If the thought of battling the crowds of frantic shoppers on busy UK high-streets isn’t putting you in the Festive spirit this year, imagine a time and place for winter-walks, roaring log fires and classic French seasonal cuisine…
These are just some of the benefits of a Christmas at La Durantie, where tucked away in the rural heart of South West France owners are at leisure to enjoy the numerous winter activities on their doorsteps, meaning staying busy at this time of year is easy.
For those really frosty days when the weather is too chilly to be outdoors, residents can enjoy one of the many social events provided by the chateau Country Club, such as cooking classes discovering rustic and warming French recipes, hands-on pottery classes or relaxing painting classes.
Alternatively, a luxurious day of rest and relaxation at the onsite Le Spa is the perfect way to spend a morning; enjoying the quality beauty treatments, warming the bones in the Laconium sauna or doing a few lengths in the heated swimming pool before lunch. Beautifully crisp walks can be enjoyed within the estate grounds, and longer walks can be taken in the scenic beauty of the nearby Gresigne forest.
Meanwhile just 50 minutes from La Durantie, Toulouse is the perfect winter tonic for culture vultures, who can wrap up warm and explore the Christmas stalls at the world class Victor Hugo food market, visit the Toulouse Lautrec Museum or take in a festive performance at the Theatre du Capitole.
For alpine enthusiasts the pistes of the French Pyrenees are closer than many realise, with Peyragudes ski resort a mere 90 minutes away, accessible for a weekend away, or just a day’s skiing if one wishes.
Known worldwide as a culinary heaven, France’s varied winter gastronomy does not fail to disappoint, with many hearty seasonal recipes on offer. With long traditions of hunting in the area, the colder months provide many opportunities to sample scrumptious local fare, including venison, wild boar, partridge, quail and goose. Meanwhile classic dishes such as cassoulet, a rich and rustic slow cooked casserole, and the festive ‘Buche de Noel’ (a luxurious chocolate and cream sponge dessert) are widely served.
As the champagne bottles are popped around the world to celebrate Christmas day, at La Durantie it’s also a good time to open the corks on some of the magnificent local Gaillac red wines – a wine growing area which is gaining increasing recognition world over. And before Christmas day itself, residents can take part in cosy wine tasting evenings at the Country Club, allowing them to stock up on all of their favourite vintages.