Château Pech-Céleyran

 
During our holiday in the South of France last summer, we discovered a wine growing estate with a particularly interesting history: the Château Pech-Céleyran. Not only has this gorgeous domain been in the hands of the Saint-Exupéry family for five generations but also the grandfather of famous painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was once the lord of Céleyran!

Château Pech-Céleyran is situated in La Clape, an area of the Languedoc region close to the Corbières. The size of the whole estate is 145 hectares, 94 of them being dedicated to vine. The owners grow Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan to produce their red wines and Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache blanc for the whites. The „Cers“ and the „Marin“ winds take turns to blow over the vineyards, bringing the fragrances of the garrigue with them, an integrant part of the aroma of the wines.

When we arrived, the family dog greeted us before we entered an impressive wine cellar. Amidst huge wood barrels, a permanent exhibition about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, best known for his book “The Little Prince”, is on display. A compelling read before starting with the wine tasting. We learned all about the domain production and left with a nice selection of bottles! There is a little corner selling handmade goodies and house items too. We can really recommend the scrumptious caramel au beurre salé…

If you fancy a stay at Château Pech-Céleyran , there are several B&B rooms and gites to choose from. The estate is of course the perfect location to organise a wedding, a seminar or a party for a special occasion. The full gallery can be viewed on Of Lens And Pen.

The owners also organise events such as concerts, exhibitions and a Christmas market. As for the wonderful Mediterranean coast, the Cathar castles, the old town of Carcassonne and the rugged landscape of La Clape, they are just waiting for you to pay them a visit…

Château Pech-Céleyran - La Clape - South of France

Durant nos vacances dans le Sud de la France l’été dernier, nous avons découvert un domaine viticole possédant une histoire particulièrement intéressante : le Château Pech-Céleyran. Ce domaine est non seulement entre les mains de la famille Saint-Exupéry depuis cinq générations, mais le grand-père du célèbre peintre Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec fut aussi le seigneur de Céleyran !

Le Château Pech-Céleyran est situé dans La Clape, qui fait partie du Languedoc, région proche des Corbières. La taille complète du domaine est de 145 hectares, dont 94 sont dédiés à la vigne. Les cépages Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre et Carignan sont utilisés pour la production de vin rouge et pour les blancs, les cépages Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne et Grenache blanc. Les vents „Cers“ et „Marin“ soufflent en alternance sur les vignobles, amenant avec eux les parfums de la garrigue, qui se retrouvent dans l’arôme des vins.

A notre arrivée, nous avons été accueillis par le chien de la famille, avant de d’entrer dans l’impressionnant chai. Parmi les immenses tonneaux, une exposition permanente sur Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, l’auteur du “Petit Prince”, offre une lecture captivante. Durant la dégustation des vins, nous avons appris les détails de la production vinicole et nous sommes repartis avec une jolie sélection de bouteilles ! Une mini-boutique propose également des produits faits maison et des objets de décoration. Le délicieux caramel au beurre salé est vivement recommandé…

Si vous désirez séjourner au Château Pech-Céleyran , vous aurez le choix entre plusieurs chambres d’hôtes et gîtes. La propriété est bien entendu idéale pour y organiser un mariage, un séminaire ou pour y célébrer une occasion particulière. La galerie photos complète est à découvrir sur Of Lens And Pen.

Les propriétaires organisent aussi des manifestations tels que concerts, expositions et un marché de Noël. Quant à la magnifique côte Méditerranéenne, les châteaux Cathares, la cité de Carcassonne et les paysages sauvages de La Clape, ils attendent votre visite avec impatience…
 
 
Château Pech-Céleyran - La Clape - South of FranceChâteau Pech-Céleyran - La Clape - South of FranceChâteau Pech-Céleyran - La Clape - South of France
 
 
 
 

A Beginner’s Travel Guide To Thailand

 
Thinking of heading to Thailand this year? If not, you should perhaps consider it. It is such a diverse and unique country, you will find something that intrigues and grabs you there no matter what your personal tastes and interests are. In addition, it is quite a cheap destination, which probably explain why so many students and backpackers head there. As the Thai culture is quite different to our Western ways, travellers might get nervous before they head out to the country. This beginner’s guide to Thailand should help you find your feet once you are out there.
 
 
Buddhist Monks Procession Bangkok Thailand

Photo Source

 
 
Make A Plan

As with travelling to any country, it is a good idea to make a plan before you leave home. That way, you can figure out what you want to see and do before you arrive. If you have not decided this once you land, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by all your options and could end up missing out on some important parts. Before you get there, think whether you want to backpack around, enjoy a beach holiday or volunteer in Thailand. A concrete plan can also help you reduce your nerves, as you will have definite places to go to and things to do once you arrive.
 
 
Think About The Climate

You do not want your whole trip to Thailand ruined by the weather! As the climate is tropical, you will have to expect that some months are going to be sweltering. If you know that you cannot cope with excessive heat, do not plan a trip between March and May, as these are the hottest months. You should also bear in mind that the rainy season is from May until October. Even though there are often a lot of rain showers during this season, this is still the most popular season for travellers and tourists. Just remember to pack your umbrella!
 
 
Safety

Thailand is a generally safe country. However, it has gained a bit of a reputation for being unsafe because of a few isolated cases that have hit the headlines. You will be happy to hear that such troublesome incidents are, as a matter of fact, few and far between. If you use common sense, you should not have much to worry about. Make sure you do not take any valuables out with you when you are sightseeing. Especially if you go to a tourist hotspot, as these are were many pickpockets operate. You might also consider not drinking too much on nights out. Alcohol is very cheap in Thailand, which can be tempting. It is always a good idea to be in your right senses and able to avoid decisions that could put your health and safety at risk.
 
 
Thailand is a fantastic destination for this year’s travel adventures. Hopefully this guide will help you enjoy your entire time there!
 
 
 
 
Disclosure: This post has been contributed.
 
 
 
 

Happy New Year!

 
For my first post of 2017, I would like to convey to all my readers the usual good wishes for a healthy, happy and successful new year. More specifically, I hope that the next twelve months will bring you defining moments to take you closer to your dreams, whatever they may be.

I decided against writing a post about my goals this time. Mainly, I want to build on the ones I have set my heart onto in recent years and our stay in the South of France a the end of December gave me the opportunity to reflect on different, untried angles to achieve them. I also realised that a change of attitude was in order. I may later on share with you on that chain of thoughts!

For now, let’s go back in time… 2016 was a funny year, one when I often felt held back, and this applied to my blog too. Having gone to Italy last July, it took me until November to finally tell you about it. Today, I am indeed taking you to France but it will be all summery and bright. As always, the whole gallery is available on Of Lens And Pen, should you need a higher dose of sun and colours – with a hint of black and white!

I would love to hear about what you got up to during the festive season and your objectives for 2017. Do tell me!
 

 

Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen

 
 
 
 

Back To My Roots

 
I had not been back for nine years. My Grandmother’s native village in Piedmont. A small place built halfway up a mountain, with narrow, cobbled streets and stone houses. A short drive from beautiful Lago Maggiore and its Borromean Islands.

I spent a lovely “generation” holiday week there in the summer with my Mum, Auntie, sister and my two daughters. Cute Doggy was the only male representative! 😉 We went for walks around the village, to the nearby forest and to the “summer” hamlet, an hour’s hike up the mountain. We caught a boat to cross the lake and visited a market on the other side. As other family members were present at the same time, we had lovely meals together. Simple moments but lasting memories.

On a walk alone with the dog, I realised how much I had missed Italy. Or should I say my roots? I have always felt more Italian than Swiss. That family spirit, the love of people and spending time together with relatives and friends, often around the dinner table. I came back feeling re-energised.

I have to go back. Soon.
 
Piedmont - Italy - Church
Piedmont - Italy - Nautre
Piedmont - Italy -  Valley with river
Piedmont - Italy - Roman stone bridge
Piedmont - Italy - Religious painting
Piedmont - Italy - Oratory
 
Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen