Every day, I think how grateful I am to have come to live with my parents in Marmande. They left Paris ten or so years ago to grow grapes on the family property and start making organic wines. Ten vintages later, I came to join them, and today I help them to sell our various wines. It’s a real joy.
You can’t put a price on living out amongst the vineyards. They’re such a treat for the eyes, and I’m rediscovering the rhythm of the seasons, which are soon forgotten when you live in the city. And then in Marmande the weather is lovely. It’s very straightforward: it’s nice all year!
Come evening, we’ll go for dinner in the marketplace at La Grange. Owned by Florent Saint-Marc, a high-end restaurant owner who cooks only with local produce, they even have our wines!
After tomatoes, our main pride and joy, there’s Garorock. It’s one of the biggest music festivals in France, and is held in late June every year, attracting 150,000 people to the town in just three days! I never miss it!
La Garonne, by bike or kayak
I enjoy the easy-living on the banks of the Garonne, where there are plenty of activities to enjoy. When I have time, I hop on my bike and go for a ride along the cycle path that runs beside the Garonne. In the shade of the plane trees, the path follows the old tow paths, and it’s a lovely ride that I often end with a stop in Halte, a delightfully rural restaurant in Lagruère with just two dishes on the menu.
You can also hire out little electric boats on the canal and go for a picnic on the water. Kids love it!
I also rediscover the Garonne every time I take out a kayak, and take the time to watch what goes on alongside the river. It’s a special time spent with friends, out in nature. In summer, when it gets hot, we’re fortunate to be able to go to Filhole beach, a stretch of pebbles where you can cool off in the water under the watchful eye of the lifeguards.
Galloping through the vineyards
What I love most of all is to ride a horse galloping through the vineyards. It fills me with a feeling of freedom you don’t get anywhere else. We’re lucky to have vineyards on a hilltop so when I’m out riding, I get great views of a unique landscape.
On Sundays, the Association de l'Etrier Beyssacais riding club organises horse rides through the region. It’s part of a wider network of riding clubs in Lot-et-Garonne, and sometimes we even ride as far as Bordeaux or Agen. There’s still so much for me to see!
Places to go
• La Halte, for an atypical setting on the banks of the Garonne canal: Lagruère jetty
• Les Canoës de la Garonne in Hure, to ride the river
• Émeraude Navigation in Fourques-sur-Garonne, to hire boats on the canal. No licence required
• La Grange, to sample local produce
• L’Association de l’Étrier beyssacais for horse rides around Marmande: 4 La Mazelle in Beyssac