We have had some lovely comments over the years for our painting holidays (which we started running in 2010); for gite rental with a few days’ painting tuition; and for straightforward gite rental. Here are  just a few examples:



Marvellous! I had no prior experience of the Ariege. This is an area well worth a visit. But le Pichet more so. Away from the world and in the midst of spectacular scenery, ideal for walking/driving and of course honing painting/sketching skills. What makes a stay here even better are Eleri, Rodney and William. Nothing is too much trouble. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here and the week has flown by. Thank goodness we drove down from the Channel in one day and added a day to our stay. The market in St Girons is a delight. I can’t help but think the French have a different (refreshingly so!) attitude to E U regulations! Thank you all, and your hospitable friends, for a wonderful stay.

                                                                    John & Cheryl, October 16th 


What an amazing week !! Not only did we improve our painting technique and develop our visual accuracy but also immersed ourselves in the beauty and variety of the countryside. We were completely spoiled by the generosity of our hosts and look forward to continuing our friendship and camaraderie. Thank you dear Rodney, Eleri, Will and Fern for a wonderful holiday.

                                                                     Angela Stafford, 13th  May 2014 

Pippa and I share all those thoughts and thanks. A truly memorable stay with you in this lovely area- and especially for me, Rodney, your help introducing me to sculpture - “Babs” (“my pig”) will always remind me of our time with you all.

Our time at Le Pichet was without doubt the highlight of our “grand tour”. We are so grateful for your inexhaustible hospitality and Rodney’s wonderful painting excursions and liberal lubrication with wine! We now have a considerable amount of weight to lose!

                                                                       Tony and Pippa Stafford 13th May 2014 


We have had the most magical time- the scenery for painting has been without par and, painter’s cramp aside it has been rewarding and exciting. Eleri has done us proud with her excellent cuisine and  no shortage of lovely wines. The room has been so comfortable and quiet so a good night’s sleep has been assured.

We hope to be back.

                                                                       Mary  and Terry,  14th June 2013 

Dear Rodney, Eleri and William

Thank you very much for the wonderful week! Everything was spot on!

We feel sad about  leaving you after our wonderful stay, but we will remember you as friends.

“Le Pichet” is a lovely home for a stay in these beautiful French Mountains. We have felt welcome here from the moment we arrived.

Thank you again for all your kindness and care. We will miss you and we really hope that we one day in the future you will be accepting us again for another amazing painting holiday. Until then we will try to keep painting ourselves.

Thanks for everything,

The very best wishes,

                                                        Gerry and Malissa (The Netherlands) Oct 10th2012 

This fortnight has not been just about the charm and beauty of “le Pichet” and it’s surroundings- the marvellous views, walks and delightful evenings spent together-it’s also been about the hospitality, kindness and camaraderie of two exceptional people, Eleri and Rodney. They have made our holiday memorable. I shall leave Terry to tell of his time painting with Rodney every day.

                                                                Geraldine Stirrat, Richmond. July 2010.

Geraldine’s comments  are quite consistent with my feelings also. The two weeks here seem like a chapter rather than the few hurried notes that many holidays seem like. Time spent with Rodney in the mountains, ravines and by the water will be valued for a long time- not just for the encouragement and advice about the drawing and pastelwork we did but also for the companionship and generosity. Special. Many thanks to both.

                                                                 Terry  Crimmings Twickenham July 2010


Thank  you Eleri and Rodney and of course William and Fern for a wonderful “week en montagne”.The boys had some great walks despite the weather and I enjoyed the painting and drawing (and particularly the setting up of easels in the market!)

                                                 Barbara, Paul and Richard Milne  30th Aug 2013 

Dear Eleri, Rodney, Will, Fern (and the cats),

Thank you so much for the wonderful two weeks we’ve had with you and for the kindness and thoughtfulness you have shown. We’ll remember forever the warm, peaceful evenings spent in your beautiful garden, looking out onto the mountains with the sound of crickets in the background. We agree that this has been the best holiday we have had together and hope very much that we’ll keep in touch. We’ll be thinking about you when we hear about snow in the Pyrenees.A big thank-you too, Rodney, for the days of painting in the mountains which I believe has sparked an interest in Peter to continue. Wishing you well,

                                                                               Jo and Peter Chowney, 30 Sept 2013  



Merci pour ces petits attentions (vin, gateaux, déco de Noel). Tres belle vue sur les montagnes Ariegeoises. Nous avons apprecie de se reunir autour du feu de bois.....

                                                                                     Famille Sanchez/Huellec le 2 jan


Un grand, grand merci pour votre accueil si genereux! Nous avons bien apprédié tous vos cadeaux, vos attentions et les decorations de la maison. Ce gite  est tres beau et chaleureux, et l’environnement aussi. Apres de grandes belles balades et glissades en luge dans la neige, la chaleur du poele était bienvenue. Merci aussi pour tout le bois.


Tout cela a été un cadre ideale pour nos vacances. Un seul regret: ne pas vous avoir rencontré pour échanger et vous remercier en directe. Merci a Cathy pour l’accueil et toutes les  informations.

                                                                   Tiffany Coiffard, le 2 jan 2015


We've thoroughly enjoyed our stay at “Le Pichet”, in ths gorgeous area of the Pyrenees. Highlights of our visit include the waterfall ( Cascade d'Ars) which was breathtaking! Beware muddy trails and wild boar however!

Eleri and Rodney were so knowledgeable of the whole area that there was never a need to visit the Tourist Information.

We have only scratched the surface- a bientot!

                                                       Wynnie, Kitty, Danny, Mich and Nick,  20th June

 Thank you for a great stay. Le Pichet is a wonderful place to spend the holidays and thanks also for your best recommendations.

                                                             Jutta and  Kai Hartmann, 18 th July.

 Merci Eleri pour votre accueil et la qualité de votre gite..Nous avons passé une excellente semaine, et nous vous souhaitons une tres continuation.

                                                         Au plaisir, bien cordialement,

                                                                       Catherine et Dominique  25th July.

The cottage is beautiful and functional, the surroundings incredible, but it was the hostess who made the stay exceptional. Thank you so much Eleri for going the extra mile in ensuring our short stay at Le Pichet was such a memorable one. If we are ever to return to the Pyrenees, Le Pichet will certainly be our first port of call.

                                                                                  Abbie and Paul, August29th.

Thank you so much, Eleri and Rodney, for a fantastic week in “Le Pichet”. When we arrived, we were welcomed like old  friends – and we really hope that the friendship made will last, especially as we have our Hertfordshire link.Thank you for your generosity, your suggestions of places to visit so we could make the most of our short time here. The scenery is amazing, the local people are very friendly- we are sad to leave.We hope William is accepted in the Lycee of his choice, and that Fern, and the cat, won't miss us too much!

Best wishes to you all,

                                                                                     Jan and Vince  September

 Thank you so much for a perfect holiday! Le Pichet is a beautiful retreat and your generosity and advice of places to visit made for a relaxing break. It was a real pleasure to meet you all and get to know a little of your French home. Loved the cake too (and the flowers!). Do know you will be welcomed to our home in Scotland if you're planning a visit.

Hope to meet again at some point, meanwhile thank you again and a bientot!

                                                                                 Graham and Jenny, September


Grand merci pour votre accueil, si génereux, gentil, tres agréable. C'est un endroit reposant, calme et d'une beauté......Ce gite est tres chaleureux, on se sent si pres d'un feu a bois. Je pars avec regret, je reviendrai car vous etes tres sympatique, je suis ravie de vous avoir rencontrés.

Avec tous mes remerciements, votre region est magnifique,

                                                                               Monique, Yvelines, le 4 Dec


A huge thank you to Eleri, Rodney, William and  the beautiful Fern. Staying at “Le Pichet” has been the perfect start to our honeymoon. The mountains are stunning and the weather has been beautiful. Thank you so much for taking us ski-ing and helping us with our language barriers. Also a massive thank you to William for looking after Nick on the slopes and getting some great video footage.

We received such a warm welcome and were made to feel very much at home here- we could not have asked for a more relaxing and beautiful stay. Our time has gone too fast- so now we are off (wishing we could smuggle Fern away with us too!)

Thank you so much.

                                                         Emily and Nick (Mr and Mrs Ross) 20th March 

Thank you very much  Eleri,  William and Fern for the nice time in this charming house. We will come back with better weather! Best wishes,

                                               Thomas, Eva, Jona, Kim and Lala Staudacher 25th April.


Fini le petit sejour sympa “au Pichet”. Nous avons apprécié votre hospitalité et celle de Cathy. Votre gite est agreeable et a l’image de la montagne. Merci pour la decoration de Noel et le “libre service” pour la cheminée.  Lorsque nous arrivons nous sommes aussi accueillis par les statues de Rodney.

Bref, nous repartons plus reposes et bientot nous rejoindrons notre quotidien.

Le Chateau de Mirabat veille sur vous! Bonne reprise scolaire pour William et tenez-nous au courant pour savoir si Rodney a été choisi pour le projet de l’hopital.

Bonne continuation a vous trois et si vous venez chez nous du cote de la “Ville Rose”, n’hesitez  pas a a passer…..

Nous vous embrassons.

                                               Pascale,  Jaques, Aurélie et Fabien, le 5  janvier.

PS  une caresse pour les trois adorables chats de l’hameau……… 

Grand merci pour votre accueil bien agreeable. Merci pour toutes les attentions sympathetiques, les fleurs, le vin, le feu au retour du ski. Au plaisir de vous voir, ainsi que vos voisins!

                                                   Christelle et Eric, le 9 mars. 

Un sejour bref mais extremement agreeable, dans cette maison ou la decoration a l’anglaise se marie harmonieusement a l’architecture  traditionelle ariegeoise.Votre accueil chaleureux complete cette sensation de bien-etre! Une visite a renouveler bientot, nous l’esperons…….

                                      Claire, Daniele,  Marina, Angelina et Anne-Marie, le 10 mars. 

Merci  pour votre accueil  si chaleureux, vos sourires et votre délicatesse. Nous avons bien aimé votre coin accroché a la montagne, meme les jours de pluie…..Ce fut pour nous un plaisir, un moment de repos. Merci pour le feu, les fleurs et les statues de Rodney qui font la magie du lieu…….

                                                                          Anne et Jaques,  le 31 mars. 

Plus qu’un séjour en gite, nous avons  eu l’impression  d’etre recus en amis au couer de cette merveilleux Ariege que j’ai eu  le gand plaisir de faire decouvrir a mon epoux. Merci de vos gentiles intentions, a William pour son bouquet de bienvenue….a Fern pour ses partis de jeu avec Laitou…… ous gardons le contact. Continuez a donner du bonheur aux randonneurs tells que nous.

                                                                      Chantal et Samy  le 6 juillet.

Merci beaucoup Eleri pour votre chaleureux accueil, c’est toujours un plaisir de revenir chez vous dans cet havre de paix. Et merci pour toutes vos petites attentions.A tres bientot et merci encore.

                                            Fabienne, Benjamin, Mathis Violette et Remi, le 20 juillet

Thanks for a lovely time! One of the prettiest places we have ever been. Sitting outside looking at the sunset was sublime.Thanks too for all your great advice on where to walk  with 2 small children – it worked!     Take care….

                                                                    Dom, Dita mc Ewen and family (Copenhagen) 27th July 

Notre sejour fut excellent- nous avons pu profiter de la quietude des lieux, avons apprécié des randonnées,et avons sympathise avec deux chats de l’hameau.Encore merci.

                                                                          Michele et Christian, 3 aout 

Thank you for a lovely stay at “le Pichet”. We particularly enjoyed the view from the garden, the climbing roses and beautiful sculpture, paintings and embroidery everywhere. Also, your wonderful selection of interesting books. Our son read “Mountains of the Mind” whilst here as a complement to a couple of mountain walks. Sadly there has been rain and low cloud coverage so we haven’t quite had the views when walking as hoped.

We did a lovely lower level walk at Cominac through woodland and loved the wild flowers and butterflies. Our youngest  really enjoyed white water rafting with his cousins  at  Seix – as I did! Lots of fun.

We loved St. Lizier- a gem of a town if you like Romanesque architecture ( with remnants of wall painting). We saw it in late afternoon in soft light and without any crowds.

Thank you Eleri and Rodney for your time in giving us such useful and good information for our short stay here. You have been enthusiastic and extremely helpful, especially in helping us find and book a gite at the last minute for my brother’s family at Cominac. It has been a very successful holiday.

                                                              Wendy and Eddie  and family,  8th Aug.    

Merci Eleri et William, vous nous accueillis comme des amis chez vous dans votre beau pays des Pyrenées!                       

                                                                                   Xavier et Christiane, 14 Sept.

(Excuse my  interpretation of this Spanish handwriting!)Gratie mille por le sue gentillesse et accoplienne!  Abbiemo passeto due giorni stupendi   in questo piccolo paradiso!Accueil adorable et attentionné. Nous nous sommes regales de randonnés,de paysages superbes sous un beau soleil. Merci pour tout!                                                                                  

Virginie et Angélo,  12 Octobre 

Quelle belle idée nos enfonts ont eu pour nous reserver un weekend dans votre si jolie maison. Nous avons feté nos 30 ans de marriage et ce fut pour nous un moment agreeable rempli de joie et de plenitude. Merci a Cathy et Ali si sympathique et merci de ces petites attentions qui nous vont droit au coeur. Bref, un moment hors du temps qui nous permets de repartir dans la vie de tous les jours avec du soleil dans les yeux.

Thank you,Ave a nice day!                                                                        Manu et Pascale. Le 21 oct. 



Rodney, Eleri, William (+ Fern),

Thank you for a wonderful week. From the moment we arrived it felt lie home(Without the hills though!).Le Pichet is a wonderful base from which to explore this fantastic part of France.Thank you again for all the advice on where to walk- it was invaluable.William- don’t forget to invest wisely when you find that small envelope of gold!

  All the best,                                           Malcolm and Rachel, W.Sussex, September.


Thank you to Eleri and Rodney for a wonderful start to our honeymoon, we only wish we could stay a bit longer!  We felt so at home in the cottage and the location and weather have been perfect. I have slightly sore legs after the walk up to the Chateau du Mirabat but it was worth it for the views.

Thanks again for making us feel so welcome and I hope we’ll be back here soon!

                                                               Maxine and Kris, Gloucestershire, September.


Dear Eleri William and Rodney,

Thank you very much for a lovely stay. We have really enjoyed being here, your help and valuable advice about walks, local points of interest, driving directions and so much more. We loved the place and the mountains, and our dog will probably miss Fern even more than the Pyrenees.

                                                              Michel and Saka, Leigh on Sea, June.


Had the most wonderful week here in Miramont. We received the warmest of welcomes and felt completely at home straight away. The scenery was breathtaking and our hosts are so familiar with the surroundings that we never had any need to visit a Tourist Information office, the best is right here in Miramont! Thanks so much, and ‘till next time.

                                                                  Marjoline et Jan, the Hague April .


Dear Eleri, Rodney and William,

Thank you for all your help during our stay. You had great ideas on what to see and do, that way we could make the most of our stay. We felt very welcome. In bad weather we had the lovely open fire to enjoy our books (so cosy!) and when the sun shone we went for lovely walks in the mountains. The GR10 has such spectacular views! Thanks for the maps. We had a great time and will certainly be back to enjoy the lovely lunches in the garden overlooking the valley.

See you next year.                   

                                                                                       Kate Napier, Utrecht,  May

Eleri Rodney et Will,

Super vakantie gehad. Prachtige ongeuing om te fietsen.

Heerlyk! En erg bedankt voor jullie gasturgheid.

Groeten                                                                  Rina Ziggers, Utrecht NL May


This next is from a client who came with a view to improving his English:

Many thanks, Eleri Rodney and William. During this week I discovered the pioneers of the new Europe,  you and your English friends. Now I can master “Walked” and “Worked”(pronounced t not ed)…..and I hope to meet you again with my family, in Barousse, in England and especially in Wales (the north, of course). Au revoir and a bientot.




Accueil et dévouement *****….., merci, Eleri. Ce séjour nous a permis de prendre “l’air d’ici” et de conforter mon souhait de venir m’installer en Ariege.Donc a bientot!

                                                                         Evelyne, Limoges. Pentecote, juin 2011.

 Merci de votre accueil chaleureux et convivial- au plaisir d’une autre venue!

                                                                                            A & S., Chartres. June 2011.

 Gite tres agréable. Séjour ou le temps a été maussade mais cela nous a pas empeché de faire de tourisme dans cette si belle (Beautiful-very!) region.Nous reviendrons…………….pour voir les montagnes qui ne nous ont pas devoilé tous leurs secrets……. Nous avons quand-meme effectué quelques randonnées.Accueil tres chaleureux et tres convivial, merci beaucoup.

                                                                    Anne, Didier et Jeremy, Nimes.juillet 2011. 


Un grand merci de votre accueil et les petites attentions dans la maison (fleurs, carte, vin). Merci pour votre gentilesse et votre disponibilité. Merci aussi a votre fils tres accueillant .Ce fut certes tres rapide mais 2 jours tres riches, pleins de bonheur, de bien-etre, de repos. A bientotpeut-etre!

                                                       C. Bertrand et F. Lacoste et Calin.Bordeaux 2011.



A place to forget all your worries. My second visit, and it is even lovelier than before, having also visited more of he surroundings. Amazing how close the majestic peaks on the Spanish border are, and how breathtaking! I am  already looking forward to my next visit!

                                                              Marjoline,  Holland May 2010

The mountains elusive and mist-wreathed (but their ‘absence was as their presence: (R.S.Thomas). Roses and aquilegia, columbine in our rooms. Silence punctuated by a single distant clonking cow-bell. All this our point of departure –and return-for excursions to the pulverising Cascade d’Ars and the lac de Bethmale, teeming with snapping minnows, and the Col de la Core; for a visit to William’s Ecole primaire in Oust (William’s dictum of the week: ”No-one is pleased to be taught!” as opposed that is, to finding out for oneself.;) and for raids on local patisseries, charcuteries and caves du vin. So we can scarcely believe we’ve only been here for four nights, in this charming gite (we’ll spread the word in England about the gite and painting courses), side by side with friends. Floreat Aula!

                        Linda and  Kevin Crossley-Holland, Burnham Market. June 2010.                                            

 Le Pichet is the perfect place to escape from London life. We have taken photos of sunsets at night and mists in the morning. We have visited Lourdes, Carcassonne and Rennes le Chateau, with many beautiful places in between. So much to come back for.St. Girons market was wonderful. So much delicious fresh food. We will also not forget the various patisseries we have sampled!

Thank you Eleri for being so fantastic. A most gracious hostess. We would love to return here.

                                                              Micheline, Bob and Ben Short. London 2010

 L’Ariege, departement méconnu,est un départment qui nous suspend a chaque vallée. Nous l’avons découvert et l’aimons. Le soleil nous a un peu boudé mais la beauté des sites visités a su nou le faire oublier Les gens de cette region sont, nous semble-t-il, d’une rare gentillesse- nous reviendrons en Ariege.Merci a notre hotesse pour ses conseils de visite que nous avons suivis.Bonne visite a tous.                                                                 

Famille Laurent, Provence, aout


The warmest of welcomes, most charming of cottages, and most beautiful surroundings! The only “problem” is the leaving, one would want to stay on indefinitely. Thanks Eleri, Rodney and William for all your care, help and hospitality, hope to be back soon.

                                                                             Marjoline, Netherlands March 09

Enjoyable week, fabulous walks around the region, particularly Col de la Core/ Etang de L’Echelle for a picnic. Recommended!

                                                                              Tito and Erlys, London. July 09


Thank you – we’ve had a lovely relaxing  and peaceful week at “le Pichet”. Comfortable, welcoming- with beautiful storms, sunsets and sunny days!

                                                                        Mark and Paul, Manchester. July 09

 Nous venons de passer une semaine tres agreeable,calme et reposante,dans un milieu acceuillant, simple, vrai, poetique, une nature engorgeant de beaute qu’il nous reste a decouvrir…..

                                                    Marie-Claire et Francois-Xavier, Lot.    juillet 09

 Séjour tres agréagble et reposant au Pichet que nous avons connu par beau et mauvais temps! Acceuil chaleureux, merci et peut-etre a une autre fois!

                                           Annick et la famille Parmentiers, Angers.      aout 09

 Very enjoyable, laid-back week in sumptuous surrounding. Would certainly return to “le Pichet”. Merci a tout le monde.

                                                                         Paul and co, Rennes 35.     aout 09


We had a great time. A few ants in our pants (from walking!)but that was fine. Lovely view from the gite. We tried lizard-catching - with good luck and help from Dad we caught 3! Went on lots of lovely big walks getting cold and wet and hot! Thanks a lot, from

                                              Mike, Rachel, Rosie and Polly, mid- Wales.  April 08


A lovely gite! And a lovely hostess! On adore vos broderies, Eleri, et vos livres!


Merci  pour la broderie

                                                          Lucie et Chacha, 31 Haute Garonne. juillet 08.

 Merci beaucoup pour ce charmant gite et pour votre acceuil plus que chaleureux.Nous avons passe de merveilleux vacances au “Pichet”. “L’aperatif” nous a permis de connaitre tout le hameau et de lier connaissance! Le suite de sejour n’en fut que plus agreeable!

Nous nous souviendrons toujours que Baptiste a fait ses premiers pas ici et qu’il a fete son 1re anniversaire, (il a aussi cuelli tous les fleurs autour ,profite des fraises de bois, fait le char aux limaces!) Merci a William pour sa gentillesse et pour nous avoir prete ses jouets! Merci Eleri et Rodney pour votre acceuil- nous reviendrons avec plaisir si la vie nous en donne l’occasion; en esperant vous croiser ici, a Lyon a Londres ou au hazard d’un chemin.

                                                              Jerome, Catherine et Baptiste, Lyon. aout 08



 Un superbe séjour a Miramont dans la jolie maison d’Eleri, grace aussi a son immense gentillesse!                                                                                         

                                                                                                      Mireille,    juin 07

 Un grand merci pour votre acceuil, votre hospitalité, votre générosité et surtout la joie et la patience de William. Vive les rapports franco-britanniques du 21eme siecle! Vive l’Ariege qui revit grace aux amoureux de ces montagnes, venus de toute l’Europe. Bienvenu  chez nous, des que vous le souhaitez.        

                                                                                  Les Toublancs, Nantes. aout 07

 Thank you very much for the extremely pleasant accommodation in these verdant surroundings- and for your lovely hospitality. A rare and splendid opportunity to explore the Ariege with the comfort of “le Pichet” as home base. Kind regards and best wishes for your continued success with this lovely gite!

                                   Phil Roughton  and Julie Gonin,   Iceland/Paris.     August 07

 Magnifique semaine a tous points de “vues”. Merci a nos hotes si genereux et acceuillants! Longue vie au “Pichet”. Au plaisir de se revoir bientot en Angleterre et on vous attend a Quebec! Bonjour special a William, dit le Roi Arthur!                                                                        

Helene et Jean-Paul, Quebec Sept 07.       


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