Château de Fénelon, 24, 17 mai

Nigel has written to members with details of our next visit, in summary below.

“As advertised, our next outing will be Wednesday 17 May to the Château de Fénelon, 24370 Sainte-Mondane. On this fortress, prominent during the 100 Years’ War and the Wars of Religion and birthplace of the writer, bishop, and royal chaplain (1651–1715), there is an unusually informative website (in both French and English): <>&#8230;.

The château has been closed all spring for the filming of Christopher Thompson’s adaptation of Robert Merle’s 13-vol. Fortune de France….

Lunch at the Restaurant/Hôtel Le Rouffillac at Carlux (<;)

Our third 2023 event will be an afternoon visit on Wednesday 21 June to the Château Royale de Cazeneuve, 33730 Préchac, with lunch at l’Escale du Ciron in Villandraut.

When the Committee last met, it asked that all members be reminded that the terms of office of the entire committee and all the officers of the Association will expire at the AGM we shall hold in Moissac on Wednesday 13 September. As indicated in a previous message about the Castelsarrasin/Belleperche event last month, we would be very grateful if members would consider helping us by being willing to stand for election then.

Springing into action

Our secretary Nigel has emailed members with details of our spring events. Members should contact him if they have not received an email and wish to attend.

The first event will be on Thursday 13 April with a guided tour of the Espace Firmin Bouisset in the Maison d’Espagne in Castelsarrasin (81) and its collection of iconic posters and designs. Lunch will be at the Auberge du Moulin on the outskirts of Castelsarrasin followed by a guided visit of the rich collections of the Musée des arts de la table housed in the nearby Cistercian Abbaye de Belleperche on the banks of the Garonne.

Our second event will be a visit on Wednesday 17 May to the Château de Fénelon (Ste-Mondane, 20km SE of Sarlat), a prominent fortress during the 100 Years’ War and the Wars of Religion and the birthplace of the writer, bishop, and royal chaplain, who lived 1651–1715.

Problems with Joinly online payments site

I would like to apologise to all those who tried to pay the annual sub via the Joinly website, and only to find it was impossible to do so.

I recently discovered that although the site appeared to be functioning normally, it would not complete the final stage of the payment process. 

Apparently, our account with Joinly had been frozen by their fraud department! Furthermore, the bank failed to inform either Joinly or ourselves of this.

To cut a long story short, we have now been cleared of money laundering and all other suspected fraudulent activities, and our account has been restored.

Therefore, if you have not yet paid your 10 € sub for the current financial year, please feel free to do so at: –


With apologies to all those who suffered frustration with Joinly, and all best wishes,

Andrew Edgar, Treasurer OUSSWF

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

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

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.

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 <;.

2022 Programme

Our secretary has recently emailed members our proposed events for 2022. He writes: “An outline of possible future events was presented at the 2021 AGM held at Issigeac in September. Most of those had been repeatedly kicked down the road since 2019, courtesy of Covid. It is accordingly a pleasure to announce that we hope this year to stage some of them.”

Here is a brief summary (events are always followed by lunch):

Thursday 14 April, 12:00. Robert Taylor. Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at Queen’s College, will give a short pre-lunch talk entitled ‘Not All Wines Are French’ at the Restaurant l’Atelier, 24560 Issigeac.  Subscriptions close on 23rd March.

Late June: Visit to Château Malromé (33490 St-André-des-Bois), home of Toulouse-Lautrec’s mother and the last home of Toulouse-Lautrec himself. He died there and is buried in the local churchyard..

Thursday 18 August, 10:30: Morning tour of the biodynamic Château Feely (24240 Saussignac).

Mid-September: AGM in the Gaillac area (81). 

Members are requested to pay their subscriptions at their earliest convenience.