated frescoes.
The chateau was built by Cathar lord Guillaume de Plaigne in the 12th century. In the 16th century, his descendant, Barthélemy de Plaigne, expanded it by creating the Salle des Chevaliers. His daughter Anne (who had married the Count de Pibrac in 1642) sold Plaigne to Francis Paul de Béon-Masse-Cazeaux, the Grand Prior of the Order of Malta in Toulouse. It was he who transformed the seigniory into a Commandery of the Order of St Jean in 1685. The Commandery was owned by the Order of Malta until the Revolution. Around 1830, the de Nicols converted the original fortress into an Italianised country residence. The moat was refilled, large windows were put into the cut stone walls, the ground floor was arranged to echo a large Haussmannian apartment and the noble floor was converted for the servants. In 1973, my mother began major restoration works and enriched the original decoration by introducing old architectural elements and completely refurnishing the property with our family furniture from Normandy and Paris. Later, I added many tromp l’oeil style decorations, I also went about improving the standards of the building after deciding to rent it out. Last of all, I installed a swimming pool and redid the kitchen, the catering area and most of the bathrooms. Every year, I am still striving to continue this immense project that I am most passionate about.
I simply offer the chance to stay in a place that has both the charms of a large family home and the ease of modern-day comforts.
The landscapes dotted with Romanesque churches inevitably attract history enthusiasts from far and wide. But this region (which has managed to preserve its wild side) also brings joy to hikers and lovers of horseback riding, hunting and fishing. Swimming and skiing enthusiasts are equally drawn here, depending on the season. We are close to the medieval bastide of Mirepoix and Castelnaudary - the world capital of cassoulet which is key to the riches of the region along with the wines of the Aude and foie-gras. From here you can visit many other Cathar chateaus, starting with Montsegur. Just forty minutes from La Commanderie is Carcassonne, which is classified as a World Heritage site. Also worth a visit are the château de Foix at the foot of the Pyrenees and Toulouse – known as the ‘pink city’ and home to Airbus, the Cité de l'Espace and many other tourist attractions.
6800 € / week
The chateau can accommodate twenty guests in ten double rooms, and eight additional people in the four double rooms of the cottage located in the park. In La Commanderie, five rooms occupy the ground floor. The Chambre de la Sphynge features a double bed and is the only room to have a shower room and separate toilets. The Chambre Leleu also has a double bed and shares a bathroom with the adjoining twin room, the Chambre Parisienne. The last two bedrooms, the Chambre Jaune and the Chambre Arlequin, are both twin rooms and share a bathroom with a bath, shower and toilet. Upstairs, the Chambre du Commandeur adjoins the Chambre Rose which has a four-poster bed and adjoins the Chambre Bleu with a platform bed. All of these rooms come with double beds, the Chambre Bleu also has and extra single bed and a bathroom with bath and private toilet, whilst the other two share a bathroom on the landing. Last but not least is the Chambre Vénitienne, this room has a double canopy bed, a shower room and leads to the Chambre Américaine which also comes with a double bed. In addition to all of this, there are four folding single beds, two cribs and a cot.
1400 € / week
La Commanderie’s cottage is located in the park with an independent entrance and garden. On the ground floor is the Chambre Chardin with a double bed and private bathroom. A bathroom with a washbasin is located on the landing. Three separate bedrooms, each equipped with two single beds, share the upper floor along with a bathroom on the landing. The stay at the cottage is two weeks minimum. If the chateau is not occupied, the pool is available for an extra charge of 250 € / week.
In the autumn, we offer a full board weekend with lunches and gourmet dinners. This includes a tour of the chateau and surrounding vineyards, a talk on the history of wine in Languedoc, an introduction to wine-tasting with an oenologist and a guided historic tour of Mirepoix.