From Cap Ferret to the Dordogne – Mimi and Gabriella’s visit to My French Heaven


As you all already know, my greatest pleasure in life is to share everything I love about France with my guests and my friends.

My dear friend Mimi (Chef Mimi Blog) came back to visit me last week and brought along one of her dearest friends, Gabriella.

All we did for a week was eat and drink and laugh. Oh we laughed so hard… When people ask me what I do for work, I just tell them I don’t actually work… They always look at me and smile (you know, the “oh poor thing” smile. The suckers think I’m kidding. The joke’s on them!

As always, I’ll share way too many pictures today. You know how hard it is for me to sort through them all. I should have written several posts about this, but… I’ll sort them by day with a few words between each gallery. I hope that works for you and makes it a bit easier to digest (“digest” get it?!)

Day 1: Saint Emilion and the Farmers’ Market. We visited my Butcher Michel to get some nice lean cuts for our lunch. I made green peppercorn steak and sautée potatoes to go with it. Michel loved to meet the ladies and Gabriella gave him a kiss on the cheek. He became as red as the piece of beef he had sold us… I gave the ladies a tour of St Emilion in the afternoon. We returned to the townhouse in the evening and had a light dinner with goose rillettes from the Dordogne on garlic bread, warm white asparagus with a walnut vinaigrette and Saint Felicien cheese on baguette.

Day 2: The coast (Cap Ferret and Arcachon). On our second day, we headed for the coast. We visited a traditional fishermen’s village and had seafood in a tiny restaurant overlooking the Arcachon Bay for lunch. We then spent the afternoon in Arcachon and climbed the highest dune in Europe (quite a workout). We spent the rest of the day having cocktails and delicious food on a terrace overlooking the ocean. The sunset that evening was breathtaking…


Days 3, 4 and 5 in the Dordogne. From a medieval village high up on a hill called Domme, to the castles of Beynac, Comarque and Filolie, I showed Mimi and Gabriella all of my favorite landmarks. We stayed at a small B&B owned by a lovely Italian couple near Montfort (l’ombrière). A very special place and a lovely couple. We gorged on the best local foods including foie gras, tournedos Rossini loaded with black truffles and duck confit. I think duck confit was an absolute revelation for Gabriella. I failed to mention that this was Gabriella’s first time in France outside of Paris :0) Mimi and I almost killed her with food. 17 fine lunches and dinners in a row… But Gabriella’s a tough foodie! She was able to enjoy every bite of every meal… We also visited “Chateau des Milandes”, the home of musical legend Josephine Baker. Truly special…

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Day 6: The Sauternes and it’s legendary sweet wines. We visited Château Guiraud and had an afternoon walk around the medieval village of Saint Macaire.

Day 7 and 8: The Medoc wine region, wine tastings at Château Lynch Bages and one last medieval castle where Mimi found a baby falcon that had fallen into a well and rescued him from a certain death. I told you she’s a super woman! :0) For our last lunch together that Sunday, I made my grandmother’s famous free range olive chicken. I think that was the last draw for poor Gabriella, pictured here as she was having a food coma in my chair…

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49 Comments Add yours

  1. Jessie says:

    Looks amazing!

  2. sabine says:

    I´m sorry, Stéphane, but this really doesn´t look like work 😉
    The photos are so beautiful!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It really doesn’t feel like it Sabine. You are so right 😉

  3. juliabarrett says:

    Wow! Cannot wait!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Me neither. You’ll be here just a week before Mimi comes back for her trip with me to Provence…

  4. colormusing says:

    Stunning descriptions and photos of one of my favorite parts of France (even though I’ve never actually been there–yet). Très bien fait!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Merci Lindy!!

  5. Barbie Beaton says:

    J’ai envie…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      One day I hope Barbie!!

      1. Barbie Beaton says:

        It will probably be while you’re in Montana 😉

        1. My French Heaven says:


  6. Linda Duffin says:

    Lovely. Lovely,lovely,lovely. I’m so jealous but happy that you had such a fabulous time together. Ah well, back to the laundry and ironing …

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m late answering your comment, but don’t feel bad. The day you wrote it I was knee deep in Laundry as well 😉

      1. Linda Duffin says:

        Then I magnanimously forgive you. 😉

  7. Dina says:

    Absolutely wonderful!

  8. Jodi says:

    Like a Dream come true! Awhhhhh! Some day it will be me…………. 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I certainly hope so dear Jodi!! 🙂

      1. Jodi says:

        Oh meeeee tooooooo! And if you ever want to visit Mars, PA – let me know!!! 🙂

  9. Too much gloriousness for one viewing! Ahhh, I’d love to jump on a plane and head for France. However, I just got back from Arizona which was lots of fun and quite beautiful as well, albeit in a very different way.


    1. My French Heaven says:

      Funny, as I’m reading this, I am watching my favorite movie of all time for the 600th time: Bagdad Café (Percy Adlon). I’d love to visit Arizona one day…

      1. It’s certainly a beautiful place. I hope you get to visit someday. And I hope we get to visit you someday in France.


  10. You documented Mimi’s and Gabrielle’s visit splendidly! I am absolutely so proud of Mimi for rescuing the falcon! Did you also visit a raptor sanctuary? I see you have photos of some owls and another raptor in your collage.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It was a bird show at a local castle in the Dordogne. Quite fun to watch…

  11. Great entry. Were you using a soft focus or diffusing filter by chance?

  12. ladyredspecs says:

    I slightly voyeuristic post, I hope Mimi and Gabriella don’t mind me drooling all over them. One day I’ll come to visit, of that you can be sure.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I cannot wait to have you here with me Sandra. It is always such a joy to get to meet my virtual friends in real life. We all have so much in common… Till then… 😉

  13. What a fabulous tour you gave them, two very lucky ladies to experience the real France. Stunning photos, it has made me hungry just reading this!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      So glad you liked the post dear Susan. Thank you for taking the time to comment on it. I am so late in answering, but know I’m always delighted by your kind words…

  14. thefolia says:

    What dreamy photographs!

  15. Beautiful post Stéphane – I’ve noted all the places you mention, to go visit when I next have a day out! I think you must be a lover of roses like me , those photos are just lovely – once again you show just how beautiful and romantic a place France can be! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Jane! Yes, I love roses, especially the ones pictured here, the light pink ones. We call them “Pierre de Ronsard”. They don’t smell, but they look fantastic anywhere…

  16. CakePants says:

    This all looks like it was so much fun! Your photos, as always, are lovely and so adept at telling a story. I would love to see all those castles and medieval villages someday!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! I hope you come visit someday!!

  17. chef mimi says:

    I wanna do it again!!! It’s just surreal looking at those photos! You’re so talented!

    1. ladyredspecs says:

      How many kilos did you gain Mimi? I feel sated just looking at the photos

      1. chef mimi says:

        For a change, not so many!

    2. Mimi – it was so fun to see you here on My French Heaven!

  18. You could have visited us in the Lot Stephane! next time…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      One day for sure Rosie! I am always amazed at the fact that I still get to discover new parts of France. It may sound very cocky of me, but I keep falling in love with my country…

  19. Lovely post – as always! – Stephane. I’ve just read Mimi’s! How great you got together again and I hear there’s to be a 3rd trip. Yes I’m envious 🙂 This all looks and sounds wonderful. It brought back some memories. We had many family holidays in Arcachon when my kids were small and I’ve climbed that dune! Also know Domme and the Dordogne area quite well – though many years ago now. What a beautiful area of France you live in. And the food!! Oh wow! I LOVE foie gras, oysters in Arcachon … never-ending list 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m so glad you got to visit all these places. Dome certainly is a favorite of mine. Dordogne is one of my favorite places on earth…

  20. Breathtaking pictures, envious good times, delightful food, fantastic wine, gorgeous landscape & architecture & art. Savoir-vivre.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Nicole. I hope I get to welcome you here someday!!

      1. Love to, I can imagine how great that would be!

  21. Becky Ellis says:

    I wish I could step into your photos and stay awhile…they tell a beautiful story…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Don’t step into the pictures dear Becky. Step into a bloody plane and come see me 😉 🙂

  22. I would jump a plane right now if I could! What a wonderful experience.

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