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.

A roam at Malromé? 23rd June.

Nigel has sent members details of our next excursion. Please contact us if you have not received these.

Château Malromé, first recorded in the sixteenth century, became in 1847 the joint property of Adolphe de Forcade La Roquette, Vice-President of the Council of State under Napoleon III, and his half-brother, Marshal Armand-Jacques Leroy de Saint-Arnaud, Governor of Paris and Minister for War. The two men were adepts of the fashion for interventionist restoration championed by Eugène Viollet-de-Duc (1814–1879), best known for his work at both Pierrefonds and Carcassonne andon Notre-Dame in Paris.

In 1883, Countess Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec née Adelaide Fergusson purchased the property from Forcade La Roquette’swidow. Her son, the painter Henri (b.1864), was a frequent visitor, dying at the château in September 1901.

Among later owners of the Château was Doctor Gabriel Seynat, adjoint of the postwar Mayor of Bordeaux, Jacques Chaban Delmas. The house and grounds have been extensively restored.

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.

OUBC

Our secretary has been in contact with OUBC. Regrettably, it will not be possible to join them during their January 2022 training session, as they are currently planning to do their training elsewhere. They may return to Le Temple in future years.

The Plan for 2020/21 and the 2020 AGM

Our Hon. Sec. writes:

The OUSWF Committee met informally this Tuesday (28th July) to discuss what, if anything, might be salvaged from the proposed 2020 events programme previewed on this site.

The consensus was that the planned October visit to Château Feely should now join the aborted May Gaillac visit and June tour of Château Malromé on a provisional programme for 2021. As and when we have the all-clear to firm up those events, details will, of course, be posted in the usual way.

Our Constitution, last revised in 2009, mandates the holding of an AGM ‘normally in the first fortnight of October’. The terms of our registration as an Association here in France oblige us to do the same.

In the light of ongoing uncertainties about the health crisis and the constraints currently in place on gatherings, it would not seem possible to hold a 2020 AGM along traditional lines.

What we propose to do is to hold in October an AGM attended solely by members of the current Committee. In mid-September we will send all members for online approval a copy of the reports of the Treasurer, Secretary, and Webmaster, together with the usual invitation to propose items for discussion at the now skeleton AGM. If there are any misgivings about this temporary extension of the remit of the committee and its officers, these will be addressed at the earliest opportunity.

Clearly, this solution will not satisfy all members, any more than it does the current Committee. If you wish to raise any questions before the September issue of the draft reports for AGM approval, please address these to the Hon. Secretary.

Bon courage. 

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.

IMG_0695   IMG_0693

IMG_0696
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.