OUS South-West France Plans for 2023

This is a message for members to draw your attention to the email will just have received from our secretary, Nigel. If you have not received the email, please contact us on info@ousswfrance.com.

This posting covers most of the points but there is more detail in the email.

Why are we asking for members’ involvement and help?

Possible places in which to hold 2023 events were discussed at the most recent committee meeting. These included museums, towns of especial interest, and—as ever—châteaux and vineyards. It was felt that we could ask for input from members about these and also about: possible venues for the autumn 2023 AGM; the idea of holding a meeting with an invited speaker; and how we might identify new members. The committee meets again in January 2023 so we would be grateful for your input before that.

May we, then, please ask for members’ thoughts on:

1 AGM.

  1. Do you think we should continue our policy of holding the AGM in different parts of our (enormous) catchment area?
  2. Or would you prefer us to identify a single, central site which we know works well and then meet there every year?
  3. We have had invited well-known speakers on at least four occasions. Do you favour our doing so again? Maybe not, but, if so, canwe try to invite someone who lives locally? 
  4. Do you know (of) anyone whom we might ask to speak to us?

2 Events. 

  1. Since Covid, most of our excursions have been to châteaux and vineyards. Do you think we should vary this pattern by staging some, at least, of our four or five gatherings this coming year in towns with museums, galleries, concert halls, or other sites of cultural interest? 
  2. If so, might you prefer us to select venues which have access by bus and/or train or are close to a motorway?

3 Membership. 

We are always on the look-out for new members

  1. Do you know of any Oxford alumni living locally, full-time or even part of the year, whom you feel might be persuaded to join us? 
  2. Can you suggest ways we might draw attention to our existence and to what we do?
  3. We would appreciate it if members can bring their membership up to date by paying the annual subscription of €10 at their earliest convenience.

4 Committee.

The remit of the present office holders and the entire committee expires at the 2023 AGM. We would very much appreciate it if any member, and especially someone from the younger cohort, would like to put himself/herself up for the committee and participate more fully in helping to organize our programme.

Please reply directly to Nigel or via info@ousswfrance.com.

Tarn travelling for the AGM

Nigel writes:

Our 2022 AGM was held at the end of September at Gaillac (Tarn), in the pleasant surroundings of the Hôtel Restaurant La Verrerie and was followed by an enjoyable lunch. Committee member Christopher Boddington, who made the arrangements for us, took us that morning to the splendid 12th-century Château de Mayragues (enlarged in the 17th), a monument historique close by the bastide of Castelnau-de-Montmiral and complete with chemin de ronde en encorbellement. Once a ruin and now lovingly restored, it was in 1998 awarded the Grand prix des vieilles maisons françaises. There we were treated by Alan Geddes to a relaxed and informative tasting of the family’s biodynamic wines and several members who bought a case or two on the day have since reported favourably on their quality

The Association being in decent financial shape and with all office-holders in post until the 2023 AGM, the business side of the meeting was dispatched briskly. It was agreed to maintain the annual subscription at €10 and details of how this might be paid were included in the Minutes emailed to members. Outline arrangements for our 2023 programme will be discussed in November/December and members will then be canvassed for opinions/suggestions via the website and an email circular.

Château Feely and Le Bistro de Malfourat

On September 20th, a group of members and friends numbering about 20 ventured into the Bergerac vineyards for a tour of the Château Feely biodynamic vineyard and a wine tasting conducted by the knowledgable student of viticulture and author, Caro, of the same name.

OUS visits normally conclude with a lunch and the group was delighted to enjoy both the magnificent view of Bergerac and its surrounding countryside and an excellent menu du jour provided by the Bistrot de Malfourat which adjoins the Michelin-star Tour des Vents. As usual old acquaintances were renewed and new ones formed in this congenial environment. Our thanks to John Perry, who arranged both visit and lunch with characteristically unobtrusive finesse.

Monteton Book Fair this weekend!

Marion writes:

This coming Saturday and Sunday, 22nd and 23rd October, there is the annual English book sale in Monteton (47),  with hundreds of books for all tastes at 1€ each. Tea, coffee and home-made cakes. Monteton is a charming village with a fine church and chateau (Anglican sung matins at 10h30 on Sunday). It is also near Duras with its castle and Allemans-sur-Dropt with its mediaeval frescoes.

Bergerac Wine, Bergerac Lunch

The final OUS SW France visit for 2022 will be on 20 October to Château Feely, Saussignac followed by lunch at the Bistrot de Malfourat, Monbazillac. Members are invited to reply to Nigel’s invitation.

Chateau Feely (https://chateaufeely.com/) is renowned for its organic biodynamic wines. Caro Feely will be delighted to welcome us for the taster tour a one hour exploration of their vineyard.


The Bistrot de Malfourat adjoins the Michelin-starred Tour des Vents. It offers an agreeable menu with fine views towards Bergerac and the Monbazillac vineyard in its large salon. https://lebistrotdemalfourat.wixsite.com/lebistrotdemalfourat.

Gaillac AGM, September 29th

Thanks to Chris Boddington, arrangements have been made for this year’s AGM to be held in Gaillac (81). Thursday 29 September 2022, 12h.00 for 12h.15 at the Hotel Restaurant La Verrerie, 1 Rue de l’égalité, 81600 Gaillac. Guests are also welcome.

Nigel has sent details to all members. Members are also reminded that the annual subscription for 2022–2023 is now due.

The final OUS SW France visit for 2022 will be on 20 October to Château Feely, followed by lunch at the Bistrot de Malfourat. Details will be circulated in early October.

Note: The annual Phoenix Book Sale, to support care and rehoming of animals in need, is on 1 October in the Salle Anatole France, 33 rue Anatole France, 24100 Bergerac. See <https://www.phoenixasso.com/phoenix-book-fair/&gt;.

Château Malromé

The Bordeaux wine region is not short of chateaux, but few (any?) combine in a visit a tour of a finely restored building, a wine tasting and chai visit with an encounter with the life and work of an artist who captured the spirit of his age so graphically. A good twenty members, Cambridge alumni and friends took part on this 23rd June – and we enjoyed a good lunch too. Marion and Nigel are due generous thanks for arranging this visit, which was also excellent value for money.

In the gallery below, see the amphora being used experimentally to mature the blend. The chateau produces red, white and rosé, now under the etiquette ‘Toulouse-Lautrec’, as it was the chateau of Henri’s mother, Adèle. See too Henri’s childhood drawing hidden behind a door and a reproduction showing his fondness for red-heads, presented by the chateau’s own redhead.