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Château Saint Jacques Calon
Destination Southwestern France:
Heaven Among the Vineyards
Story and photos by Tom Weber

flowers, Chateau Saint Jacques Calon, Montagne, France

One of the highlights – and there were many – of my recent ten-day sojourn around parts of southwestern France was to finally meet a fellow blogger in the flesh.

Stephane Gabart

Not only did my petite famille gather for a week of joie de vivre, but our host during our entire get-together was Stéphane Gabart, the effervescent, bon vivant behind My French Heaven, a must-read blog for anyone who loves and craves all-things French – from cuisine, to design and fashion, to the laid-back lifestyle that is uniquely southwestern France.

signage for the Chateau Saint Jacques Calon, Montagne

the Chateau Saint Jacques Calon, Montagne

It was through Stéphane's blog that I found out about his family-owned and operated B&B, the Château Saint Jacques Calon, in Montagne, just across the hill and around the bend from picture-postcard perfect Saint-Émilion – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – in the Gironde department of the Aquitaine region.

appetizer at the Le Clos Mirande, Montagne: layered zucchini and eggplant, fresh cheese and smoked Serrano ham

roasted rack of lamb at the Amelia Canta,Saint-Emilion

lemon meringue pie at the Les Giron'dines, Saint-Emilion

You can come for the scenery, and you should, but, by all means, stay for the food and superlative wines. Thanks to Stéphane, he provided us with au courant dining suggestions and every night, and sometimes at midday, we experienced another layer of his personal French Heaven via knife, fork and wine glass. Mon Dieu!

baskets for sale, Libourne

spring onions at an open air market, Libourne

row of wine bottles for wine-tasting, Chateau des Laudes , Saint-Emilion

vineyard in Montagne

And for sightseeing, Stéphane was always "Jeannot-on-the-spot" with great recommendations on where to go and what to see: small villages, the nearby seacoast, open-air markets, wine tastings at some of the world-famous châteaux, guided tours, etc.

In the end, his mobile phone got quite a workout, as he always called ahead and booked our tours, wine tastings and restaurant table reservations.

hand-drawn maps from Stéphane Gabart

In addition, Stéphane's one heckuva cartographer, as he would draw up maps every morning filled with minute details to ensure that we did not get lost along the way. An in-car GPS doesn't always get you where you want to go, but there was no "recalculating" when following Stéphane's hand-drawn road maps.

wine from the Chateau Saint Jacques Calon, Montagne

The former estate home of an award-winning vineyard that continues to produce the château's namesake wine, the property was purchased separately by Stéphane's family some years ago.

vintage windmill at dusk, Montagne

two vintage windmills at the village of Montagne

The Gabarts may not own the vineyards, but guests can take a leisurely stroll through the endless rows of merlot and cabernet franc grapevines just beyond the property line up to the two well-preserved windmills. From there you can see why Stéphane calls his blog My French Heaven.

the author's group at the Château Saint Jacques Calon

duferent varieties of bread, Château Saint Jacques Calon

cheese and smoked ham

saltwater swimming pool and garden at the Château Saint Jacques Calon

Our small party of five-and-a-half had the "run of the house," as we occupied one wing of the château, the side facing the deep blue, saltwater swimming pool surrounded by a well-manicured garden. We enjoyed our daily petit dejeuner (breakfast) poolside, as well as a few picnic lunches at midday and our nightly aperitif before heading off for another dinner of regional haute cuisine.

The Château Saint Jacques Calon was the perfect base for our family reunion in the southwest of France. The rooms, with their comfortable four-poster beds, were clean, bright and spacious. And, the complimentary WIFI service made it easy for me to blog about my days and nights in this photogenic corner of France, either inside the air-conditioned room or outside around the pool.

flowers at poolside, Château Saint Jacques Calon

poolside, Château Saint Jacques Calon

For complete information on this tranquil B&B tucked quietly away in the heart of one of France's most prestigious wine-producing areas, go to their English-language website.

The Château Saint Jacques Calon – Stéphane's French Heaven, and now mine, too.

Related Articles:
Destination Southwestern France: Pyla-su-Mer; Destination Southwestern France: Libourne; Destination Southwestern France: Saint Émilion; Destination Southwestern France: Domme and Beynac-et-Cazenac; Destination Southwestern France: Sarlat-la-Canéda; Provence; The Magnificent Cities of Champagne and Lorraine




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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

* * * * *

Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

* * * *

Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

* * * *

I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: http://www.compagniadeicammini.it/en/. Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

Tom

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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal




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