Literary Festival at St. Clémentin

Chrys Salt

Chrys is appearing at the St. Clémentin Bi-Lingual Festival in the Salle des fétes, Friday August 29th, 10.30-11.15

This Week we have had the pleasure of Chrys Salt staying with us in one of our gites with her partner Richard.

Chrys is a well known author, poet and playwright  and directs in the theatre.  Her work has appeared in many anthologies and has been performed at the BBC, across the UK and in the USA, Canada, France, Germany and Finland.  It has been translated into French, Arabic and is currently being translated into Hebrew.

Her poem “Weaver of Grass” was selected as one of the best Scottish poems of 2012.  Her anthology of the same title was shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award and she has been awarded a bursary by “Creative Scotland”  to finish her next collection.  This year she has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

We wish Chrys a very successful event on Friday.

Sheila and Brian


Aperitifs on Arrival in the Loire

Herbs at our Gites

Sage, variegated sage, basil, thyme, savory and lemon mint in our herb garden

When our Loire Gite and Wine Tour Guests arrive here at Le Clos des Guyons we always do extensive aperitifs in the courtyard or on the wooden decked terrace around the pool area. Always accompanied by a bottle or two of the region’s famous sparkling wine, one of the talking points is always the “Cochonaille d’Anjou”.  A bit of a specialty of our region although I’m sure it exists in other French regions too.  It can be either a hot pork dish or, for an aperitif, a plate of saucisson, local rillauds (an Anjou speciallity, a sort of caramellised belly pork), and any other pork related items although we often use a lamb saucisson as well.  How the dish is presented is, of course, entirely at the creators discretion and here at Le Clos des Guyons it gives us an opportunity to use tomatoes and herbs straight from the garden!





Another Great Festival for our Gite Guests to Enjoy.

Gites in the Loire Valley

Brazilian dancers in the Rue St. Nicholas in Saumur

There are so many Fetes here in the Loire Valley in Summer.  More than enough to keep our gite guests at Le Clos des Guyons happy!

One which we have forgotten to mention is the annual Fete of Rue St Nicholas in Saumur, with consists of two days of  musical entertainment with many musicians, dancers singers and oh yes,  Brian’s favourite, (although it does tend to interfere with his football watching), those Brazilian dancers again (sadly not so much to dance about for Brazil anymore but we all enjoyed our evenings viewing the World Cup, both in Saumur and in our village of Le Puy Notre Dame)!

So what could be better than visiting one of the chic restaurants in the little rue (as we did) .. eating … or sitting outside on the terraces of one of the many bars with your favourite glass of Saumur wine just watching the festivities and the world go by?!  Great – and we are not complaining!!

It’s congratulations to the The Festival Committee “Saint Nicolas” for their organisation – they really do a fantastic job for everyone.


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Before the Grand Prix, Le Puy Notre Dame

Too many Loire Village Festivals?

On Monday morning I went to the village bar, (Chez Sonia), as normal for my morning coffee.  I sat outside in the morning sunshine with a group of villagers who, after all the ‘bonjours’ and handshakes, sat quietly without the normal animated chatter.  Finally Jean-Yves, the chef in the Bouchon Ponot muttered, “C’est bien le calme”  which triggered nods of heads and many Oui, Oui, Oui’s.  “C’est aussi bien retrouver notre village” said Stephane who had been the mainstay in organizing  much of the festivities which we have had in the village over the past few weeks.

Grand Prix Retro, Le Puy Notre Dame

Pre 1935 Classic Cars racing around Le Puy Notre Dame on the annual festival at the end of July.

Basically what was happening was a sort of stunned reaction to a series of fêtes which really started with Jean-Yves’ birthday party in June, went on through to the first “Fête de la Musique”, then into the 18th Grand Prix Retro Weekend – the first “les Grandes Tablées du Regalade”, when the rue du Collégiale was closed and filled with tables and chairs in the road, music, wine and evening meals served for around 400 people with several hundred being refused!  The next day was the “Nocturne” when a couple of hundred classic cars and motorbikes raced around the village in the evening. This was followed by a meal in the Salle de Fête for the participants and then, here at Le Clos des Guyons, we do a BBQ/meal for around 30 people being gite guests, friends and neighbours on Sunday, the day of the “Grand Prix” proper.  As a consequence of all this, people were pretty shattered.  Jean-Yves had around nine hours sleep over three days not helped by constant temperatures of over 30°C and even hotter in that kitchen!

Don’t get me wrong ………….. everyone had a thoroughly great time and all the Fêtes were an overwhelmingly great success.  But, to create the great atmosphere in Le Puy Notre Dame or “l’ambiance Ponot” as it is known locally, it’s not easy and there is an incredible amount of organisation and work which goes on behind the scenes.

BBQ at Gites in the Loire Valley

BBQ held on the Sunday of the Grand Prix Retro here at Le Clos des Guyons for around 30 friends including gite guests and neighbours. Here we all are enjoying sunshine food and Saumur wines.This year, after previous years of boiling in the hot sun, we decided to hold it in one of the old barns. Why it has taken us 10 years to do this I do not know!!

I can’t do as much as I like to help because we have our own gite and wine tour guests to look after but we owe a great debt of gratitude to all those villagers who freely give their time and expertise to making our village such an attractive place to visit.

Bravo to all!

And now to and join our guests at Le Clos des Guyons for some relaxation!!



Gite Holidays in the Loire Valley

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