How To Get Here
 
Airports
 
Airport connections are many and varied and, as usual, a lot depends on where you’re coming from and what time is most convenient for you to travel.
 
Ryan Air (www.ryanair.com) flies from Luton, Bristol and Stanstead to Beziers-Vias (20 minutes away) at certain times of the year and from Stanstead Airport all year to Carcassonne, Perpignon and Montpellier and from East Midlands to Carcassonne - all (traffic and roadworks permitting) just One Hour from La Maison D’Estang.
 
At various times of the year you can fly from Gatwick and Southampton Airports (among others) to Perpignon and Montpellier.  It’s a good idea to check with your nearest airport for details.
 
It’s also possible to fly into Toulouse and Barcelona direct from various U.K. and European Airports.  Both are two to three hours away from La Maison d’Estang.
 
Directions from the airports to the house can be found by following the links below.
 
From Beziers-Vias
            (click here)
From Carcassonne Airport
            (click here)
From Montpellier Airport
            (click here)
From Perpignon Airport
            (click here)
From Toulouse Airport
            (click here)
From Barcelona Airport
            (click here)
 
If it doesn’t bring up the map automatically, simply set the country to France in the “Destination” section, write 22 Rue Franklin in the “Address” Box and 34310 in the “Postcode” box and click on the yellow “Search button bottom right - and voila.
 
Car Ferries
 
Although there are many choices, we’ve found that by far the quickest and most economical for the car is the one-hour crossing on Speedferries from Dover to Boulogne. (click here)
 
Trains
 
Another option is Eurostar which leaves from London’s St. Pancras International Station with connections to the high-speed TGV (click here) at Lille (very simple - same station) or Paris (across town - not so simple) to Montpellier (1 hr away), Beziers* (20 mins.) and Narbonne* (20 mins.) where it’s possible to rent a car or even find a taxi.  The trip is under nine stress-free hours and can be quite inexpensive - especially the TGV leg - while providing glorious views of the French countryside from a comfortable window seat or a stool in the bar car.
 
Of course you could combine the two and fly to Barcelona, pick up the train to Narbonne or Beziers and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Pyrenees, too.  Some people flying from Scotland and  Northern Europe may find this a lot easier.
 
For those who fancy a train ride but want the convenience of having their own car in France, there is the Motorail (click here) which leaves Ashford in Kent and arrives conveniently in Narbonne, 20-minutes away from La Maison d’Estang.
 
Driving and (seemingly) Wine
Driving through France can be one of life’s great pleasures.  The scenery is spectacular at any time of the year and there’s something for everyone.  
Three direct and very different routes through Toulouse, Clermont-Ferrand or Lyon (and one less direct via Tours and the magnificent Chateaus of the Loire Valley) offer the choice of mainly motorway driving or a voyage around the country roads of France.  Rolling hills, wild forests, rugged mountains, picturesque villages hugging craggy hillsides and one of the engineering Marvels of the Modern World, the Millau Bridge (below left), (and it really is jaw-droppingly special every time you see it) await the driver and passengers who treat themselves to an adventure on the open road.
Break your journey in a beautiful old house - perhaps the Chateau de Bouesse (click here) which offers not inexpensive but magical rooms, a truly excellent restaurant and a pretty fantastic wine list to boot - or the Hotel de Rivage a few kilometers from the Sancerre wine district will be more to your liking.  A charming inn literally on the banks of the Loire (00 33 238 37 79 00) in the Historic town of Gien - famous for its pottery -  a town with a selection of restaurants and a vibrant shopping area.  
For those in a B & B frame of mind, I suggest breaking your trip with Lynne Ball at Le Papillon in the heart of the historic town of Sancerre (click here).  Comfortable rooms and a friendly welcome await and, to make it even better, Lynne has her own cave in house selling excellent local wines at a great price.  All the stop-overs mentioned here take dogs (or have taken in the past) except Lynne - she has cats.  Of course, local knowledge wins every time so give her a call anyway or stop in and buy some of her excellent wine - she may be able to find you somewhere to rest your head.
And speaking of wine, a drive through the enchanting Burgundy countryside can lead to many adventures.  A stop-over en route at Nuits-Saint-Georges is well worthwhile.  The Dufouleur Pere & Fils Cave there at 17 Rue Thurot has been around - and in  the same family - for 400 years or more and was supposedly a favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte.  The veracity of that I cannot vouch for but I can vouch for the excellent wines.  For a medium price stay in Nuits-Saint-Georges try the Hostellerie St Vincent (click here) and even if you don’t stay there, it’s probably worth visiting its cellar restaurant L’Alambic.
Another famous wine village is Gevrey-Chambertin.  Definitely worth a visit, the opportunities to enjoy great wine there are endless.  My personal favourites are Dominique Gallois - especially the 2004 Les Petits Cazetiers Premier Cru - (click here), Leroy - of course - and if you’re there do try the cave of Philippe Leclerc (click here) which has the best atmosphere and is great fun for a tasting with friendly and very helpful staff (usually Paolo - very good English) who are only too willing to break open a bottle or two of their sometimes truly unbeatable wine - try a bottle of the Combe aux Moines 2002 and let me  know what you think.  
Then there’s Vosne Romanee - home of the famous Romanee Conti and other lesser lights - with a seriously good hotel, Le Richebourg, at which to stop (click here) - if it had a pool it would be perfect - en route to Beaune which is, for you serious white wine buffs, the gateway to Montrachet and the surrounding villages.  ‘nuff said then, right?
Of course, none of the above in anyway meant to demean or disparage the excellent and comparatively inexpensive wines you’ll find when you reach the Languedoc - especially in Capestang where the local cave, the Cave St. Laurent on the main road and where bottles are great and five litres or so of superb local merlot for under 10 euros will astound you  and the cave at the end of the road, Moulin Gimie which has some superb wines - some of which are sold in top London restaurants for considerably more than you’ll pay there - but, well Burgundy is Burgundy and yes, you could go via Tours to Bordeaux but I’m told they use grapes from the Languedoc in their wines anyhow - supposedly a big secret in France but perhaps not too well kept - and you’re going there anyhow!
Whatever you choose, excellent local Hotels and chain Motels  abound en route to the South of France.  From Ibis and Novotel to Loire Valley Chateaus and charming local village inns, all are just a mouse click and a few hours drive away.  Enjoy the trip - and the wine.
Renting Cars
Not as inexpensive in France as in some other countries and quite a struggle to find an automatic should you require one but not impossible (and a lot easier if flying into Barcelona).  The usual suspects are to be found at all airports and stations, Hertz, Avis, National etc.  
Tip : If booking a flight with Ryan Air the link on their page to Hertz often provides the best available rental price of any of the companies - and I’m informed that if you rent Hertz through SAGA you can get 10% off.  Go 50 plus!!!
* If you’re taking the train to Beziers or Narbonne and because they are often not listed as stops on the TGV website (the train goes local after Montpellier), simply purchase a ticket to Perpignon and get off at either station - it’s all the same price after Montpellier.  You can catch the return train there, too by simply checking  the departure time from Perpignon.  n.b. It takes about twenty-five minutes for the train to get to Narbonne from Perpignon but please check it for yourselves.