Although there are still few months to summer holidays, I find winter a perfect time to think of places you could possibly visit during your summer vacation. It doesn’t matter whether you are a wine lover or not, French wine countryside has a lot of beauty to be discovered and there are plenty of great places to stay in.
Escape to the grapes
Alastair Sawday’s French Vineyards Special Places to Stay is a guide through French B&Bs, châteaux and gîtes, most of them surrounded by vineyards, where you can spend amazing time and relax like never before.
The book includes a special introduction from the authors (entire series editor Alastair Sawday, and this part editor, Patrick Hilyer) with a clear explanation about the idea behind the series and some interesting notes about how they choose the places that you can find in the guide:
’It’s simple. There are no rules, no boxes to tick. We choose the places that we like and are fiercely subjective in our choices. We also recognise that one person’s idea of special is not necessarily someone else’s so there is a variety of places, and prices, in the book‘*.
The escape to the vineyards doesn’t have to be expensive. The guide presents something for all budgets: from ‘twin’ rooms, through several-persons gîtes, to exclusive apartments in famous chateaux.
So many to choose from…
Alastair Sawday’s French Vineyards Special Places to Stay is arranged by French wine regions, each of them being a separate chapter: starting with Alsace, Champagne and Burgundy & Beaujolais, through Loire, Bordeaux & South West, to Languedoc-Roussillon and Rhone Valley& Provence.
At the beginning of each chapter there is a short introduction to the adequate wine region. Further pages introduce B&Bs, châteaux and gîtes for renting (in total about eighty estates) within the region, including contact details and a little bit of history of the estate, information about the breakfast, activities available in the area, wines being produced in the estate and 3-4 pictures of the estate with its rooms and/or surroundings.
There is no estate/room-rating included though. While reading the guide you don’t necessarily find out whether the authors loved or just liked particular estate’s guest rooms. The description is informational rather than opinion-forming, and this is what I personally prefer if it comes to that type of guide books. I don’t think it is a bad feature, although if you are a ‘star –person’ then you might be slightly disappointed ;)
Alastair Sawday’s French Vineyards; Special Places to Stay is a good quality book made from matt, quality ecological paper. With its about 220 pages it is quite heavy, but it is not a book to take with you on a journey.
The fonts are big enough and the arrangement of the elements on the page makes it very easy and comfortable to read.
Where to buy Alastair Sawday’s French Vineyards; Special Places to Stay.
Look for it in your nearest bookstore or order online. At the moment of creating this review, the book (ISBN 978-1-906136-26-0) is available in online bookstores (direct links listed below):
(1) Amazon.co.uk – the price varies £20-£25
(2) Amazon.com – the price varies $25- $30