Early in the year, the Languedoc can be surprisingly pleasant. Weather-wise there are generally lots of sunny days and barely a spit of rain. It can certainly get cold in this part of France, but nothing that a chocolat chaud can’t put right. Cold brings snow to the nearby mountains and that means skiing is a very viable weekend or even just a day trip away.
Les Angles or Font Romeu to name just a few of the nearby resorts are stunning places to be, even for a non-skier. The Après Skiing is as good as you want to make it and there are some terrific restaurants and très charmant shops to visit. There are plenty of ski runs and it is very family orientated and not as expensive as skiing in the Alpes. There are also a number of spas in the area, perfect for relaxing those tired muscles and a favourite place to visit are the hot natural baths at Les Bains de LLO. With a number of indoor and outdoor sulphorous pools kept at 35 deg Centigrade to relax in there is always a hot bubble jet for one to perch upon. One of the pools even has underwater music and with a Hammam and sauna on offer, you come out feeling thoroughly cleansed, purged and ready for Après ski.
Another good spa is at Gruissan. Located on the Mediterranean coast near Narbonne, between the hills of the Clape, Gruissan was originally a fishing village on a small island surrounded by marshland. The narrow winding streets of Gruissan village encircle the ruined 13th century castle tower and there is a great choice of places to dine along the palm-lined quays all year round. The Espace Balneoludique spa is delightful and if you visit after 6 pm, you can enjoy 2 hours of sheer relaxing bliss for just €10 (2014) and then go out to one of the many restaurants at nearby Gruissan Marina for dinner afterwards!
The only thing I should warn you is that men HAVE to wear those teeny weeny speedo type swimming shorts…
Read about the bizarre law in France that requires men to wear tight swimwear in public pools!
Honor Marks runs the Maison de La Roche, a once neglected wine domaine in Languedoc-Roussillon which has been bought back to life as gites.