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Hotel Highlights

  • Warm and welcoming owners create an instantly homely atmosphere
  • Live the languid Languedoc lifestyle in an unspoilt village setting
  • Great base for hiking or skiing in the Pyrenees

Overview

A boutique bed and breakfast with just five elegant rooms, Le Trésor offers the warmest welcome in the heart of the Aude. A vintage maison de maître on the edge of Sonnac-sur-l’Hers, the little hotel has beautiful terrace gardens to while away hammock-swaying afternoons, and home-from-home comforts in one of France’s most unspoilt wine regions.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Le Trésor with us:

A glass of sparkling Blanquette de Limoux wine for each guest

Facilities

View Gallery
Le Tresor – Languedoc-Roussillon – France

Need To Know

Rooms

Four, including one suite.

Check–out

11am, but guests can linger longer in the house itself if they wish. Check-in is 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $96.87 (€86), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (from €5). You can rent the whole house on a self-catering basis.

Also

In-room massages are available but must be booked in advance.

Hotel closed

January–March (but you can book the whole house during this period).

At the hotel

Library, DVD/CD selection, free WiFi in the central area (rooms 1–3), laundry (€8 a wash). In rooms: Egyptian cotton linens, L'Occitane toiletries. A TV and DVD player can be added to rooms on request.

Our favourite rooms

Room 1, the two-bedroom suite, is the hotel’s largest, with a generous main bedroom and a baby blue sofa bed for sleepy kids or cosy DVD-fuelled evenings. It’s the only room with Sky TV (the others are DVD player-only), and also the only one with a freestanding roll-top bath. Room 2 is the smallest, but it’s bright and airy, with cool terracotta tiles, a gorgeous marble fireplace and an addictive leather armchair, ideal for thumbing through a novel. Room 4, a large double, overlooks the sleepy village square. In the oldest part of the house, the new Cottage Suite boasts romantic views across the hills.

Packing tips

Bring your skiing gear if you’re visiting in winter – the slopes of the Pyrenees are just half an hour away.

Also

Le Trésor is an ideal base for weekend hen parties, and runs a variety of activity programmes, from the strenuous to the soporific, including husky-sledding, skiing, rafting, and beauty treatments.

Children

Kids older than two cost €20 a night. La Trésor is best suited to babies – there’s a steriliser, changing mats and a cot available (request in advance). Rooms 1 and 5 have separate bedrooms suitable for children. Baby monitors work in all rooms.

Eco‐friendly

Food is locally sourced and largely organic. Everything that can be is recycled and the hotel composts plant matter where possible.

Food & Drink

View Gallery
Le Tresor – Languedoc-Roussillon – France

Hotel Restaurant

Breakfast is particularly special, with fresh fruits, yoghurts, muesli and warm, fluffy croissants from the village boulangerie. Three evenings a week, Tilly the owner prepares delightful three-course dinners; this depends on how many guests are dining so a day's notice is advised. Dishes are usually Mediterranean in style, with a little British influence; the menu changes frequetly, but previous meals have included smoked trout with mustard dressing, home-made pea and mint soup and wild mushroom risotto with parmesan crisps. At guests' behest, grazing boards piled with local delicacies can be rustled up in the evenings, and in summer the owners will happily lend their Lotus grill to guests – with a supply of meat, two salads, potatoes and a dessert – for a barbecue.

Hotel Bar

The honesty bar in the lounge is packed with local vintages, soft drinks and spirits. There’s plenty of books and magazines to leaf through, and a pool table on hand too.

Last orders

Breakfast runs from 9.30am to 10.30am, and dinner from around 7.30pm to 8.30pm; however, both times are flexible and the owners will try to accommodate late and early diners.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Loose and leisurely.

Top table

Breakfast alfresco at one of the bistro tables in Le Trésor’s lush and leafy terraced gardens.

Local Guide

View Gallery
Le Tresor – Languedoc-Roussillon – France
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

The mediaeval city of Carcassonne is about 50 minutes away and a day exploring its fortified walls and pointed towers can be eye-opening. Also mediaeval, but much smaller in scale, the beautiful village of Camon is just 10 minutes from Sonnac-sur-l-Hers, and its Celtic neighbour, Mirepoix, is well worth an afternoon wander. An English couple own the vineyard at Domaine Begude (www.domainebegude.com), which produces some fine whites and rosés. Tastings can be arranged. Will and Tilly can help you arrange white water rafting, canoeing, canyoning – even sky-diving– in the nearby area, and there are two freshwater lakes less than 10 minutes' walks away that are great wild-swimming spots.

Local restaurants

Sonnac-sur-l'Hers is a tiny place, so gourmets are best taking the trip to Limoux. Mirepoix, or Carcassonne, for restaurant dining. 12th-century Mirepoix is laden with birstros serving local specialities such as duck confit and cassoulet, and the Relais Royale hotel (+33 (0)5 61 60 19 19) on rue Maréchasl Clauzel offers particularly scrumptious French inventions. In Limoux, you can sample the world's first sparkling wine, Blanquette de Limoux at the Hotel de Moderne et Pigeon (+33 (0)4 68 31 00 25) on place du Général Leclerc, which also does divine south-eastern French cuisine in what was once a Carmelite monastery. Michelin-starred Le Parc  Franck Putelat  in Carcassone (+33 (0)4 68 71 80 80) is an ever-reliable lunch spot. At Domaine Gayda (+33 (0)4 68 31 64 14), near Limoux, you can hire your own hut and have a barbecue for you in the middle of a vineyard.

+ Enlarge
Rural Pyrenean foothills

Le Trésor

20 Place de l'Eglise, 11230, Sonnac-sur-l'Hers, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Planes

The closest airport is Carcassonne, 50 minutes from the hotel; Toulouse is an hour and 15 minutes away.

Trains

The closest train stations are Limoux (25 minutes) and Carcassonne (50 minutes). For information on trains in France, SNCF (www.sncf.com) has times and ticket prices.

Automobiles

The hotel is in the village of Sonnac-sur-l’Hers. From Montpellier or Toulouse, take the A61 (from Montpellier, you’ll start on the A9), exiting at Bram onto the D4. At Pruille, take the D119 4km to Fanjeaux, where you will need to take the Chemin du Moulin, continuing south for almost 30km before you reach the D16 (head east), which will take you to Sonnac-sur-l’Hers after 1.5km. There’s free parking.

Reviews

View Gallery
Le Tresor – Languedoc-Roussillon – France
Le Trésor
Le Trésor 20 Place de l'Eglise Sonnac-sur-l'Hers 11230 Languedoc-Roussillon France

Anonymous review

by , Intrepid advertiser

Rating: 10/10 stars
The roads are deserted: no evidence of a soul – not a single car or face behind twitching shutter. We’re ambling through parasol tree-lined roads, precarious winding mountain bends and deafeningly silent hamlets toward Le Trésor in Sonnac-sur-l’Hers, Languedoc-Roussillon. The sun beats through the roof and, for a few moments, we are Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot, the son…
Read more

Le Trésor

Anonymous review by Jake Knowles, Intrepid advertiser

The roads are deserted: no evidence of a soul – not a single car or face behind twitching shutter. We’re ambling through parasol tree-lined roads, precarious winding mountain bends and deafeningly silent hamlets toward Le Trésor in Sonnac-sur-l’Hers, Languedoc-Roussillon. The sun beats through the roof and, for a few moments, we are Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot, the song is ‘On Days Like These’ and the car a convertible Mercedes Pagoda.

Sonnac-sur-l’Hers is a spellbinding village with just 128 residents. Hidden from the prying eyes of passing cars is a bijou church square. As we cross this charming stone timewarp to the hotel, a green-shuttered maître de maison spanning a row of houses that comprises one side of the thoroughfare, an old man who is possibly the last living member of the Resistance stares out at us from behind an antique doorframe.  

Classic, enormous and very smart, Le Trésor is a luxury boutique B&B that’s imbued with traditional French character: all white walls, polished dark wood and faithful antique pieces. A tall, cheery thirtysomething Englishman strides round the corner and shakes my hand. ‘Hullo I’m Will,’ he says. ‘My wife Tilly is in the kitchen feeding our son.’ The pair moved from London to pursue the Gallic dream in 2005 and their Year in Provence became a lifetime.

Will shows us up to our suite – the largest of Le Trésor’s four guest dwellings – where the living room alone is bigger than our London apartment. ‘The ceilings are so high that they probably have to change the light bulbs from the floor above!’ Mrs Smith remarks. We walk past the living room with its ethereal Florence Broadhurst-style floral prints and original marble fireplace, into the second bedroom-cum-dressing room with its old-school desk overlooking the square and through a third set of double doors to the largest space of all – the master bedroom, where the light casts a halo onto the room’s centrepiece: a giant freestanding bath in all its glory. Mrs Smith squeals and runs around the walk-in-wardrobe giggling, clearly trying to figure out where to put all two pairs of shoes. It’s a crisp, clean vision of rustic elegance with views extending over the village to the hills.

After a well-deserved siesta (when in the South of France, eh), Will shows us the dining room and the comely honesty bar. You just have to remember to jot down how many bottles of native Languedoc Rose you have consumed. Easier said than done…

We are offered dinner in the garden. Manicured and experimental with a fresh herb garden and a young vine weaving through the fairy lights, overgrown trees shadow the sun loungers and a hammock swings under ancient branches shielding the mountain horizon. Everything feels magically old. A lone table is set in this private nirvana for a mesmeric four-course organic dinner courtesy of domestic goddess Tilly, rich with the heady flavours of L’Occitan and infused with herbs from Le Trésor’s garden.

Mountain walks in the surrounding Pyrenees lie just half an hour’s drive away (during winter you can ski right into the square) and each July the Tour de France whistles by the house. The next morning’s breakfast is pitch perfect. We feast on valley-fresh figs and sliced peaches, yoghurt, honey, pressed apple juice, baskets of croissants and granite-strong black coffee. If that doesn’t wake you up, the chiming of the church bells should.

We drive to Chalabre, a picturesque village with a castle and obligatory Provençals in blue, who drink pastis and carry long baguettes. It holds a dolls’ house-like market whose mainstay seems to be the local tablecloth. Round another precarious bend we see the stretching blue calm of Lake Montbel. Locals sun themselves and children splash in the waters. We sit at a café to shield ourselves from the blistering sun, and realise that if we were cleverer, or indeed even more romantic, we would have purchased a picnic at the village and one of those blessed tablecloths, and spent the afternoon lolling by the lake.

Instead we head for nearby Mirepoix. Driving has never been more glorious: the only other vehicle a huge combine harvester that refuses to notice us, sending us swerving into the sunflower field. Thankfully, staring into the faces of a thousand ochre blooms reaching for the scorching sun is a fun detour.

Arriving at Mirepoix, we turn the corner into the square and can’t believe our eyes. All the buildings, wooden and mediaeval; rows of stalls selling marionettes colour the paths and the place is heaving with sunblushed hippies smoking roll-ups. We have, as Mrs Smith proclaims, ‘the best moules-frites ever’ as we watch this enchanting world go by.

That night, Mrs Smith sleepily announces that the bed is too small and in a room this size it should be much bigger. It should, in fact, be large enough for 10 people. Sweet dreams ensue.

And then, all too soon, the morning sun peeks through the aged shutters and we realise it is time to leave for the fairytale castle town of nearby Carcassonne. The breakfast slows us down and we revel in the Sunday morning stillness.

Will and Tilly join us to say goodbye and it seems as if we have been here for a week. Before we set off, Mrs Smith asks, ‘Why Le Trésor?’ There is a local myth, Will says, of a treasure hidden during World War II somewhere in the house. Indeed, much like this entrepreneurial pair, we feel that in finding Le Trésor we have struck gold.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members have to say about Le Trésor in the Guestbook below…

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The owners way of reestablishing the house, the beds, the linen and welcoming attitude , almost like old friends.

Don’t expect

A pool, but later it should be there.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hospitality of Jules John - The exceptional service they offered truly made the break special and memorable. The hotel was beautiful and we especially liked their breakfast! Tranquil location yet close to plenty of activities and great places to visit. Would highly recommend and hope to return soon.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Beautiful countryside, stylish rooms

Don’t expect

Easy access to sightseeing destinations

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel is chic and Tilly is a charming host (her evening meals are not to be missed). I would not hesitate to recommend a stay here.

Don’t expect

The wifi was a little unreliable but hey you're on holiday!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is a beautiful property in a gorgeous location – the perfect spot for relaxation. The only sound is that of the church bells – bliss!

Don’t expect

Breakfast is an a la carte menu as opposed to a buffet – although it was nice, we would have loved to have had more fruit and more of a range of teas, etc.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I enjoyed the nice staff, clean room and great food (for both dinner and breakfast).

Don’t expect

There was no air conditioning in my room, and I missed having a door to the bathroom toilet. I think the WiFi could be stronger.

Rating: 5/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We received an amazingly warm welcome from Will Tilly despite arriving late in the pouring rain, needing somewhere to store our wet and muddy bikes. Le Trésor is a beautiful BB: comfortable, stylish and super friendly, and a perfect base if you like a bit of activity on your holiday, like walking and cycling. Highly recommended.

Don’t expect

If I'm being picky, I would've liked slightly bigger portions for breakfast - especially if an action-packed day is on the agenda.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

In a nutshell pretty much everything! The hotel is très stylish, the food is sublime and host Tilly was a joy – just our sort of place.

Don’t expect

If I'm nitpicking, perhaps a slightly warmer dining room and bathroom.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The setting of Le Trésor is beyond beautiful the hotel itself is stylish in a cosy way. Tilly took amazing care of us and were incredibly helpful in arranging days out and reservations. Tilly's cooking is wonderful so don't miss the chance to dine if she's cooking! It's amazing value for money.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We cannot recommend this place enough. It's in a quiet French apple-growing village. The accommodation has been beautifully thought out and the building beautifully restored. The hosts Tilly and Will are great. Tilly's cooking will amaze you. There's an honesty bar room complete with comfy sofas, wood burner, DVD and book library and pool table. What more could you want? Even though it was October we even utilised the lovely garden, too, resting our weary feet with a late-afternoon refreshment.

Rating: 10/10 stars