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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Country Travel Life Pie – Part Two




The French Country Travel Life Pie – Part Two – may be best appreciated by first thrilling to PART ONE.

He was smiling. Not a polite but slightly apprehensive smile. But a totally genuine and relaxed one.  As if I was an old pal who had unexpectedly dropped by.

Before I could even finish my brief “here’s why I’m knocking on your door on a dark rainy night’ rant, Jean ushered me in.

His equally hospitable wife, Chantal didn’t ask the obvious question. (That being “Have you eaten?”) but immediately seated me at the dinner table and began reheating the remains. While Jean poured me a very welcome glass of his wine. And we got to know each other.

I was suprised to learn, in contrast to most vinerons, that both Jean and Chantal were Agicultural Engineers. This education and attitude was reflected in the International nature of the books and newspapers I saw in their living room. Chantal corresponded with several people in Eastern Europe, helping them learn French. (Her origin is Polish) and Jean frequently hosted students and inspiring winos from lands even more exotic than mine. Bottom line: They lived in the country. But were plugged into the World and helping people.

Morning’s light confirmed that “Domain Tatin” was not your classic “Little Farm on the Prairie.” Like most wine makers, Jean and Chantal are on the “wine tourism” trail. And so have a Gite.


This for me, was the mother of all Gites. Seperate from their house, but at right angles to it, the Gite comprises a main floor/living room(bigger than their own) with a fireplace, plus a second floor with (didn’t count ’em) 5 or 6 rooms each with two beds.

Below this, a bar/tasting room, which opens up onto a “salle de reception.” (think school cafeteria.) With long retangular tables at the ready for whatever wine-related occasion.

In addition to tourism and their vineyards, the Tatins also have some-non wine crops. All of this necessitating a permanent staff of 5 or 6 people. To maximize time and efforts, Jean has as 3 or 4 “beat up old cars” with keys always in the ignition. So, when every someone needs to get from a to b, they just hop in the nearest “efficient transportation.”

As you would expect from modern farmer, Jean is plugged into the tech marvels that (sometimes) make life easier. Once, riding with him as he organized workers on his iphone while driving, I asked him what life was like before digital electonics. Jean replied: (in perfect english, tho’ he professes not to speak it) “It was a different world.”

Jean and Chantal have three daughters: The (non-identical) twins : Elise and Joanna, and Maroussia , the youngest. She is the only one active in the family business. And will eventually be the “Chef” of Domaines Tatin. Elise is an incredible painter and art professor. Joanna, inheriting her Mother’s talent, is an equally incredible musician (accordian) and vocalist.

But wait – there’s more! Elise and Joanna speak three languages. And Maroussia four. International enough for ya?

The night before my departure, after my “overnite” at Chez Tatin had been mutually extended several days, Jean enquired about my route. He then phoned a fellow wino 50kms (a days ride) down the road, who was also up for a visit from the exotic stranger from the far away lands.

You’re beginning to see why this guy is such a treasure. Aren’t you?

Part Three – Next Time


What are ya thinkin’?

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10 Responses to “French Country Travel Life Pie – Part Two”

  1. daniel murph says:

    excellent follow up! sounds like you’ve stumbled onto another treasure!

  2. tamara dennis says:

    exactly daniel..dont you know by now that’s what DA BG does?

  3. rachel forfait says:

    definitely not what you’d expect from the typical french farm family!

  4. barton stevers says:

    rachel..isn’t that what travel is all about?…leaving your expectations behind?

  5. rachel forfait says:

    absolutely baron….couldn’t have said it better myself …and now that you have…don’t have to! (lol)

  6. gail reimer says:

    i agree with you about the gite..truly ” a mother!”

  7. anston barr says:

    super post! really get the family atmosphere from the opening photo!

  8. alice mortenson says:

    you have the most interesting adventures! Thanks for sharing with the less fortunate!

  9. dani ashford says:

    you said it best (and first!) alice…oh to live the life of DA BG!

  10. fabian gonzalez says:

    it’s very nice this post to tell the story of your experience with these fine people. so happy to hear of this and hope you give us more.

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