Meeting French locals – our Marketing and PR Manager’s journey through South West France continued

Our Marketing and PR Manager Sally’s journey through South West France continued…

After thinking IDSC00605 could never eat again from three days of baking, I managed to polish off another pain au chocolat, a pain au raisin and a croissant before we headed off to our next destination – horse riding and wine tasting.DSC00585

Summer was still very present in South West France so we took our time travelling south – stopping at quaint villages, Romanesque churches and vibrant village markets.

When we finally arrived at our new holiday spot we were hit by the peacefulness of the region. Surrounded with vineyards, drenched in afternoon sun and with the Pyrenées mountains in the distance, it was a stunning spot and we immediately wished we could stay longer.

Our hosts Margaretha and Charles have been running holidays here for three years. Margaretha is originally from South Africa but gew up in France. She has worked all over the world as a doctor but has always had horses.

“I can’t sleep well at night unless I know the horses are nearby,” she said.

Charles was an accountant in London before meeting Margaretha at a wedding in Scotland and decided to pack it in and move to France.

“I wake up every day aDSC00616nd have to pinch myself to realise this is actually my life,” he said.

Charles has always been involved in the wine business and shares his passion with visiting guests on excursions to local vineyards and wine tasting. Their local wine, Madiran, is famous for it’s health benefits, and is an element Margaretha incorporates into her walking, weight loss and wine tasting holiday.

We didn’t have long with Margaretha and Charles but they made us feel instantly at home. Introducing us to the horses and household pets, recommending great walking spots and filling us up with more French delicacies and treats.

After an afternoon of lying in the sun feeding grass to Bella and Beau, we headed to the local village with Margaretha and Charles to get a glimse into “real French life“.

As soon as we arrived we were blown away to find the tiny village pub absolutely thriving, and even more so when everyone greeted us like old friends despite our terrible attempts at French.

After a night of wine tasting, cheese and bread and dancing  Kate and I decided we’d happily give up the big city life and start afresh in a French village.DSC00635

We’d have loved to go out and explore the area by horseback but alas the next morning we had to bid our new hosts farewell. Needless to say we’ll be taking up Charle’s and Margaretha’s offer to visit again.

Back at the airport we parted ways with Sat-Nav Daniel, polished off another croissant (or two), and headed back to chilly London.

Heading out for the week in France, I knew I would enjoy the holiday of cooking and wine tasting – who wouldn’t? But it turned into an experience I’ll never forget. From mastering new baking skills, relaxing over three course dinners, sampling local wine, meeting local producers and making fantastic new friends, it offered so much more than I had anticipated.

But the biggest surprise came when we got home. Instead of the usual post holiday blues, I felt excited. Excited to try out my new baking skills, excited to tell my friends, family and the occasional unsuspecting stranger everything I’d learnt, and excited to be lucky enough to work in a place that shares these experiences with people all over the world. You might think I’m biased, but the truth is simple – I just have a fantastic job!