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From Dubai to Château de Champlong in the Roannais by Brian Franklin

Here at Purefrancenow we always take the chance to emphasise great experiences we have had, especially those we have had with very good friends. It is particularly the case in this instance when they are friends who have travelled all the way from Dubai to visit us here in the Roannais as part of a 2 week French sojourn.

Not ones for missing an opportunity, we booked into Château de Champlong for a delightful evening dinner. All the better, because our close friends, Dale and Clare Thompson, were treating us to the whole soiree as a special belated birthday treat for me. What a great idea!

Good company, good food, good wine, in a great environment. It doesn’t get much better than that! And the anticipated occasion did not disappoint.

Château de Champlong, as most places, always look their best on a beautiful, warm, sunny evening. As we drove up the driveway, the chateau and its grounds looked stunning in the evening sunlight.

Dale and Clare had heard about us singing the praises of Olivier and Véronique Boizet’s Chateau restaurant and 4-star hotel many times before. They wanted to experience it and to find out if it was all true. They weren’t  disappointed.

After our excellent meal we returned to the lounge and bar for digestifs, and to all our delights Olivier Boizet arrived and asked if we would like to visit his ancient wine cave beneath the château for another after-dinner drink. We couldn’t say no to this one!

It was a fascinating place, and a privilege to be invited into the inner sanctum of the château’s high quality wine collection.

It was a great pleasure and lots of fun for all of us. We all went home very happy!!

Very many thanks to Dale and Clare!

For our evening meal we had decided on the ‘Saveurs Festives’ menu with 2 services and wine selected for each course by Champlong’s sommelier. A Perfect combination of flavours!

Château de Champlong


Le Cuvage Story: ‘The Finishing Touches’ by Brian Franklin

One of the salient reasons our Le Cuvage project progressed with such confidence and competence was the planning. We employed a French quantity surveyor, along with an independent project assessor, conducteur/ driver, as our French friends called him.

Before we moved a single lump of earth or hacked into any structure, we commissioned a comprehensive build programme assessment, and cost estimate by a specialist building economiste. He organised devis (quotations) from a minimum of three different companies before making any recommendations and final selections.

The companies were assessed on experience, quality, reputation and approach, as well as price.

This pre-estimate and budget confirmation covered all the key areas of build including structural works, carpentry, windows and doors, heating and electrics, plumbing, partitioning, plastering, and roofing, etc. The final document was very detailed and professionally put together – in fact, a veritable tombe!

Once decisions were made and contractors chosen, a full critical path was developed for all the different stages of construction and installation.

This was then monitored and reported on every week, along with price control checks which measured contractor invoices against actual production and original quotations.

Any variations or additional work required would be assessed accordingly and quoted for approval by us before any work was commenced.

The initial cost projections for our share of the main works, including architect’s fees and agreed joint external works (but not kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, tiling, painting and decorating, and any other special requirements) was approximately £260,000 for our two dwellings (two-thirds of le Cuvage.

Once all the final plans, along with these initial estimates, were fully agreed between all parties then our project was started with a vengeance!

Read the full editorial plus all the previous ones at – Le Cuvage Story

Restaurant de la Loire in the Roannais

Well worth a lunchtime or evening dinner visit!

Cuisine gastronomique. Specialities: Charolais: Sirloin of beef with pepper sauce, variety of sea fish, fresh grenouilles (frogs). Closed Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday. Open Tuesday evening in July/August. Menus of 21€ (except Sunday and fete days) to 67€. Children’s menu 10.5€. Service mid-day to 1.30pm and evening to 9.30pm (summer), and 9.00pm (winter). Groups 24 max. Terrasse. Lawned play area for children. Take-away Service for business or private receptions (order 2 or 3 days in advance).

Highly recommended by Purefrancenow. We have visited this superb restaurant many times with family and friends over the last 12 years, and have never been disappointed. On warm sunny days during the summer, eating out in the garden, under the shade of beautiful trees, is simply a delight. The quality of their beef and ‘Grenouilles’ dishes are particularly excellent. Chef de Cuisine, Alain Rousseau, has a superb approach to presentation, and all is served in extremely convivial surroundings with style and panache. Brigitte Rousseau, ensures an efficient and friendly front of house reception, and a confident, guiding service through the menu. Pure pleasure!

The warmest Spring in France since 1900, and in the Roannais! features a report on the hottest Spring in France since 1900.

Here in the Roannais it has been sizzlingly hot and dry for over 2 months. Temperautures have reached over 30 degrees at ‘Le Cuvage’, Perreux, Roannais.

The recent rain has been very welcome for the regions water supplies, inlcuding the garden. Several of the nearby region’s departements had already imposed restrictions, and hosepipe bans.

We definitely want a hot sunny Summer, but with water, too!!

This French Life: The warmest Spring in France since 1900