OUS SW France in the time of the virus

Firstly, what’s happening with our plans for the year?

Nigel explains:

Members will have gathered that OUSWF events gazetted for this spring and early summer have had to be postponed. 

As you may recall, some of us planned to meet next week for an informal lunch in Prayssas (Lot-et-Garonne). Further details of the 6 May trip to Gaillac arranged by Committee member Chris Boddington were to have come round later this month. We now hope to stage that event at a later date.

Question marks must still hang over meetings further down the line, among them a possible visit in late June to the Gironde Château Malromé (33490 St-André-des-Bois), some 10 km N. of Langon, eventual home to Adèle Toulouse-Lautrec, mother of the painter Henri.

We are reasonably confident (or, at least, there are those who would have us so) that we shall be able to hold our AGM in early September at the Restaurant l’Atelier in 24560 Issigeac. We shall see.

Meanwhile, we shall of course keep the membership posted in the light of developments in the present health emergency.

– The Committee

Furthermore:

Just in case bureaucratic French is a challenge, thanks to Marion, here is a translation of the current set of rules concerning the confinement:

ATTESTATION DE DÉPLACEMENT DÉROGATOIRE
(2nd version, issued Wednesday 25 March 2020)
New directive issued by the French Government. You are only allowed to leave home in the following circumstances:
  1. Essential professional activity that cannot be conducted from home;
  2. Purchase of food, collection of social benefit, or cash withdrawal;
  3. Visit to a doctor (if you are unable to consult him/her over the phone), to the chemist, or for ongoing treatment for a long-term illness;
  4. Child-minding and family assistance, but only in cases of extreme necessity;
  5. Brief physical exercise, limited to one hour and to within a 1-kilometre radius of your home, either alone or with others who share your home, or to walk your dog;*
  6. Summons to a court; or
  7. Participation in community activities, only if invited the appropriate authority.
You can download the piece of paper you need to fill in at: ‘Attestation de Déplacement Dérogatoire’ on the government site www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites (several other sites also offer a download). You will need to take a completed and updated copy with you every time you go out. If you do not, you will face a hefty fine.
Confinement has now been extended until 16th April [watch this space …].
If you experience any difficulties with your day-to-day life (with shopping etc.), you may find your local Mairie helpful. You should find all Government announcements posted on their notice boards.
*For those living in the Lot-et Garonne, all pathways, whether through woodland, around lakes, or along rivers/canals, are out of bounds.
Finally, a French radio correspondent advises: “Do NOT wash your cat with disinfectant”…

Around Gaillac in May

Our first full event of 2020, arranged by Committee member Christopher Boddington, will be a trip on Wednesday 6 May to the Gaillac region. Details have been sent to members.

Arrangements include:

The 2020 AGM will take place in either the first or the second week of September at Restaurant l’Atelier, 62 D14, 24560 Issigeac. Further details will be on this Website as soon as we have them.

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 ).