My Village: Montréal, Aude


Real life stories

My Village: Montréal, Aude

Cathy Bitton is not quite sure what forces brought her to charming Montréal, but she is quite certain that they led her to the right place…

How did you choose your village?

Finding it was a total fluke. We were living in London and had sold our apartment in Paris where we had lived for a long time. We started to look for something in France with certain criteria, including proximity to an airport for access to London and Paris, for our work. I have a music management company, so I manage artists and produce and promote concerts in France. I can mostly work remotely but also go to Paris regularly. My husband, Jean-Marie, wanted to ski, I wanted to go swimming in the sea, and I also had this idea of possibly organising retreats as I had been on a few and really enjoyed the atmosphere.

A friend posted a picture on Instagram taken in this chambres d’hôtes where she was staying as a guest. I asked her where it was, she told me and said it was sad because one of her best friends owned the property and was selling. I don’t know what got into me -I just said, “we’ll buy it!”.

Our village, in Aude, is one of six Montréals in France. We are about 20 minutes from Carcassonne and Limoux, and one hour from Toulouse. It’s an old Cathar village, with small streets, very quiet, up on a hill – you can see the Pyrénées from afar.

What aspects of village life do you enjoy?

I like being in the heart of a village rather than out in the country. Jean-Marie feels a bit differently about that. I like having neighbours, being able to walk to places. I don’t want to get into a car to do everything. I think it’s the city part of me, I’m used to walking everywhere, so I like being able to reach the grocery, bakery,doctor, dentist, pharmacy, all on foot. We have all that in our village. Not all villages do and if you are in a rural location you’ll need to drive for everything.

I can walk five minutes and have beautiful paths where I can see the Pyrénées and rolling hills of vineyards and sunflowers. It’s really beautiful, the landscape is very unspoiled. A lot of foreigners have bought here so there’s a big expat community, so it’s easy to make friends.

What is there to see and do in the area?

Photo: CL Cathy & Jean Marie

The village has a beautiful church on the hill, the organ is very special; actually, the organist from Notre-Dame takes care of it, he lives in the village. With a car you can visit Carcassonne, then there’s wine tastings, all the Cathar history and castles, markets every day in different towns and villages. The Canal du Midi is very close, so biking there is only 4km away. It’s an hour’s drive to the Mediterranean, an hour to skiing. We run our bed and breakfast from April to October, so when we are closed in winter, we can look out the window, check if there’s snow on the Pyrénées, and just get in the car and go. Toulouse is very close, too, when I need my little injection of city life – it’s only an hour away.

Any local speciality that you’ve developed a taste for?

This region is known for cassoulet. The wine is very good here too, and they have great local goat’s cheese. Also delicious fresh produce, asparagus, strawberries… and then there’s the duck! I used to be vegetarian until I moved here, and quickly realised that it wasn’t going to work.

Was there anything that surprised you about living in this part of France?

How authentic and unspoiled the landscape is, and how genuinely kind the people are, compared to other areas like the French Riviera, where I go often as my mother lives in Cannes that feels far more rushed than here.

Do you have a favourite French saying?

La vie est belle. It’s more than an expression, it’s a mindset.


The unique mix of legal, financial and tax advice along with in-depth location guides, inspiring real life stories, the best properties on the market, entertaining regular pages and the latest property news and market reports makes French Property News magazine a must-buy publication for anyone serious about buying and owning a property in France.

Cathy’s B&B can be found at

Lead photo credit : Cathy and Jean-Marie (top) chose to settle in Montréal in the Aude department, Photo: Shutterstock

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