The Sawday's Story


The story of how Sawday’s began
explains a lot.

More than three decades ago, Alastair Sawday was a tour guide in France, exploring the country and getting to know its secrets and its characters.

Inspired by meetings with old winemakers, Parisian ladies with a taste for Scottish sword dancing and multi-tasking fishwives, he turned his scruffy notes on unusual French places to stay into a simply designed book. The idea was that people could avoid standardised, soulless accommodation and find these amazing things for themselves.

Everything that followed sprang from that simple purpose and over 30 years on, it’s still what we do.

We meet people, we find special places and we share them with everyone. We’re looking for something that breaks the bland mould from which so much accommodation seems to be printed.


Our carefully-curated guides and website are just a slightly neater, less wine-stained version of those original notes. This time, with maps that haven’t been hand cut and had paper dots stuck on them.

We still look for authenticity, warmth and character, places that embody the slow life. We find places where hours of love have been poured into the tiniest detail, creating simple, personal joys and making something truly special. 

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