An excursion into the heartland of French Gastronomy — Michelin style

Sophie Duncan
5 min readJan 8, 2022

When our chateau appeared on the successful Channel 4 programme on British televison about Brits renovating castles in France, Escape to the Chateau DIY, I took the opportunity to learn more about the regions other chateaunauts had chosen. In Bourgogne France Comte Clive and Tanith had brought back the quality of the idyllic self sufficiency of a Cistertian monastery in Bourgone-Franche-comte….

Clive and Tanith Cummings were already experienced in the art of top drawer hospitality when they started looking for a property they could turn into a home and business in France.

Clive grew up watching his parent’s passion for history and hospitality turn Amberley castle in Arundel into a successful restaurant and hotel. When they came to France they were looking for a good business and an equally rewarding challenge.

Arundel castle in West Sussex, England

The Abbaye de la Bussiere near Dijon was an ideal location. Situated on the “Route de Grand Cru”, in the neighbourhood of vignerons creating the most expensive wines in the world.

Two hours south of Paris, two hours west of Geneva and equidistant between Calais and Provence, it is a a natural stopping point for epicureans on business or pleasure en route to and from their villas, boats or work on the Cote d’Azur and Provence.

The cultural and architectural legacy left by the Dukes of Burgundy in the Cote d’Or region of France was a bonus for Clive and Tanith who had been drawn to the region by it’s to outstanding reputation for gastronomy in the Bourgogne.

Clive and Tanith at home

The Abbey needed freshening up. A lot of freshening up. The sewage was going into the lake, lead and asbestos needed to be replaced. Clive had seen his parents “dig themselves into holes and dig themselves out of them” and they pulled up their shirt sleeves and brought the Abbey back to becoming a beautiful and cared for hub of the community.

Encouraged by Clive’s parents, Clive and Tanith were undaunted. To create the sumptuous experience of the abbey today, 1.3 million Euros was invested on amenities. Six hundred and fifty metres…

Sophie Duncan

I write about France, Oxford, dogs, love and more. Sign up for my newsletter today, find Beyond Paris - a Short Guide to Rural France on Amazon