Sawday’s at home: in France

France is where the Sawday’s story began, so we’ve always felt more at home there than anywhere else. While we have to wait a little while longer before we can visit again, we’re conjuring its unique flavours, fragrances and feelings with tips from our owners, the team and Alastair himself.

Here are a few suggestions for cooking, reading and virtually touring that’ll whet your appetite for a return to the wine and sunshine of France.


Recreate the flavours

If you close your eyes and think of France, it’s as likely that a taste comes to mind as a sight or sound. These recipes from our owners will hopefully do the reverse, using classic French flavours to take you back to the country you’re missing.

Rachel’s tarte aux figues

Rachel from Clos Mirabel shares her famous gluten-free tart recipe, which she says should be enjoyed with a big dose of cream or ice cream and a glass of Jurançon.

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Homemade bread and Camembert

Bread and Camembert are a staple of the French diet, and Rebecca from Château de la Ruche shows us how the locals do it. Here she shares her recipe for the perfect mid-afternoon or early dinner snack.

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Crème brûlée

David shares a much-loved dessert recipe from his B&B, The Old Farm Of Amfreville. Nothing beats a delicious, creamy and smooth crème brûlée, does it?

View the recipe >

Learn from the best

If simply eating and loving French food isn’t enough for you, then try mastering it. Our owners bring you online cook-alongs and courses on wine and cheese, to help you savour every bite even more.

The ultimate cheese pairing guide

Melanie and Hywel love serving delicious local cheese and wine to guests at their Loire manor. They’ve kindly shared their knowledge and put together a guide to pairing cheeses at home.

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Wine from the regions

Micaela and Sue run their idyllic B&B on a former Saumur wine estate that dates back to 1706. They share their wealth of knowledge on the different wine regions in France, so you can find some of your favourites.

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Learn how to taste wine

Caro & Seán from Château Feely share their extensive knowledge on tasting wine. They are the proud owners of a wonderful organic and bio-dynamic vineyard in the Dordogne. In this eight-part video, you will learn how to taste and get the most out of your wine.

Get learning >

Live cook-alongs

La Course is part of the Millésime Collection, which is currently running live cook-alongs on their Instagram. You can learn how to cook some of the hotel’s much-loved recipes from various guest chefs. We’re definitely eyeing up their tart…

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A little escapism…

A few things to help you travel from your armchair. Read evocative stories of France, take a virtual tour of the Musée d’Orsay and plot your next trip with our collection of great French gardens.

Tales from France

Carolyn from Manoir La Gozinière shares an extract from her book Lost and Found with us. In it, she recalls renovating their chateau and tells stories of the lives of former occupants.

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Alastair Sawday: back to the France I fell in love with

Back in 1994, Alastair Sawday visited Burgundy in search of Bed & Breakfasts to fill his new “Special Places” book. France was Alastair’s first love, and 18 years later he returned to find out whether the French B&B has come of age.

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Explore one of Paris’ greatest museums

The Musée d’Orsay holds the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works in the world. Its virtual tour includes an online exhibition charting the history of the building as well as a 360-degree view of the magnificent exterior.

Start exploring >

Inspiring French gardens

France has some of Europe’s most beautiful gardens. We round up what makes a classic French garden from our own collection of places to stay, to inspire you to get your green fingers out at home.

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Our favourite travel stories

A road trip through Provence

France expert Carolyn Boyd is no stranger to Provence. So when we asked her to send through her best tips for a visit, it was no surprise that she sent back a wonderful road trip through Provence’s best gems.

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Jo Tinsley explores untamed Jura in France

Last summer, travel writer Jo Tinsley road-tripped through Jura, a relatively unknown region in France. There she discovered remote lakes, medieval villages and thriving wildlife.

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Lois Pryce’s French 2CV adventure

We sent travel writer Lois Pryce on a road trip through the beautiful French countryside. Last time, she was in Italy in an old-school Fiat 500, this time she’s in a vintage Citroen 2CV.

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