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 between June 3 and July 22 or 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.

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

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!

Home Away French Holiday Rental: getting poolside summer ready

 

When my husband said we needed to get poolside summer ready, I was very excited at the prospect of exfoliating, buffing, bronzing, moisturising and nail painting ………and that was just the to do list for Graham – only joking! Graham was referring to the pool being summer ready and its transformation from winter hibernation to luxurious summer oasis.

Secluded pool area at Bijou Barn

When you winterise your pool, you basically put it to sleep for the cooler months by preparing the water, covering the pool and draining the pump. The vibrant poolside area becomes a much more somber place during the winter months, so when the day arrives to wake up the pool for the summer, it really is exciting. The dark green cover, grubby from the winter weather and rotten leaves is removed to reveal the water, which after a few days of ‘jiggery pokery’ looks crystal clear and inviting (the duck is optional!)

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Of course, that’s just the beginning as the whole pool area is then painstakingly pressure washed to brighten up the paving and decking. You can’t have a pool area without sun loungers so these are washed and positioned under the tree so there is somewhere comfortable to chill out between dips in the pool.

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Then it’s time to cut back and cultivate the poolside plants – I am never sure if I cut back the right plants and cultivate the others but so far so good. The vines over the terrace, the jasmine hedge, the mint, the lavender, the poppies and other wild flowers – the list is endless but hopefully the ensemble of colours and perfumes does work.

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The pool area is as important an area for us, as it is for our guests and we make it our business to ensure that it offers everything that you would want:-

  • Turquoise water that sparkles in the sunlight
  • Sun on the terrace for most of the day
  • Comfortable sun loungers to relax on
  • Secluded poolside area you just don’t want to leave

Read our blog about the joys of having a pool

At Bijou Barn, we hope that we manage to create a summer oasis that exceeds the wants and needs of our guests. The pool area is often viewed by many as a holiday ‘must have’ when searching for the perfect place to rent in France, so we always put in the effort to create a poolside retreat that our guests will love.

Click here to view availability and book.