Your home by the water
Fully booked for the past several summers, and an out of season favourite for couples and families alike, this absolute gem - a cosy cottage alongside Le Patio and La Pergola, but with its direct views across the quaint Port Tabarka, where "les chaluts", the traditional fishing boats, are moored overnight before heading across the silver sunrise waters to the oysterbeds in the lagoon.
And the house is just across the way from the bustling boatyard where the hulls of voiliers are painted in the summer sunshine.
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Les Chaluts - dans le petit Port Tabarka. Au premier rang avec une vue imprenable sur l'Etang de Thau et du Mont St Clair de Sète.
Terrasse et salon-sejour avec coin kitchenette au rdc et deux chambres à l'etage. sde/wc. Wifi. Parking privatif.
Pour nos tarifs, voir dessous...
Discover Marseillan's Port Tabarka, only yards from many and varied restaurants of more bustling quaysides.
Here fishermen and villagers spend their days and evenings. You won't find huge floating gin palaces nor racing boats moored in front of the cottages. Not here.
Not in Marseillan.
Not in the Tabarka.
For this is the other South of France. The designer luggage and wraparound shades to attract the pararazzi are way way to the East. Here, the boat outside your window won't be the pleasure craft of an oligarch, tax exile or Hollywood starlet.
It will be the trusty craft your neighbour used to harvest his crop of oysters in the morning or to take herself out to check her fishing nets after the afternoon siesta.
Boats have been part of the art of living well and none too quickly in the Port Tabarka since the ancient greeks first discovered the place and worked out that nothing went better with fresh fish, olives and a good local wine, then a lazy evening by the waterside.
This is a genuine working port with the sleepy backdrop of fishermen and sailors preparing their boats and nets. Beyond them the distinctive outline of the the mount of Sete looming across the bay.
This house has been a firm favourite with families and couples since it first began welcoming visitors nine years ago. And regular guests always rush out to the
waterfront to count the ducks.
Summer oyster fairs and concerts by the water's edge; winter and spring hours spent watching the neighbours buffing, sanding and painting their boats in the sunshine; year-round angling from the rocks of the breakwater in silent solitude.
Oyster-boats and modest pleasure craft, fishermen's barbecues and the masts of sailing vessels frame the sea views from the outside dining terrace of this cosy two-bedroom, two-storey cottage.
The "front" door is in a quiet courtyard behind the house, with a guaranteed reserved parking space a couple of yards from home.
Walk straight in to the welcoming ground floor salon-sejour open-plan living area, freshly refurbished with light bright fabrics and with a smart modern fitted kitchen installed just last summer.
This is now complete with microwave, full sized ceramic hob, under-counter oven and fridge. The stylish new kitchen units feature a spacious preparation area and cupboards and drawers stacked with enough plates, bowls, glasses, jugs and more to make this the perfect venue for entertaining friends or hosting and early evening aperitif before setting out for the quayside restaurant du soir.
Out of sight, but no less important for that, a washing machine is tucked away in the pantry, where you will find the ironing board and extra appliances.
Flop in the comfy lounge area, with its TV & DVD player and sofa, that cannily converts into an extra guest bed.
A pair of armchairs and a stack of popular paperbacks, a pile of DVDs and a side table for another glass of that rather special pale local rose that goes so well with a Kate Mosse or an Ian Rankin or whenever catching up with your favourite author on the Kindle.
Choose to eat outside on the lovely little terrace and watch the daily life of the port.
Look to your left and you can see the masts of boats bobbing in the water against the undulating silhouttes of the lagoon ports of Sete, Balaruc and Bouzigues.
Face eastwards and watch other people painting the hulls of their boats in the yard by the waterfront.
During regatta days, head upstairs for a grandstand view of the boats skimming the waters of the lagoon - as seen from the front bedroom.
Or any night, keep an eye on the great outdoors through the french windos, and lay the table for dinner under the whisper of a gently spinning ceiling fan...
Upstairs to the master double bedroom with views of the port, a comfy twin-bedroom at the back of the house, above the central courtyard.
There is a shower room and wc at the top of the stairs.
There is only one question to ask yourself when you treat yourself to a stay at Les Chaluts:
Oysters from your nighbours just the other side of the Tabarka park and beyond the little plagette beach, freshest home made savouries from Genevieve's counter on Tuesday's market and a bottle of something memorable from La Taverne du Port or the nearest cellars to the house, the always imaginative Madeleine St Jean, whose red-walled warehouse is just behind the house.
|July - Aug
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Discover unexpected and memorable local wines as you watch the Atouvents sailing boats glide away from the moorings by the terrace of the Taverne du
Port or head into the village for flame grilled steaks and gambas at the Boulevard or fine dining under the brick vaulted ceiling of the gastronomic Table d'Emilie - now unde
new management with its young chef bringing an individual flair to the famous kitchen.
As the sun sets over the rigging treat yourself to a crêpe or two chez Camille or simply sip away the hours at a cafe or brasserie table in peak summer as the locals indulge in water jousting or the eccentric Marseillanais sport of Lou Capelet.
You could even take the car or rent a bicycle for a spin around the Etang. Moules-Frites at Cap d'Agde, platters of seafood at Bouzigues or a canalside feast in Sète. Head further afield and discover the summer gastro-beaches outside Montpellier or a winegrower's feast in a domaine up in the hills.
Then again you could take a slow stroll past the little boatyard and around the corner to the pleasure port or up to the village streets and squares.
The walk itself is a fabulous prelude to an aperitif. The new pavement linking Tabarka to the main quaysides passes the iconic Jusqu'au Bout ever moored off-shore and perhaps Rick Stein's Canal du Midi craft Anjodi or her sister barge, the Athos, tied up midweek by the little jetty.
Dine along the harbour at Entre Ciel et Mer or mingle with the well-heeled across the port at the foodie-fave Château du Port where live muic in summer fills the legendary dining room and waterside terrace.
But the simplest pleasures are the best.
A bowl of local olives from the market, a chilled picpoul de pinet white wine at your side, a carefully positioned sunshade and a good book on the terrace.
This house has long been a firm favourite and inspiration for regular guests whose summer rendezvous, autumn trysts and spring returns to Les Chaluts are highlights of the calendar
Choose your holiday reading before you travel with a paperback or three from www.LanguedocBookshop.com specialist
bargain store online selection, or take pot luck from the pile of old favourites awaiting you at the house.
But enjoy the sheer escapism of Les chaluts in good company, be it Rick Stein, John Grisham, a Narrowdog to Carcassonne or A Year in Provence.
There is usually a good selection of popular paperbacks in the living room. feel free to borrow a summer read or swap your own holiday reading with one of our yarns.
Make a cafetiere of fresh coffee, pour yourself a cuppa and settle down to a page turner - your time is your own at Les Chaluts.
On your arrival, enjoy a glass of local wine on the terrace - with our compliments!
Check out our diary of events in and around Marseillan and the region during your stay, with plenty of tips on nearby markets and festivals and reviews of the best restaurants in the village and port.
The 400 page book is available from all good bookshops in the UK and from shops in France and the USA.
The life of a fishing port continues all year round, so Les Chaluts welcomes guests whatever the season.
When the swallows return to Marseillan in Spring, they celebrate with an exhilarating swirling display of aerobatics around the rooftops of the port, flitting from rue des Chantiers to rue des Pecheurs.
In autumn, the harvest moon rises, a rich plump apricot globe hovering above the lagoon, spilling a golden trail across the water in front of the house - unforgettable.
And Christmas sees the centre of the village transformed: a skating rink, chalets selling mulled wine from the local growers and the fabulous nativity scene under the covered market, lambs, donkeys, ducks and chickens grazing or pecking contentedly amongst the lifestyle figures of wise men, shepherds and townsfolk.
For the year-end celebrations, Les Chaluts is available for stays of 2 weeks or lnger over the Christmas and New Year period - enjoy the festivities or stay from Marseillan's Christmas Market to the start of the January Sales at the big department stores in nearby Beziers and Montpellier.
Now that the airport shuttle bus drops off in Marseillan - at only 1€60 each way, Les Chaluts must be the bargain break of the year!
A reserved parking space awaits our guests at Les Chaluts.
Click HERE to check out the best deals on car hire - with no nasty surcharges.
For more information:
Call (UK) 0844 284 4430 (May-Oct) or 07522 507 915 (Nov-April) or (France) 04 67 21 75 66