Villa Arnaga

A hot 4th July did not deter a group of members and partners from driving into the far south west of our region to enjoy the delights of the French Basque countryside around Cambo and the city pleasures of Bayonne. The highlight of our day at Cambo was a visit to Edmond Rostand’s Villa Arnaga, with its superb gardens featuring a thousand Hortensias, and a French garden with its pergola, canal and water mirror leading to the house and surrounded by beautifully laid-out beds.

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In 1902, the immense success of Cyrano de Bergerac enabled Rostand and his wife Rosamonde to design and have built a magnificent house in the Basque style, with splendid interiors (see the web site), further embellished by recently restored fairy-tale decor by the then-contemporary caricaturist Jean Veber.

This visit was preceded by a good lunch in the Hotel Bellevue, which does indeed have a fine panoramic view of Cambo Bas and the sight of circling vultures (our lunch nevertheless untroubled!).

The day ended with a committee meeting enhanced by tapas and wine in the Hotel des Basses-Pyrennees in Bayonne. Many thanks to Marion for organising us so efficiently.

 

Bauduc

Our OUS SW France association has made a regular habit of chateau visits, characteristically to chateaux in vineyards. Such was our visit on 9th May to the British-owned Chateau Bauduc, notable as a supplier to top chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein and (for those who know North Wales well) Bryan Webb, in whose restaurant members first encountered Bauduc.

It was not the best day for sunning ourselves amongst the vines, but we did note the black vines first planted in 1947 and the netting being tested to protect against the hail which often destroys substantial percentages of the annual production. The chai contains two sections for red and white, generating a substantial volume of production that seemed immense to your correspondant. Shipping to bottling requires an exercise of military precision.

The Chateau has its own website which tells the story of the Quinney’s successful venture and it was Angela who very kindly greeted us in their chateau-home for an extensive degustation of Crémant de Bordeaux, whites and reds.

Sensible planning by Nigel ensured that we were not late for lunch at la Table in Créon where we enjoyed an excellent menu around a single large table, as the photos display (other photos can be found at OUS Bauduc ).

2019 Sainte-Mere Festival

Our member Piers Killeen writes:

2019 marks a new step forward.  Sainte-Mère Festival has supported over 50 talented young musicians and one of the most promising new quartet ensembles in Europe. This year we are also supporting an exceptional young composer. The Festival has been fortunate enough to join the famous Aldeburgh Festival of England and The Philips  Collection of Washington, in a co-commission of a new piece for string quartet by Freya Waley-Cohen.  The European premiere forms part of this year’s exciting summer programme. The details are now on the website.
With best wishes,
Piers

Draft 2019 Programme

Your committee met in November to formulate ideas for next year’s events. We would greatly appreciate your feedback.

This is especially the case if you would like to participate in the OUBC, Bayonne or Toulouse visits (these latter two will involve an overnight stay for most members). If so could you please indicate your interest in the forms below in order to help us gauge the level of interest.

As always, suggestions from members are welcome for further events. As always also, we welcome family members and friends at our events and, of course, any volunteers to help organise an event.

31 December or early January – Lunch with the OUBC crews at le Temple-sur-Lot (47). This has become a popular annual event. Details to be confirmed.

 

 

12 March, 12:30 – Lunch with the committee at the Restaurant La Bastide St. Louis, Prayssas (47).

April or May – a Château visit for wine tasting followed by lunch. Candidates for this are:

  • Sauternes: Château Guiraud (33) with lunch at restaurant La Chapelle at the chateau
  • Bordeaux red and white: Château Bauduc (33) with lunch at Créon.

We much enjoyed our visit to the Tonnellerie Sylvain, near Libourne (33) a few years back and this could be added to one of these visits. It would also be possible to do both château visits, with one taking place in October.

May – A visit to St. Emilion for wine and lunch.

June – an overnight excursion to either Bayonne or Toulouse. The less popular could be held over for 2020.

For Toulouse, this could include museum visits and a concert or another event of interest in la ville rose.

Bayonne (64) has many attractions including its museum, Basque culture (language, games – a visit to a match of “pelote basque” could be arranged) and food (jambon, pintxos, excellent restaurants and maybe a visit to a chocolate factory, as Bayonne is renowned for its chocolate). There is also the art nouveau spa of Cambo-les-Bains nearby.

 

 

 

 

September 6 – AGM in Albi (81).

For the AGM itself, we hope to have a guest speaker as well, to entertain us over lunch. We visited Albi some years ago, but the floods then prevented us taking a river trip. Members may in any case like to visit or re-visit the truly magnificent cathedral and the Toulouse-Lautrec museum.

 

 

2018 AGM

The restaurant Le Caillou near Vire-sur-Lot was this year’s venue for our AGM. Discussion centred on the substantial continuing interest among members and the forward programme for 2019. An agreeable lunch followed for the 13 members attending and 12 partners and friends: apologies were received from a further 17 members. Our thanks to Greg Hawes and Nigel Griffin for their organisation.