If remote, dramatic settings are your thing, read on. 1400m up you come to a cluster of stone houses, clinging to the mountainside, sheltered by ash trees and serenaded by a stream, this is Llar. It’s home to a dozen or so people, and lucky you, for a memorable while.
The barn’s 3-storey glass wall is the star of the show, looking out through the original stone shell to the mountains beyond. Inside, there’s kit and comfort for all: walk-in showers, cosy bedrooms – one has space for six children on mezzanine floors under the eaves – a steam oven, massive fridge and freezer, lawned terraces with hammocks and a barbecue; no TV but loads of games and a piano.
There’s a good twice-weekly market and food shop in Prades and an excellent restaurant called La Mirabelle in Casteil, both 35km, so stock up for supplies when you’re out and about. Plan outings using the yellow train that winds its way 1000m down in the valley. Heaven for hikers, bikers and contemplators of immense scenery.