Part 5 — Find Your France

Sophie Duncan
4 min readAug 6, 2021


Successful hospitality entrepreneurs Clive and Tanith came to what many claim to be the gastronomic heartland of French cuisine. Here they restored the beehives and the fishponds of a 12th century Cistertian monastry, and created a Michelin restaurant and hotel with a difference.

Continued from Part 4 — Regions of the Loire Valley

My informative tales are based on 22 years of restoring a sandstone Renaissance castle in the Aude department in South West, renovating; employing; fathoming administration; letting holiday homes; finding healthcare and and looking after people and animals.

In 2018 we appeared, with our castle at St Ferriol on Escape to the Chateau DIY. This popular English television programme about quirky Brits taking on the ruined and ruinous glamour of France’s aristocratic history led me to find out more about other foreigners in France taking on these enchanted money pits. Whilst researching it I had an opportunity to explore parts of France I had not, until then made the time for and this informative book was set in motion.

My hindsight will inform and entertain you and make understanding French ways fun. Be inspired you if you are in France already or thinking about it, and amused if you are simply curious about the folk that flock there.

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Clive and Tanith Cummings chose to take on their project in the Bourgogne (Burgundy) department’s Côte-d’Or, not a coast as the name suggests, but an east-facing limestone escarpment that produces some of France’s most expensive and reputable wines. The Abbaye de la Bussière is the easternmost location on the Channel 4 programme. Their village, La Bussière-sur-Ouche, is unspoiled by development. Lively, but you can still see the stars at night. The abbey is 30 minutes between Dijon (famed for its mustard) and Beaune (for wine), two names quite synonymous with France.

Côte-d’Or: Clive & Tanith

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