Welcome to your walking and wine tasting holiday
here in the south of France!
We wish you a very warm welcome and hope that you will have a hugely relaxing, inspiring and motivating time with us.
Let’s start with a few general guidelines to make sure you do not miss out on any of the opportunities on offer:
You can walk and sit just about anywhere you like, except – and this is a very big except – inside the horses’ paddocks. You are very welcome to sit just outside, on the other side of the fence. Be aware that all the fences carry a strong electric current, it is best not to touch the wires. If the horses come over to say hello, it is fine to touch them, but please do not feed them anything but apples and carrots and never go into a paddock on your own.Interacting with horses always carries a certain risk. To minimise this risk, please read our Safety Precautions Page very carefully, before you go anywhere near the horses.
I would appreciate it if you would switch your phone off/put in on in-flight mode when you are near the horses and during meals. The rest of time the choice is yours – wifi is available free of charge in all rooms and I will give you the password on arrival. Before you leave for the first day’s walking, please download the map below onto your phone. Just zoom in until you find Eauze, Nogaro and Aire-sur-Adour and then you can zoom in further during your walk to make sure you are still on the right path.
Guidelines discussed, we can now get down to the walking and wine tasting part of your holiday.
Walking the Camino de Santiago
You can meet and talk to other walkers of the Camino here:
Film and television
-The Naked Pilgrim (2003) documents the journey of art critic and journalist Brian Sewell to Santiago de Compostela for the UK’s Channel Five. Travelling by car along the French route, he visited many towns and cities on the way including Paris, Chartres, Roncesvalles, Burgos, Leon and Frómista. Sewell, a lapsed Catholic, was moved by the stories of other pilgrims and by the sights he saw. The series climaxed with Sewell’s emotional response to the Mass at Compostela.
-The Way of St. James was the central feature of the film Saint Jacques… La Mecque (2005) directed by Coline Serreau.
-In The Way (2010), written and directed by Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen learns that his son (Estevez) has died early along the route and takes up the pilgrimage in order to complete it on the son’s behalf. The film was presented at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010, and premiered in Santiago in November 2010.
-On his PBS travel Europe television series, Rick Steves covers Northern Spain and the Camino de Santiago in series 6. The cited reference contains information about this episode and resources for the trip, as well as blog posts and user comments.
-In 2013, Simon Reeve presented the “Pilgrimage” series on BBC2, in which he followed various pilgrimage routes across Europe including the Camino de Santiago in episode 2.
Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage (1987)
Jack Hitt, Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain (1994)
Hape Kerkeling, I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago (2009), on his 2001 voyage. It is the best-selling German-language non-fiction book since Gods, Graves and Scholars (1949).
Hemingway, Ernest, “The Sun Also Rises” (1926). Jake’s journey from France to the fiesta of San Fermin is an undertaking of the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela.
David Lodge, Therapy (1995)
Shirley Maclaine, The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit (2001)
James Michener, Iberia (1968), contains one chapter about the Camino de Santiago.
Cees Nooteboom, Roads to Santiago (1996, English edition)
Conrad Rudolph, Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago de Compostela (2004)
Walter Starkie, The Road to Santiago (1957) John Murray, reprinted 2003.
What you need to take with you on your walks
- Your rucksack
- Your lunch (crucially important, don’t leave the farm without it!)
- Your water bottle filled up with water
- Your hat, sunglasses, suntanning lotion and insect repellant
- Your mobile phone with your downloaded map
- Our phone number
- Your walking boots
- A camera
- Your raincoat (if rain is predicted (best weather site around here is meteociel.fr)
- A small first aid kit with the bare essentials especially plasters in case you develop blisters
- a few euros in case you want to buy a drink or some fruit from the market in Barcelone.
Day 1: Guests Arrive from 18h00 onwards and have time to explore the immediate surroundings before the first evening’s welcome dinner.
Day 2: On the first walking day, guests walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostella from EAUZE to MANCIET. This section is about 10 km (6 miles) long and takes about 2,5 – 3 hours to walk.
The walk meanders through woods, vineyards, meadows, orchards and sunflower fields from the Roman and cathedral city of Eauze towards Manciet, a small market town with a beautifully preserved lavoir. The walk runs past an ancient church that once belonged to the Order of the Knights of Malta, Saint Claire de l’hopital de Crevancères – it is worth a detour. A bit further you will come across an 18th-century milestone with a Maltese cross.
Day 3: On the second walking day, guests walk from MANCIET to NOGARO. The route continues past an ancient church that once belonged to the Order of the Knights of Malta and the 18th-century milestone with a Maltese cross to Nogaro or Nogarium, which means ‘a place planted with walnut trees.’
This small town was established in the 11th century and has a fine Romanesque church. The walk takes about 2,5-3 hours to walk and is about 10km (6 miles.)
Day 4: The third day’s walk is from NOGARO to AIRE SUR ADOUR (7+ hours.) The full walk is (28 km 17,4 miles) but you can opt for a shorter walk (23 km or 14.3 miles) if you prefer. The shorter walk takes 5 hours to walk. The walk is fairly flat: Nogaro is at 100m above sea level and Aire is at 80m above sea level. The path passes by several ancient farmhouses, along the vineyards towards Lanne-Soubiran and the onwards towards Barcelone-du-Gers, a small town adjacent to Aire.
From Barcelone the scenery changes, the vineyards give way to trees: oaks, pines and chestnuts until one finally arrives in the beautiful town of Aire-sur-Adour, on the mighty Adour river. There is a beautiful church in Aire-sur-Adour, St Quitterie, up the hill on the southern bank of the river. Just across the river, as you come into town, there is a small bistro called the Comptoir de l’Adour – this is where we will come and pick you up, just give us a call when you are ready.
Day 5: Leave after brunch.This morning, you can have a well-deserved lie-in, although I will lay out the breakfast things at 09h00. Your holiday ends at 11h00. Don’t forget to say good-bye to all the animonsters!
None of the walks/activities are mandatory. If you prefer to skip a walk/activity and just relax and read, you are more than welcome. The exact time we leave for the walk will depend on the weather. The hotter the day, the earlier we will leave.
None of these walks is particularly strenuous. There are no steep hills to clamber up nor deep valleys to scale down. The route is very well indicated. The walk is not guided, but if anything should go wrong, help is just a phone call away.
Tasting the wines of Gascony
One afternoon, we visit the local cellars.
- How to taste Wine – click on this link to find out how to make the most of this afternoon’s wine tasting.
- The Wines and Spirits of Gascony – click on this link to find out more about the wines of Gascony
Bookmark this page, because you might want to come back here frequently during your stay.