The Best Wine Tasting Vineyards in SW France: Stay at Bijou Barn near Cahors

 

You cannot come to the Cahors region of France without enjoying the amazing wines on offer. It’s like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower or New York and missing out on the Statue of Liberty.

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We love wine, know which grape varieties we prefer and what we like about them. Sometimes, our understanding of the whole process and what is really involved in the day to day tending of the vines, can be a bit more sketchy.

I remember the first time I visited a vineyard, where I really learned more about the whole process of wine making, the amount of work required and the risks involved. I couldn’t actually believe that this wonderful drink didn’t cost so much more.

Here is what some local wine producers say when they are asked why Cahors wines are so good.

This year there have been many problems with an early frost damaging the vines when they were at their most vulnerable, resulting in the loss of the bulk of the grapes this year. Although this doesn’t happen that often, it’s incredible to think that the grapes of a whole region can be affected in such a catastrophic way.

Which Vineyards Should You Visit?

In an ideal world, you would be able to visit them all, but if you are on holiday, you may not be able to fit them all in, so here are some suggestions about which ones to choose to get the most out of the experience.

“When you say Cahors, you say Malbec and when you say Malbec you say Cahors.”

Here is a great video to introduce Cahors Wine. 

  • Mix visits to the larger well known vineyards with those of the much smaller producers in order to get a real feel of the styles of wines on offer in the region.
  • The larger vineyards have informative tours and it’s definitely worth doing at least one where you will learn much more about the history and the many processes in the art of wine-making.
  • Visit smaller lesser known wine producers for a much more intimate experience.
  • The Cahors region is known predominantly for powerful red wine, but there are some wine producers who offer different wines such as whites, rosés, sparkling and dessert varieties.
  • Try and buy a range of wines. It is really worth splashing out on one or two more expensive bottles if you can, that way you will be able to really compare the tastes and complexities that this historical drink can offer.
  • Make a day of it and combine your tastings with lunch. Some of the larger vineyards have their own eateries but you can also visit the many restaurants nearby or why not pack a picnic ?

Cahors Vineyards: Let’s Go Big and Bold

Chateau Chambert  (approx 8kms from Bijou Barn)

When you approach this vineyard, you can’t help but be impressed by the fairytale appearance of Chateau Chambert – it is truly stunning. You’d expect to see Rapunzel looking out from one of the turrets with her long cascading hair.

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Enjoy free tastings, guided tours and a wine bar or a bistro to relax in, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the vines. The bistro serves local delicacies, olives, bread, duck sausage, salads and vegetarian options, so there is plenty to choose from.

Chambert make red, white and rosé wines and there is also a dark dessert wine called Rogomme, using a 300 year old Quercy recipe.

What makes Chateau Chambert Special

Much thought has gone into the tours offered in the summer.

The Winery Tour offers a real insight into the life of a vineyard and all that happens during the year. The tour delves deeper into the winemaking process culminating in a tasting of these well known wines.

The Planet Chambert Tour involves a walk around the vineyard where you learn about everything that happens in a biodynamic vineyard and the importance of all the animals, flora and fauna.  You meet the Scottish highland cattle and learn about their importance in the vineyard. Then you pass through Beehive Village before finishing the 1.5 hour tour in the bistro.

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Taste Rogomme, the dark dessert wine which compliments dark chocolate, fresh strawberries, and even Christmas pudding. For those with a savoury tooth, it is also great with powerful cheeses such as Roquefort.

Clos Triguedina ( approx 15kms from Bijou Barn)
http://www.jlbaldes.com

A wonderful vineyard with a great reputation and why wouldn’t they have ? They are in their 7th generation!

There are 4 types of visit.

  • Classique: 30 mins. 5 euros
    Visit the vines and taste 3 wines
  • Prestige: 1 hour. 8 euros
    Visit the vines, cellar and taste 5 wines
  • Exception: 1 hour 30 mins. 15 euros
    Visit the vines, cellar and taste 7 wines
  • Magical Thursdays: 2 hours. 15 euros
    Learn more about wine tasting, with a vintage tasting workshop, every Thursday 10:30 – 12:30 in July and August.

What makes Clos Triguedina Special?

It’s all about innovation here, developing new ideas based on historic recipes but with a contemporary twist. Here are two examples of new wines created with unusual techniques:-

New Black Wine
The malbec grape is hand-picked, laid on trays and gently heated overnight to concentrate the unique flavours. The wine is then aged in oak casks for 12 months to provide a long finish with a pure intense pallet.

Sparkling Rosé
Taste the first sparkling malbec ever produced. Perfect for celebrations !

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Cahors Vineyards: Something for Everyone

Chateau Nozieres (approx 15 kms from Bijou Barn)

Chateau Nozieres is a real family affair, whose mission is to develop their knowledge of the soils, so they can tend their vines and allow the malbec to fully express its potential.

Tastings are offered 09:00-12:00 and 14:00 – 19:00 Monday to Saturday and Sunday by appointment.

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What Makes Chateau Nozieres Special?

They are completely independent and very friendly and informative about their vineyard and wines.

They offer dry and sweet whites and rosés as well as their more powerful reds.

They are close to a wonderful quaint restaurant in the village of Grezels called La Terrasse where you can go before or after your tastings.

Chateau de Gaudou (approx 15kms from Bijou Barn)

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The Durou family have been making wine since 1733, so they are pretty good at it now! At Chateau de Gaudou, they pride themselves on their ability to re-invent their wines and are quoted as saying “ The vintages pass but not the style”

Here is a video showing the harvesting process

They open Monday – Saturday 14:00 – 18:00

What makes Chateau de Gaudou special

Taste the Exeption Blanc – a dry white wine made from red malbec grapes.

Try the beautiful Gaudou sparkling wine and you will realise that no celebration is necessary to pop the cork on this wine. It is a dry white but with a depth of fruitiness – refreshing and perfect for a summery day.

They are very close to a lovely restaurant called Le Caillau where you can go for lunch before you visit the vineyard for an afternoon tasting.

Domain d’ Homs (approx 5 kms from Bijou Barn)

A lovely vineyard who remain true to the authentic production of wine. Domain d’Homs offer a selection of reds, rosés and a white.

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They are open for tastings from mid June to mid September. Monday to Saturday from 10:00 – 19:00.

What Makes Domaine d’Homs special?

They have a choice of three rosés:-
Tradition – a dry flavour to accompany a meal
Rosé Perlé – a slightly sparkling wine perfect as an aperitif
Fruité – as the name suggests, a fruity taste to enjoy at the end of a meal.

There is a marché gourmande at Chateau d’Aix at nearby Saux every Wednesday evening from 19:00. Have a tasting at Domaine d’Homs, then go on to the marché gourmands for dinner.

 

Cahors Vineyards: Small is Beautiful

Domaine de Garinet (approx 5kms from Bijou Barn)

If you have ever wanted to leave everything in the UK behind and buy a vineyard in France, then you should visit Domaine de Garinet as Mike and Sue Spring did exactly that and lived to tell the tale. They are a mine of information about wine production and are living the dream and over-coming the difficulties that running a vineyard brings.

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From 1 June to 30 September they are open Monday- Saturday 11:00 – 18:30 where you can chat with them, see the vines and taste their reds, rosé and whites.

What Makes Domaines de Garinet Special

They have great knowledge and an inspiring story of how they came to France and bought a vineyard.

They also have walnuts and prunes and a wonderful mix of great products that they make themselves. The sweet pickled prunes are delicious with cheese and Sue’s walnut brownies are legendary.

They have a stand in Montcuq market every Sunday morning so you can catch up with them there as well.

There is a new restaurant and small shop in Serignac which is open for lunches and evening meals so why not visit here after your wine tasting to relax and have a bite to eat.

Domaines des Boulbènes ( approx 6kms from Bijou Barn)

When you meet Francis, you really feel you are meeting a local down to earth wine producer. Domaines des Boulbènes has been producing red, white and rosé for 4 generations.

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Free tastings are available from Monday to Saturday 09:00 – 12:00 and 15:00 – 19:00. Some red and rosé can also be purchased in a vacuum box (BIB) which is great for transportation.

What Makes Domaines des Boulbènes Special

You get the opportunity to taste a selection of wines from a small scale producer.

There is a lovely traditional restaurant called Bessieres Lalore Nadine (we just call it Nadine’s) by this vineyard in St Matre where you can enjoy a set lunch and feel like a local. It’s really worth a visit and compliments the local vineyard perfectly.

Go and Explore the Wines of Cahors

These are by no means the only vineyards in the area – to be fair, I have only scratched the surface of the vast number of vineyards. I think that’s what makes the area so special – you are always on a voyage of wine discovery.

Get ready to explore the vineyards around Cahors. Take a look at this video for some inspiration.


Let me know which are your favourite vineyards around Cahors. Maybe you live here and can tell me about your favourite wine producers. Perhaps you have been on holiday and can let me know about a great wine you found in the area. Or you could be visiting the region for the first time and have more questions about the Cahors wines.

Get in touch if you want to know more about the area.

 

Driving to South West France? Easy Tips For a Perfect Road Trip

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So you’ve booked your holiday and are planning how to get there. For many people it’s the age old juggling act of getting to your destination as soon as possible without it feeling like some kind of endurance test.

What would be your perfect road trip?

Although we are working on our transporter, it’s not quite ready.

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So until you can utter those immortal words “Beam us up Scotty” then we will just have to choose more traditional methods to make your road trip more interesting.

It needs to :-

  • Be quick but pleasant
  • Keep tedium to a minimum
  • Have elements of fun for everyone
  • Provide unique memories

Can it be done? Well here are a few suggestions to consider for your next road trip to South West France.

Crossing the water

Euro Tunnel: Folkestone to Calais (35 mins crossing then 9 hour drive to Bijou Barn)
This is by far the quickest way to cross the Channel but being cooped up in the car can be restrictive so we try to make it different by taking a picnic in the car to have whilst on the train and watch an episode of our favourite sitcom for 30 minutes. It’s quite relaxing and we arrive feeling revived and ready for the next part of the journey.

Ferry: Dover to Calais (90 mins crossing time then 9 hours drive to Bijou Barn)
I have always enjoyed the ferry as it gives you time to stretch your legs, wander about on deck and have a bite to eat. These ferries have come a long way from when I used to travel on them, as a child. They are more luxurious for a start, with much better facilities to make the journey more pleasurable.

Why not upgrade to Club Lounge where you can enjoy a free glass of champagne, soft or hot drink? You can also order a light bite from the special Club Lounge menu, then sit back, relax, take in the view or read a free newspaper.

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You can also enjoy a meal on board in a lovely restaurant with table service by friendly staff.

Ferry: Newhaven to Dieppe (fasted crossing time of 4 hours then 7 hours drive to Bijou Barn)
Although the crossing is longer, the driving time is reduced. The onboard facilities include a lounge with magnificent panoramic windows with sea views, a bar, restaurant, shop and a children’s play-area. There are also quiet lounges where you can relax and sleep, plus spacious outdoor decks and 50 en suite cabins.

Cruise: Portsmouth to Bilbao ( 24 hour crossing then 5 hour drive )
If you really want to reduce your driving time, then take the crossing to Bilbao in Spain. The ship provides much more of a cruise experience with several accommodation choices,
fine dining and restaurant options and children’s entertainment. Not to mention a movie lounge, wifi, heated outdoor pool, shops lounges ad sun decks.

For more information about times, prices and availability, look at direct ferries.co.uk or aferry.co.uk to compare fares on different routes.

There is also a great article in the telegraph giving an overview of ferry options.

Breaking up the journey

I think that for most people, breaking up the journey makes for a much more harmonious experience, especially when you are on holiday. So have a think about what is best for you and your fellow travellers.

Hotel Les Trois Mousquetaires – Aire sur la Lys
Situated just of the motorway about an hour south of Calais. I used to visit this hotel, now called Les Saveurs du Parc, with my parents, nearly forty years ago and it always signified the start and the end to our summer holiday. It offers a great place to stay with wonderful food and wines.

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Chateau de Cocove near Ardres
There is something very french about staying in a Chateau. The setting is wonderful and its very relaxing to have a refreshing drink in the garden and unwind before dinner. Again just a short distance from the motorway and 40 minutes from Calais.

chateau cocove

Hotel Jehan de Beauce a bit further south in Chartres
If you want t break the journey a bit further south, then Chartres is a good point. Just south of Paris, the Hotel Jehan de Beauce is located in the centre of Chartres, so ideal for dong a bit of exploring. The hotel’s art deco style is impressive and offers a certain element of luxury, a very fitting start to your holiday.

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Samsaget Hobbit House Dordogne Aux Fontaines d’Eyvigues
Who wouldn’t want to stay in a hobbit house? There are some truly inspired and very unusual accommodation options these days, all over France. This is a great stopover as you are near to Sarlat and Rocamadour for a visit the following day, then you can drive the last 90 minutes to your accommodation.

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Chateau de la Villette
With a central location just south of France and near Chateauroux and Issoudun so not far from the motorway. There are many friendly and welcoming bed and breakfasts in France and this option is no different but it is in a lovely setting with an option of dinner as well, so you can relax and enjoy your surroundings – perfect after a day of driving.

chateau de la Villette
Budget Accommodation in a Town or Village
In recent years, the budget chains of accommodation such as Ibis and Kyriad have really got their act together and provide a clean and comfortable place to stay, often with free parking, in some great central locations. I have stayed many times at the Ibis in the centre of Saint Omer, from where I could explore the town and eat in a lovely local restaurant such as Le Cigne. I have always enjoyed wonderful meals here and the many reviews on Trip Advisor echo my thoughts. Then in the morning I go to one of the four local patisseries around the town square, for pain au chocolat or a lovely savoury quiche.

Take a break and do something

There are so many options to choose from depending on your interests but here are a few to get you thinking.

Disneyland
Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25 year anniversary – amazing! They also have a new ride called Hyperspace Mountain.

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Futuroscope
Situated just off the motorway very close to Poitiers, this theme park is celebrating its 30 year anniversary. It’s a really cool theme park with simulated rides for a glimpse of life in the future.
There are also shows in the evening which include a performance from Cirque du Soleil – check out the video.

futuroscope

La Coupole and the Planetarium 5kms from St Omer
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this massive dome shaped building was built by the Nazis during WWII as the launching base for their V2 rockets. An impressive museum has been created where you can learn about the rocket and Hitler’s plans to use it to destroy London.

On a lighter note, there is also a 3D planetarium which uses modern technology to take you on an unforgettable journey into space inside the massive 360-degree room wearing your active 3D glasses. Follow Yuri Gagarin during his first space flight, step onto Mars with the Curiosity Rover and discover all sorts of other celestial happenings.

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Nausicaa
Situated near Boulogne sur Mer which is less than 45 mins from Euro tunnel, is an underwater world to be discovered. They boast that all the seas of the world are there to be explored. Here is some footage to “wet” your appetite.

 

The Benefits of Driving

  • There is a freedom to driving to your destination as you aren’t restricted so much by set departure times.
  • You can plan your journey to fit in with your needs
  • Fuel costs are pretty good right now.
  • You have your own transport when you are on holiday so don’t have to make other arrangements.
  • You can carry more with you and take more home too! So if you want to buy those lovely bottles of wine or that heavy souvenir – it won’t be a problem.

I hope this blog post has given you some ideas for your road trip. If you need any other information then please contact me as I am happy to help.

Jump On the Gin Wagon and Blaze a Trail to South West France

 

Gin is making an amazing comeback in the UK. Our love affair with this sultry spirit is enjoying a wonderful revival by people of all ages. The birth of small batch boutique gins means that there is now a gin for each and everyone of us and we are enjoying the fun of finding our perfect tipple.

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Gin Bars, Gin Festivals and Gin Clubs are where we are flocking to find the latest tastes to savour. But what happens when we go on holiday?  Wouldn’t it be great to have some time for some gin appreciation as we relax?

Gin Appreciation at Bijou Barn

Situated in South West France, Bijou Barn is a spacious barn with sophisticated charm just waiting to become your home from home for your summer holiday.

We love gin and have spent much time sipping and savouring this very special spirit. We are always on the hunt for new flavours and decided to offer a gin appreciation experience for our guests who come to visit our holiday rental in the scenic and unspoilt Lot region.

Any guests who are interested will learn about the history of gin, the different ways of making gin – your London Drys, Old Tom and that Bathtub gin is not where you have to sit to drink it – although we do have a place for that too!

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We also try to answer that all-important question of how to find your favourite gin with 3 tastings……and all this from the comfort of our holiday rental – gintastic!

It doesn’t matter whether you have booked Bijou Barn as a holiday rental or you have opted for a more tailor-made trip with Bijou Bespoke, this gin appreciation can be scheduled into your stay with us.

Our Special FREE Offer at Bijou Barn

Book a 7 day stay at Bijou Barn anytime during September and anyone over 18 can enjoy the Gin Appreciation including 3 tastings for FREE.

Here’s what’s included:-

  • 3 unusual gin tastings by the private pool
  • Canapés using local produce
  • Learn about how gin is made
  • Find out why you like certain gins

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Please contact us for further information and availability or go straight to our booking page.

Bijou Bespoke: jewel-like holidays filled with sparkle, just for you.

 

Bijou Barn is our holiday rental situated in the beautiful Lot region of South West France, offering the perfect base to explore this area.

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Due to popular demand, we’ve created Bijou Bespoke as an additional service to our guests. With Bijou Bespoke, you decide what you want from your holiday and we take care of everything else.

  • You want a fantastic holiday but sometimes it’s hard to get exactly what you want from your trip.
  • Holidays are so important as your time is precious and you want to enjoy it with those you care about.
  • You need to get the balance between adventure and relaxation right, whilst experiencing the very best your destination has to offer.

We know it’s often hard to find exactly what you want from a holiday but don’t worry, we can help you by creating something totally unique, just for you. Just as no two people are the same, no two holidays should be the same either.

We include the following as standard:-

Airport transfers
Experience the area in a chauffeur driven car
Visit lovely restaurants
We cook for you at home
We leave you plenty of time for relaxation
We do the planning so you can do the enjoying

Our local knowledge and curiosity to seek out the unique and unusual, mean that you get to enjoy special experiences and create wonderful memories.

Here are some Bijou Bespoke ideas to try:-

  • Gin Tastings
  • Wine Tasting Safari
  • Visit a Local Market with a Local
  • Play Pétanque with a Pro
  • Explore the Countryside in a Vintage Car
  • Art Tour – Meet Local Artists and Sculptors
  • Take to the Water
  • Meet the Winegrowers and Learn About Their Craft Over Lunch

Do you want to know more about a Bijou Bespoke holiday?

Please click here to find out more information and get in touch as we would love to help you create your perfect holiday.

The early bird gets cheep cheep flights

 

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Yes, I know you have barely got your Christmas decorations packed away and your New Year resolutions are still intact…..well hopefully.

It’s a fact that those who book their summer holidays early get more choice and better all round value. In addition, there is the peace of mind factor, knowing that it’s booked and all you need to do is look forward to it.

If you book early then you can enjoy flights that are much cheaper. All the airlines are offering deals at the moment so if you want to have more to spend on your summer holiday then save money by booking your flights now.

Bijou Barn is situated in the south west of France and is surrounded by the following airports, so there is plenty of choice.

Airports near Bijou Barn

  • Toulouse:  80km south-east
  • Bergerac:  85km north-west
  • Brive:  120km north-east
  • Bordeaux:  190km west
  • Limoges:  221km north
  • La Rochelle : 362km north east

Low Cost Airlines flying from the UK

Easyjet 

Flybe

Ryanair

Jet 2 

Here is a breakdown of who flies where

Please note that not all Flybe flights are direct. Please check for more details on their website.

Toulouse Airport

Flybe
Edinburgh   Birmingham   Glasgow   Guernsey   Jersey   Manchester   Southampton

EasyJet
London Gatwick   London Luton

Ryanair
London Stansted

Jet2
Manchester

Bergerac Airport

Ryanair
Bristol   East Midlands   Liverpool   London Stansted

Jet 2
Leeds Bradford

Brive Airport

Ryanair
Liverpool   London Stansted

Bordeaux Airport

Easyjet
Belfast   Bristol   Glasgow   Liverpool   London Gatwick   London Stansted

Ryanair
Edinburgh   London Stansted

Limoges Airport

Flybe
Belfast City   Dublin   Edinburgh   Glasgow   Guernsey   Jersey   Leeds Bradford   Manchester  Newcastle   Southampton

Ryanair
Bristol   East Midlands   Leeds Bradford   London Stansted   Manchester

La Rochelle Airport

Flybe
Aberdeen   Belfast   Birmingham   Edinburgh   Glasgow   Leeds Bradford   Manchester Newcastle   Southampton

Easyjet
London Gatwick

Ryanair
London Stansted

The Next Blog Post

If you are planning to drive to Bijou Barn, then my next post is just for you – it’s all about making the drive part of your holiday and ensuring your trip is stress free by suggesting routes, stop overs and interesting places to see on your journey.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Bijou Barn

The pool at Bijou Barn

Getting into the festive spirit!

Sometimes it’s hard to get into the festive spirit when it’s warm and sunny……. but rest assured, we are giving it our best shot!

We hope your Christmas is filled with fun and merriment with family and friends and that 2017 brings you all the happiness you can handle.

With our very best wishes

Graham and Jane
Click here to find out more about your summer holiday at Bijou Barn

Le Moulin de Dausse – fantastic food which is anything but run of the mill.

There’s only one thing I like more than eating out and that’s eating out in a place I have never been before. So, when friends invited us to have dinner at a small restaurant we hadn’t heard of, in a nearby village, we jumped at the chance and it was wonderful.

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Surprise starter at Le Moulin de Dausse – a fantastic beginning to our meal.  We are so lucky to have such a lovely restaurant near our holiday rental!

We had drinks in the covered barn as we drooled over the menu. All the courses were set, apart from the main where there was a choice of three dishes. Of course, we all know it’s easy to write a menu, the proof of the pudding would be in the eating……. I couldn’t wait!

Setting the Scene

We were shown into the small interior space which had a relaxed yet stylish feel. Much thought and effort had gone into creating this wonderful stage to showcase our meal. From the pretty napkin rings, to the unusual crockery whilst carefully placed candles flickered as if to signify the start of our meal.

I knew as soon as the first plates were brought to the table that we were in for a treat. The presentation was stunning, yet executed with an element of humour and confidence – I loved the flavours, I savoured each part of the dish, marvelling at the different taste and texture combinations, the clever use of local ingredients and how traditional cooking techniques were mixed with more contemporary methods – it was an absolute joy to experience.

The Menu 32.50€

Surprise Starter

Taste of 4 Hors D’Oeuvres

Home smoked salmon, salmon tartare and lavender mayonnaise
Duck liver breakfast with coffee, orange, egg and bread
Crab with red onion and tomato chutney
Belly pork with a creamy mustard foam

Main Course

Fillet of veal, beef cheek, veal crackling and jus
Or
Fillet of barbary duck, cauliflower croquet and wine and sherry sauce
Or
Fillet of sea bass with garlic purée and saffron sauce

Amuse Bouche

Assortment of three little desserts

Homemade prune ice cream with white chocolate cream
Banana mousse with tropical fruit liqueur
Cherry coulis topped with creme anglaise

Or

Assortment of cheese

Wonderful Meal

The amuse bouche certainly got our tastebuds going and the selection of mini starters was genius in the choice of contrasting ingredients. My favourite was the juicy pork topped with a light yet fiery mustard mousse. The lavender butter served with the bread was unusual and tasty – quite a talking point around the table.

Starter at Moulin de Dausse

Really enjoyed the idea of 4 mini starters – it was hard to decide on my favourite

I chose the beef and veal dish as my main course which was a delight. Tender slices of perfectly cooked veal filet lay on a bed of slow cooked melt in the mouth beef cheeks topped with crispy veal crackling – my mouth is watering as a write this down.

Then a lovely pre-dessert – the elderflower milkshake was one of the more unusual flavour combinations of the evening – the milky drink really emphasised the elderflower taste, which surprised and impressed me.

Finally, a selection of mini desserts – the banana mousse was so light with a powerful fresh taste and the prune sorbet was excellent.

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What a finale – a selection of delicious desserts.

Why you should visit Le Moulin de Dausse

Eating out is so much more than a meal – it’s time with friends, discussions and laughter blend seamlessly, it’s a celebration, a getogether, but whatever the reason, it’s because we want to be entertained, looked after and made to feel special.

Le Moulin de Dausse offers all of this as standard but excels in the way the food is created and served. Yes the menu changes but what always remains is the passion with which the food is cooked and presented. The attention to detail is always there from each item on a plate to the plate itself – the couple who own this restaurant should be congratulated on the whole experience they provide, as it is theatre on a plate in a sumptuous setting.

As you can tell, I loved every moment of the evening and left the old mill feeling entertained, inspired and hungry for a return visit to this jewel of a restaurant.

  •   Click here for their website and to read their current menu.
  • Also check their opening times as they do close for the Winter.
  • Always book a table 0033 553 41 26 00 to avoid disappointment.

French holiday rental reviews – all 5 star – just like our guests – thank you so much!

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It’s always quite daunting as we await reviews from our guests. We hope that they have enjoyed their stay and that Bijou Barn has helped to make their holiday special.

Whether they’ve enjoyed being in the pool, cooking alfresco on the BBQ, watching the sunset on the back terrace with a chilled glass of wine, picking figs from the garden for pudding or stretching out on a sun lounger with a good book, we would like to think that everyone of our guests takes a collection of Bijou Barn memories home with them as a souvenir of their holiday.

What did our guests say about their stay?

“We all had a truly wonderful time and left feeling truly refreshed.”

“Bijou Barn was gorgeous – it had everything we needed and more!”

“We can thoroughly recommend Bijou Barn and hope to return.”

“Luxury, family friendly holiday property”

“Weather was perfect, pool was glorious and countryside beautiful.”

“The owners Jane and Graham are very friendly, nothing being too much trouble.”

It’s always lovely to meet our guests and find out a bit about them – and you know what, they are a great bunch. If we had to rate our guests, they too would be 5 star! They are all individual, but all with the same hope, that they can chill out, relax and enjoy their holiday.

We are thrilled that our guests have rated us with such glowing reviews and this just makes us more determined to work on new plans to make Bijou Barn even better next year. We want our guests to feel at home whilst experiencing something completely different.

Plans for next year?

I am sure we will be discussing the plans over one or two glasses of lovely Malbec wine during the coming months and if you watch this space, you’ll be the first to know about what is new at Bijou for next year and all the great events and experiences to try locally.

Thanks again for your wonderful reviews – it really means a lot to us.

Special Celebrations in Sleepy French Villages

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How many times have you driven through a French village and seen no one? How many times have you asked yourself what do these people do? Where are they?

Sometimes we assume that because a place is quiet for the short time we are passing through, it must be like that all the time…..well guess again!

Under that sleepy exterior lies the beating heart of a lively village.

Our First French Fete

My husband and I were invited by some friends to a Village Fete. We were excited as this was the first “local” fete we were to experience, and one to which you need to be invited to by someone from the village hosting the event. We arrived at the location and couldn’t believe our eyes.

A freshly cut field had been transformed into an extremely large outdoor dining area, ready to accommodate about 400 people on long tables with bench seating and long strings of lights above, which lit up the whole area as the sun started to set. The dining area was surrounded by a bar, a covered area with a stage for the band and a dance floor, plus an outdoor kitchen where the lamb, or should I say flock was being slowly spit roasted.

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Local Food and Wines

We sipped ice cold slightly sparkling rose as we savoured the atmosphere. Then we were all asked to take a seat and within a short time we were chatting to people beside us, as Sangria was poured into our glasses.

Having been in the restaurant trade, we know only too well how tough it can be to feed large numbers of people, but to do it for around 400, in a field and serve everyone at the table – well that was really impressive.

Our banquet began with soup and French bread, of course, followed by cured ham and the sweetest, juiciest, locally produced melon. The wine flowed, as wine does in France, with empty bottles on the tables being quickly replaced with full ones, by the very efficient waiting staff. Then came the main course, spit roasted lamb and sausages served with a tasty bean cassoulet – it was delicious.

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Brilliant Live Music

As everyone finished, the tables were cleared and the musical entertainment began. This band were very good – drummer, trumpet player, guitarist, accordion player and singer – all in fancy dress and their instruments and mikes all Bluetoothed, allowing them to mingle with everyone seated at the tables.

Within minutes the band had progressed to dancing and singing on top of the tables with many of the guests already standing on their chairs and joining in. The trumpeter played a particularly catchy 7 note riff, which was the signal for the crowd to lift their arms in the style of a Mexican wave whilst shouting ‘Olé!’

We were mesmerised by the pied piper qualities of the drummer and trumpet player – they had everyone eating out of their very musical hands, within 10 minutes! It was a shame when they played their last number but they had certainly warmed up the crowd.

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There was a short break for us all to enjoy cheese followed by ice cream and then coffee to finish. Then the wandering musicians returned, having been transformed from their funny fancy dress costumes into glamorous white outfits, as the main stage was lit and their performance continued. It took only seconds for everyone to be lured towards the stage and dance the night away, with the dance floor still as full when we decided to call it a night at around 1:30 a.m.

The Morning After

I woke up the following morning and began to smile as I remembered the Fete as if it had been some kind of surreal dream, although my mildly sore throat did bring me back to reality – did I really shout Olé that many times?

The whole evening was really special as it combined a simple yet tasty meal, in a wonderful setting, amongst lovely people, who made us very welcome.

So the next time you are driving through a sleepy French village don’t let that tranquility fool you – they are probably just recovering from a celebration the night before!

French Holiday Rental: life’s a beach near Bijou Barn

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It’s a bit wierd having our holiday rental, Bijou Barn in central South West France, yet only being 6 km from a beach. Yes, that’s right, only 6 kms from golden sands beside a turquoise lake where you can swim over the watchful eye of a life guard, during the months of July and August.

There are BBQs so you can cook your own food then enjoy it at a picnic table near the lake. If you prefer, there is also a small restaurant and bar with a terrace overlooking the water where you can relax and enjoy the view.

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Aquazone – new this year!

We are very excited to let you know that this year on the water there is a ‘Total Wipeout’ style floating inflatable fun zone, which looks amazing!

Jump, climb, slide and splash in this fantastic area of trampolines, climbing staircases, slides and tricky balancing beams. See if you can beat the obstacles.

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Opening Hours:

Every day between 27.06.16 and 31.08.16 from 1000 ’til 1900.

On offer to anyone over 7 years. Life vests/ buoyancy aids are available.

Prices

6 euros from 1000 – 1200
8 euros from 1200 – 1900

For more information telephone 06 21 08 07 25

Click here to learn more about what there is to see and do in the Lot region