successful guest house in renowned spa
11 bedrooms – 495m² surface area – tea rooms
€299,990 * – ref 144
The Aude, as we have pointed out before, is one of our favourite départements as it has such a wide variety of topography, vegetation and history. Here, for example, we are in the upper Aude valley where the river has cut deep gorges through the soft limestone and sandstone plateau. The vegetation is dense maquis and evergreen forest. But it’s the history of this part of the world which makes it very special: this is Dan Brown country, this is science-fiction country and, as always, it is Cathar country.
The story goes that Jesus Christ, after crucifixion, managed to slip out of his cave with Mary Magdalene’s help, and the couple fled to this part of the Aude to spend the rest of their lives in happy anonymity. Oh, and they happened to bring the holy grail with them. Not only did Dan Brown get hold of the tale but, before him, 19th century priests and fortune-hunters were fairly sure that the grail and other goodies were hiding in Rennes-le-Chateau. To make things even more exciting, local astrologers announced that the local mountain – the Pech de Bugarach – was in fact an Alien garage from wherein an alien spaceship would take off on 21/12/12
So much for the fiction. The reality is that Rennes-le-Chateau is a charming little hill-top village with a ruined castle (with, nevertheless, a strict ban on any digging activity) and Rennes-les-Bains is an equally charming spa town with mediaeval houses vying for river views with turn-of-the-century thermal baths and grand hotels.
The property for sale is a five storey stone-built townhouse run as a successful guest house and salon de thé. In rough terms, the upper two floors are devoted to the guests: 6 cosy en-suite bedrooms with balconies on one side, dramatic views of the river on the other. The ground floor has a dining room where breakfasts and – if wanted – table d’hôte are served as well as a small lounge and an office. The two lower floors are the owner’s quarters with spacious lounge, bedrooms and kitchens. In other words, a spacious and well-equipped going-concern.
There is room for expansion: the attic has the space and headroom for another couple of rooms, but frankly, there are more than enough renovated rooms to keep a couple busy.
This is an all-year-round business with rafting and whitewater activities, hiking and historical tours throughout the summer months and winter (which is mild) brings its share of skiing enthusiasts and treasure seekers.
Our opinion: There is an aspect to spa towns/villages in France which is often over-looked: they are drip-fed by the French health system which sends patients to them 9 months of the year …. meaning that basic services and amenities are always available: shops, doctors, chemists, cafés and bakeries … which have largely disappeared from ‘normal’ French villages.
This guest house is run by just one person. She no longer offers table d’hôte but still manages to turn over in excess of €100k. The key is in the location: on the main street, near the car-park … you can’t miss it. With a competent couple in charge, serving a good evening meal, these figures could be doubled. It’s a bargain.
contact us for further information and pictures. The property can be visited by appointment only.
* agency fees included reference n°: 173
more information or to arrange a viewing – email
- Ref n°: 144
- Summary: Aude - Haute Vallée - In a lively spa town where the wild Corbières meets the Aude valley, this successful guest house turns over more than €120k pa. Would suit dynamic couple looking for a lifestyle change. No garden.
- Address: Rennes-les-Bains, Occitanie
- Price: €299,990
- Commission: 3% (included in asking price)
- Bedrooms: 11
- Bathrooms: 8
The département of the Aude, in the Languedoc, prides itself as being the home of the Cathar, a famed religious sect of the 12 and 13th century, who dared defy Rome with their brand of humble, scaled-down Christianity. They failed in the end, but their story of defiance, struggle and eventual extinction is etched into the landscape, villages and castles of the region.
Throughout the 12th century the Cathar faithful were slowly pushed out of the low-lying plains towards the hostile, mountainous uplands where they found refuge in fortified villages or in castles and keeps perched on the most inaccessible crags of the Corbières or the Pyrenean foothills. In the end the French State allied with Rome, sent Simon de Montfort to root out and kill the last 'heretics' in what was known as the 'Albigensian Crusade'.
In the western part of Languedoc the most notable feature is the Lac de St Ferréol, specially conceived by Riquet when building the Canal du Midi, and designed to supply water to the canal throughout the summer period. This it does by means of a mini-canal - 'le rigole' which carries water from the resevoir to the highest point of the canal on the watershed (between Atlantic and Mediterranean basins) near Avignonnet-Lauragais.
The southern part of the département meets the Pyrenees and boasts a wealth of whitewater rivers, trekking trails and ski resorts.