Château de Queille - 09600 - Laroque d'Olmes

Seasonal Rental Terms and Conditions and Notes for Visitors

1. Parties and Preamble

1.1 This Rental Agreement is between Rachel Lethbridge of 20 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8ER and of Château de Queille, 09600 Laroque d'Olmes, Ariege, France (N&RL) and you, (RENTER).

1.2 The Property to be rented is the Château de Queille and grounds whose address is Château de Queille, 09600 Laroque d'Olmes, France.

1.3 RENTER is the person whose identity, the number of persons in the party, the date of arrival, the date of departure, the price of the booking and the eventual extra charges are provided for in the booking form. RENTER is responsible for the actions and behaviour of all other members of his/her party and invited guests between the dates of arrival and departure.

1.4 RENTER will treat the property and contents with all reasonable care and leave the property in the same condition as found on arrival. Instructions and Notes on the Property are provided below at 8; RENTER confirms that he/she has read these Instructions and will abide by them.

2. Payments & Charges

2.1 A down payment of 20% of the total price (total price to include rental fee for period of booking plus a returnable damage deposit of 1,000), is payable by RENTER within 7 days of N&RL's e-mail that the booking is confirmed.

2.2 The remaining 80% of the total price (as defined in is payable by RENTER no later than one calendar month prior to the date of arrival. This amount is exclusive of any specific insurance RENTER may require and other supplementary charges.

2.3 RENTER, having paid the down payment, undertakes to enter the property on the booked date of arrival to pay, one month prior to this date, the balance of the booking cost regardless of unexpected circumstances such as illness, accident or other unforeseen event. In the case where these conditions are not fulfilled, N&RL will be within their rights to re-let the property. However, RENTER will remain responsible for paying the remaining balance of the booking. If the premises can be re-let, only the financial loss suffered by N&RL will remain due by RENTER.

2.3 Supplementary Charges: supplementary charges include insurance, cleaning, tourism taxes and other costs resulting from special requests made by RENTER such as extra cleaning, baby sitting, car hire, etc.

2.4 At the end of the stay the damage deposit shall be returned to RENTER less deductions made for damage repair or replacement and the costs of unreasonable cleaning, if any. If any deductions are made, an itemised account shall be provided to RENTER.

3. Arrival, Departure and Duration of Stay

3.1 The period of stay shall begin at 6pm on the first day shown as booked on the booking form and end at 10am on last day shown as booked on the booking form.

3.2 Thus RENTER may not enter the property before 6pm on the day of arrival and must leave the property at 10am on the day of departure.

3.3 The period of stay cannot be extended without the prior agreement of N&RL.

4. Obligations of RENTER

4.1 RENTER undertakes to accept the rented property in the conditions in which he or she found them on entering, and as they are described in the Instructions and Notes for Visitors at 8.0 below or on the internet site www.queille.net . The furniture and movable objects should only suffer from the depreciation in value due to the normal usage for which they are designed. Such objects or pieces of furniture missing or broken, due to anything other than their normal usage, must be paid for or replaced by the RENTER. This condition also applies to wallpapers, curtains as to the building as a whole.

4.2 If need be, the following will be deducted from the deposit before the balanced is returned to RENTER: the value of damaged or broken objects, the price of washing or cleaning of carpets or rugs, covers, mattresses, bed linen, etc... which may have been marked.

4.3 RENTER is obliged to use the furniture and the objects decorating the Property for the purpose for which they are destined and in the places where they are to be found.

4.4 RENTER will treat the garden, grounds and pool with the same care and attention as specifically provided above for the Property and contents.

4.5 RENTER shall not sub-let the Property.

4.6 RENTER and guests shall lodge in the premises for private enjoyment only.

4.7 The number of people residing in the Property shall not exceed that shown on the booking form unless previously agreed between RENTER and N&RL. The Property shall not be used for parties (save normal dinner or lunch parties etc) without prior authorisation of N&RL.

4.8 RENTER will not bring an animal onto the Property without prior authorisation of N&RL.

4.9 RENTER should instruct the caretaker, Christophe Ract, to undertake any urgent work necessary for the orderly upkeep of the Property.

4.10 RENTER shall buy and replace as necessary elements of everyday usage, such as the replacement of cleaning materials, washing machine stuff, loo paper, batteries etc.

5. Notices etc

5.1 RENTER should inform N&RL of any anomaly noted, within three days of entering the premises.

5.2 N&RL under the obligation to provide RENTER with the Property conforming to the conditions described and to respect any obligations resulting from theses present terms and conditions.

6. Civil Liability Insurance

6.1 RENTER shall arrange whatever insurance he/she may wish against cancellation, transport strikes, illness etc. RENTER shall also arrange his/her own insurance for theft, damage or loss for whatever reason of property belonging to Renter or members of his/her party. N&RL have no liability for any such losses or damage suffered by RENTER or members of his/her party.

6.2 N&RL shall insure the Property against the risks of flood, fire or theft, covering the premises, the movable property found on the rented premises.

7.0 Disputes.

7.1 If a dispute arises and it cannot be settled between the parties within a reasonable time, the dispute shall be settled by an arbitrator acceptable to both parties. The arbitrator's decision shall be final with no right to appeal and costs of arbitration, if any, shall be paid as ordered by the arbitrator.

8.0 Useful Information for Visitors to Château de Queille:

Caretaker:

Christophe (the caretaker) lives in an apartment on the ground floor of the château (underneath the Music Room etc in the newer wing). He's there pretty much at all times, please speak to them if there are any problems. Christophe will show you around on arrival; make sure he shows you the laundry room and how it works. If you wish to visit the chapel, let him take you or show you where the keys are. Christophe's phone number is 05 61 68 88 43 but he does not speak English.

Dogs:

Toby and Alma (German Long Haired Pointers) live at Queille. They sleep in the kennel in the garage but we let them into the house when we are around; if you do or not is up to you. They understand 'viens', 'stop', 'assis', 'couche' and 'dehors'. Christophe looks after them and sees that they're fed etc. They love company and can be taken for walks etc, if you wish. Christophe will do his best to ensure that the dog mess is removed but this is not always possible. Keep a look out, especially if you have young children around, and toss it off into the garden with one of the small shovels lying around.

The dogs sleep outside, in the garage. We let them in the kitchen and hall but try to keep them out of everywhere else by shutting relevant doors. Please try and do likewise. If you want them out of the house altogether, saying 'dehors' in a gruff way and pointing should do the trick.

Cleaning:

Christophe will be happy to do some cleaning etc for you by arrangement. The cost is €10 per hour.

Fire & Fire Escape:

There is a Fire Escape steel ladder from the dormitory window behind the house, please familiarise yourselves with this. Open the window with the handle provided, or if outside the building, use the stone at the top of the ladder to break a window panel and retrieve the handle.

For Fire Brigade (Pompiers) ring 18.

The Fire Brigade are also the people to ring if you find hornets (frelons). If you become bothered by bees nest in the walls of the house or chapel, speak to Christophe or call the bee man (apiculteur) Roger Longo on 06 12 68 02 50.

Police and Ambulance:

For Police ring 17

For Ambulance or emergency ring 15

For a doctor try Dr Durand, 39 rue Mar�hal Clauzel (behind Cathedral), Mirepoix, on 05 61 20 33. She will visit the ch�eau, if requested, and knows where it is. Dr Morlans in Place Jeanne d'Arc, Lavelanet is also good and a homeopath.

The main Hospital (which is new and rather large) is at Foix. A smaller hospital is in Lavelanet: go to the roundabout there, turn left and then left again where signed, up a small lane.

Other services are listed in the phone book, which can be found in the top left hand drawer of the desk in the small library to the left of the main stairs.

Weather (Méteo):

Call 08 36 68 02 09 for recorded forecast, frequently updated.

Airports:

It is best to check if flights are on time before collecting people or leaving. Carcassonne Airport is 04 68 71 96 46, while at Toulouse (Blagnac) you will need to call the airline office there.

Kitchen:

There are numerous lights which switch on separately or from a remote control you will find in the room: over the counter lights are switched on in the far corner of counter to the right of the fireplace.

Gas is from a bottle under the sink and there should be a spare one too. If the first runs out, speak to Christophe. The rear right gas ring needs lighting with a match, the others all work electrically.

The dishwasher and fridges are to be found in the pantry (corridor next to the kitchen) behind the curtain in the corner. (There is also a fridge, a freezer and a dishwasher in the pool room/kitchen as well as a shower.) To run the dishwasher, press "Marche" and turn the dial to "Quotidien". You should find washing tablets (just throw one in), rinse aid and salt (if necessary) in the cupboard under the pantry sink. For best results, be sure to rinse dishes before washing.

For other washing-up, please be sure to use "Maison Verte" or an equivalent "green" washing-up liquid, since all normal products will damage the sceptic tank process. Rubbish needs to be separated into bottles, plastics and the rest. The plastics and all other rubbish needs to be bagged and taken to the bins at the crossroads just after Bentefarine. The bottles need to go to a bottle bank, the nearest being in the village at Belloc.

There are everyday knives and forks etc in the top drawer in the kitchen and smarter ones in the drawer below. All other pots, pans, bowls etc are self evident and dotted around the kitchen and pantry. China and glasses for example are on shelving in the pantry; other things are in the cupboards or on the shelves in the kitchen. Please replace anything you use up in the store cupboards.

You are welcome to use the fire (and the one in the 'salon'), if it gets cold. There is a supply of kindling wood and logs outside behind the kitchen and firelighters are usually to be found just inside the pantry on the shelf. If you run out of wood, speak to Christophe.

Loos & Fuses:

Please be sure to put nothing down the lavatories except loo paper, this is most important for the sceptic tank; thus there must be no tampons, sanitary towels, ear buds etc. If there is a bad smell in the spare bedroom bathroom, pour water down the bidet.

If you have electrical problems, please speak to Christophe. In extremis, the fuse box is to be found behind the door ahead of you as you turn left to enter the laundry room.

Laundry:

There is a laundry room beneath the stairs going up to the 4 bedrooms and Music Room etc in newer wing. You will find there a washing machine and drier as well as space to hang dry your things. There is also a washing line outdoors behind the kitchen. Please take care when using the cold cycle of the washing machine, you have to turn it on to spin before opening the door. Also if you have problems starting the washing machine, an extra bang to shut the door is needed. Do not force open the door, else it will break.

All extra linen and towels, as well as pool towels, are in the cupboard in the laundry room.

As you go into the laundry room you will pass a telescope, which is not be to be used.

TV, Video, Hi-Fi, Games, Phones, Computers etc:

There is a selection of videos, DVDs and a TV in the gallery, above the Music Room. French TV channels are available via the 'Thompson' box and BBC, CNN etc via the 'Lenson' box, each with its own associated remote control. Tune the TV to channel 0.

There is a ping pong table in the dormitory (right at the top of the main house) and some beaten up bats in the chest of drawers there. You may well have to get extra balls. Childrens' games are both under the main stairs and in the cupboard below the bookcase in the little library room next to the "salon". There is a stereo in the kitchen in the cupboard and also in the salon, behind the door to the left of the fireplace.

There is a full size snooker/billiards table with balls and cues etc. in the Gallery. We have a rule that children are not allowed to play unless there's a grown-up with them, for fear of damaging the table. Please be sure to leave it covered when not in use and take care when playing: it is quite easy to damage or tear the felt!

There is computer access via ADSL (broadband). There are instructions on the desk by the printer.

On the whole mobile or cell phones don't function in or adjacent to the ch�eau but a short rise up the hill usually does the trick. Of course you can use the house phone but we will bill you for long distance in due course.

Pool:

Christophe will look after the pool functioning, so any problems please see him. However please ensure that you lower the parasol and bring in all the white cushions etc at the end of the day. There's a line for hanging towels and things under the garage roof, just outside the summer kitchen. Also make sure you lower the parasol if it becomes windy or threatens to do so.

If you have small children in your party and want the pool protected, please ask Christophe, who will install an alarm, if he hasn't done so already.

Sports:

There is a hard tennis court as you enter the village at L�an. To play there, you will need to get the key from the "centre de loisirs" at the Lake. For the Lake (lac de Montbel), turn left 200 metres or so before entering L�an. Sailing boats, surf-boards etc can be rented there at the beach. There are canoes and kayaks on the Lake and on the Hers or the Aude (see notes in the green file in the small study or ask at the tourist office or at the Lake). Riding is available at numerous places around about.

Markets and Shopping:

The best one is in Mirepoix on Monday mornings. Fantastic food, crafts and general stuff. There's a smaller market (just food) there on Thursday mornings too. Try and get there early, if you want to miss the tourists and hordes of English who tend to arrive from about 10am. Also check in the Tourist Office in Mirepoix too, there are often special events and markets, e.g. pottery, books or art etc.

There is a market in Lavelanet on Fridays and in Pamiers and Foix on Saturdays.

You should be able to find all your other needs in the supermarket "Super U" in Mirepoix. The supermarket is open Monday to Saturday till 7pm but shuts at lunch on some days, check which. Virtually all other shops are open 8am to 12 and then again 2 to 7 pm but shut for lunch. Almost nothing is open on Sundays.

During July & August there is a street party each Friday evening at Léran. Arrive about 7.30 or 8pm, buy your wine and food from the stalls and join the fun.

Excursions:

There is an abundance of excursions to make. Have a look first at the brief history of the house and surroundings in the left hand drawer (upper or lower) of the desk in the small study. Although it needs some minor revision, it will give you a good feel. Please leave this copy in the house; you can download it from the web-site www.queille.net, if you wish to have a copy.

Guide verts, other guide books, walk books and books about the locality are in the bookcase and some also in the book carousel in the salon. There are also various brochures on the shelves opposite the desk in the small study, both loose and in a green plastic file. There are numerous maps in the left hand drawers on the desk too, please return them there when you have finished.

Cathar castles are all a must, the nearest are Montségur, Rocquesfixade and Puivert. Puilaurens is also good (carry on from Piuvert) and on the way you will pass through a stunning gorge. Once there, there's some good canoeing on Aude too, see above. Peyrepertuse and Quéribus are both rightly very renowned but all are worth the effort of visiting and climbing to.

The local Romanesque church and monastic heritage is also fabulous and too numerous to itemise. Favourites include Vals (very near), Fontfroide, Lagrasse, St Hilaire, Axiat, St Martin de Canigou and of course our own chapel here. Camon, just down the road is a beautiful village and the old Benedictine Abbey there (now a private home/hotel from time to time) can sometimes be visited there.

Very famous for their prehistoric cave paintings are the grottes as Niaux. You have to ring to make an appointment to visit: 05 61 05 88 37.

Around about in the Pyrenees there's masses of walking opportunity and some wonderful natural sites such as gorges or the beautiful waterfalls, caves and rock formations at Rocquefort les Cascades (just west of Lavelanet about half an hour away.

Foix is a lovely town with an imposing castle and makes a good day's expedition. So too is Fanjeaux, where St Dominic founded his order and started out. Carcassonne is fantastic walled city and rightly world renowned but one of the most visited sites in Europe, so be warned. Nearby is Montolieu, a small town devoted entirely to books. Spa towns, such as Ax les Termes, Ussat les Bains, Aulus les Bains are also amusing and of course Toulouse itself and Albi (home of Toulouse Lautrec with a museum devoted to him) are both full of architectural, historic and cultural interest. If you want to see the sea, go to Perpignon, Narbonne (both worth visiting in their own right) or the gorgeous harbour town of Cadaques. A trip to Barcelona and back through the mountains the next day is a good, if full, round trip. Andorra itself is hardly worth it save for tax free shopping but the trip there and back can be exquisite, off the main road.

If you want to visit vineyards in stunning (and very different) countryside, head for Limoux and wander all around there. To the north, the Montagnes Noir are very striking and St Félix de Lauragais and Revel are both very beautiful.

Local Walks

There is an abundance of local walks strolls. Besides the garden itself, we favour going up the hills or along the river both upstream and downstream. Downstream, leave the cemetery to your right and follow your nose up the hills or along the river. Upstream, cross the bridge, go past the medieval ruined forge and follow the path. It will join the river before long. Carry on along the path, past some various little rapids and the path will climb up the hill. Following the path further will eventually take you to L�an, where there is a bar. It takes about an hour and a quarter of brisk walking to get there. Arrange to picked up, if you don't want to walk back again.

Food and Restaurants:

The local thing is foie gras (de canard). It's best to buy this, fresh, mi-cuit or preserved, and take it home to eat with a glass of Sauternes, Muscat, Montbaissiac or similar, cool sweet white wine. Caroline (English) and Louis Charles de Roquette at Bordeneuve, St Félix Lauragais (05 61 83 02 23) make the best and have shop with their own products open most of the time and you can just turn up. About an hour away, the trip makes a nice day out, over the Canal di Midi at Castelnaudary, to St Félix de Lauragais, a most charming small town in it's own right with a fantastic mediaeval, timber marketplace. The restaurant there, "Auberge du Poids Public" is possibly the best in the area and it's worth lunching or dining there (05 62 18 85 00). The other local delicacy is Cassoulet but quality varies enormously.

At Camon, our friends Peter and Katie Lawton who run the hotel in the "abbaye", where there is also a fantastic restaurant (call +335 61 60 31 23).

Our friends Tim and Barbara Ford have opened a new restaurant in their winery about 30 minutes away. It is called Maison Gayda and is very good with a fancy chef from Brussels. The winery itself is certainly worth a visit. Tim will ship wine to England if so required. The number is 04 68 20 65 87.

In Mirepoix the best restaurant by far is Le Relais (05 61 60 19 19), the others are relatively average but fine for general puposes. Try Café Llobet under the arches east of the Cathedral for good local cooking and a nice atmosphere (call Olivier on 05 61 96 44 34). The Restaurant les Remparts is fine and Le Comptoir Gourmand (opposite the main gate) is also well worth trying. The Hotel du Commerce (05 61 68 10 29) serves well enough when all else fails.

Nearby, in the tiny village of Troye d'Ariege, is "l'Ecole Buissoniere", a hidden and most surprising gem with an owner who loves jazz and fly fishing (05 61 68 11 62). And only slightly further away, on the road to Castelnaudary, is Le Pujet. Here you get all home farm grown, organic produce including foie gras, lamb roasted on the fire in front of you and wine thrown in but you must book ahead and be a party of 6 or even more (04 68 60 51 76).

Up at the Lake is an outdoor "beach" place, where you can basic "steak and frites" etc. for a pleasant, sunset evening at end of the day on the lake. The place is called le Regat (05 61 01 92 55).

Visitors' Book

Please do all sign or write in the Visitors' Book prior to departure.

The Queille Festival

A festival of classical music, some jazz and rock, theatre, storytelling, bonfires, pic-nics, medievil tents and partying is held here over the last three week-end days of May in every odd year. To find out more, have a look at the web-site: www.queille.net or www.queilletrust.org. If you have enjoyed yourselves here, you will undoubtedly enjoy the festival and may want to consider coming to it. The next Festival is 22-25 May 2009.