• The Périgord of “Bruno, Chief of Police”

    A Politics & Prose and Wild Blue Yonder trip with


    Martin Walker


    Session 1: Wednesday, April 10 – Wednesday, April 17, 2024


    The first week has only 2 spaces left.




    Session 2:   Wednesday, April 17 – Wednesday, April 24, 2024


    The second week has only 5 spaces left.


    Registration Form


    Samaratine Department Store

    If you’re a fan of Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police mysteries set in France, you know that Bruno is only fictional. But his region, Périgord Nord in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, is quite real, as are the foods and wines and markets and castles and characters that Bruno encounters in his adventures. As it happens, writer Martin Walker lives just outside of the town of Le Bugue, France, suspiciously similar to Bruno’s St. Denis.

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    Join Politics & Prose on an exploration of this unique part of France, well known for its food specialties (truffles, walnuts, foie gras) and wines (Bruno loves wine!). A highlight of the trip will be spending time with Martin Walker.
    We’ll spend one whole day in “St. Denis,” tasting wines at Bruno’s favorite wine shop, and then going on to Martin’s house, where we’ll enjoy a leisurely lunch while Martin pours us some of his favorite wines and regales us with stories about the region.

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    We’ll begin our stay in Bordeaux, a world-renowned center for wine and gastronomy. Its 18th century buildings of warm golden stone border the broad river Garonne. The city itself is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a historic trading center in the 1700s for wine, coffee, cocoa, sugar,cotton, and indigo and – sadly – enslaved peoples from Africa.  

    Then we’ll move on to the medieval town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, with its beautifulyellow sandstone buildings housing restaurants and shops. Small and extremelywalkable, Sarlat has more historic monuments than any other town in France.Martin will take us on a walking history tour there.

    Politics & Prose trips are made up of small (maximum 18 people) groups of congenial people who, like you, love to read. You’ll have two experienced trip leaders with you each day – on a trip that features many of Martin Walker’s favorite places in the region.


    Please note that we may make changes to this itinerary in response to unexpected closings, road conditions, weather or
    other unforeseen events.

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    Session 1: Tuesday, April 9                   

    Session 2: Tuesday, April 16

    Depart from home for your overnight flight. You will change planes at a European airport and continue on to Bordeaux, France.

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    Session 1: Wednesday, April 10                  

    Session 2: Wednesday, April 17

    Arrive in Bordeaux. You’ll have the afternoon free to catch up on your sleep from your flight, or begin to explore Bordeaux’s cafés, museums and shops. Our hotel is located in the center of town in a gracious old building restored to contemporary tastes. You’ll find Bordeaux a very walkable city, and it also has an astonishingly quiet tram system to help you get around.

    6pm. Meet in the hotel for orientation for the week.

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    Session 1: Thursday, April 11             

    Session 2: Thursday, April 18

    10:00am We depart from the hotel for a walking tour of some of the most spectacular of the city’s UNESCO sites: the Port de la Lune (Moon Port) that has defined its character for centuries, the spacious Place de la Bourse, the Miroir d’Eau fountain on the river walkway, the ancient St. Pierre district and much more. We’ll break for lunch where you’ll have your choice of a number of charming outdoor cafés.



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    2:30pm We board the tram for a quick ride to the Cité du Vin, a comprehensive museum on the history of wine. It’s also quite a sensory experience, where you inhale the scents of wine, feel the rocking of an ocean-going vessel and – of course – end with a wine tasting at the top of the building, with a wide view of the city and the river below.

    6pm. Meet in the hotel for wine and conversation.

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    Session 1: Friday, April 12                               Session 2: Friday, April 19

    10am We’ll take a short tram ride to the Bassin de Lumières, a light-filled immersive art experience set to evocative music. We
    don’t yet know which artists this year’s show will feature, but they are always fascinating. The spectacle is set in a World War II Nazi submarine base and factory. (Bordeaux was occupied during the war; its close access to the Atlantic Ocean was a key strategic point for the Nazis.)

    Afterwards, we’ll head for the lush Bacalan food market, where you can enjoy lunch at an outdoor café or browse the
    delicacies inside the market.

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    1:30pm We’ll go back into the center of the city to the Musée Aquitaine, the museum of the history of Bordeaux and its regions. The timeline begins in prehistoric times and continues through Bordeaux’s booming Atlantic trade up to the present day. The building was constructed on the site of an ancient convent where celebrated humanist writer Michel de Montaigne was buried. A highlight of the museum now is his cenotaph with a marble effigy.


    Afterwards you’ll have time on your own. You might want to visit the Saint André Gothic cathedral, whose oldest section dates to 1096. It was the wedding site for the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Louis VII of France. Or, for something completely different, spend some time at CAPC, the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s located in the chic Chartrons district where you can browse in small boutiques for clothes and antiques, or just idle away some time with coffee in a sidewalk café.

    6pm Meet in the hotel for wine and conversation.


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    Afterwards you’ll have time on your own. You might want to visit the Saint André Gothic cathedral, whose oldest section dates to 1096. It was the wedding site for the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Louis VII of France. Or, for something completely different, spend some time at CAPC, the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s located in the chic Chartrons district where you can browse in small boutiques for clothes and antiques, or just idle away some time with coffee in a sidewalk café.

    6pm Meet in the hotel for wine and conversation.


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    Session 1: Saturday, April 13                         

    Session 2: Saturday, April 20

    9:30am. We board our transport for a three-hour driveto the Périgord Nord, where we’ll stay in the four-star hotel Plaza Madeleine. We’ll have time for lunch in the center of the medieval town.

    3pm Martin Walker joins us in Sarlat to talk with us about Sarlat, the very famous small city in the Périgord Norther town was hotly contested during the Hundred Years War and was actually part of England for about ten years. Martin tells the most marvelous stories about its history, and he’ll answer all your questions as well.

    6pm Meet in the hotel for wine and conversation.

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    Session 1: Sunday, April 14                             
    Session 2: Sunday, April 21

    9:30am. This morning we drive to the Chateau des Milandes, a Renaissance castle built in 1489. It was abandoned after the French Revolution, but beautifully restored and improved in the early 1900s. Most notably now, it was the home of Josephine Baker, the wildly popular black
    dancer and entertainer who took Paris by storm. Less known about Baker are her
    work for the French resistance in WWII (she was inducted into the French Pantheon in Paris in 2021) and her adoption of numerous children. The interior of the chateau is still decorated in the art deco style Baker loved.



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     At the chateau (weather permitting), we’ll also wander through the beautiful gardens and, if such a thing interests you, watch their demonstrations with live birds of prey, some of them endangered species.

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    Afterwards,we’ll drive to Domme, a hilltop town labelled one of The Most Beautiful Villages in France. Here we have a selection of places for lunch, plus wide vistas across the landscape.


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    2:30pm We leave Domme for a short drive tothe Gardens of Eyrignac Manor, a site that has been family-owned for 22 generations. Inspired by 17th and 18th century designs, Eyrignacis distinguished for its topiary, white rose garden and flower gardens. We’ll have a private guided tour of the gardens.

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    Session 1: Monday, April 15                           

    Session 2: Monday,April 22

    9:15am Today we begin with a visit to thecaves of Lascaux IV. In addition to the almost perfect replica of the entire cave and all its art, the center features many exhibits and experiences to help us understand both why these early peoples painted such dramatic pictures of animals and how they used the very surfaces of the cave walls themselves to make artistic decisions.

    Afterwards we’ll drive to the nearby town of Montignac, where we can choose from several restaurants along the scenic river Vézère.


    2:30pm We return to Sarlat, where you’ll have the afternoon to explore on your own. This is a great time to gather those specialty items you want to take back home with you – or just to relax in the shady city gardens or by the hotel swimming pool.

    6pm: Meet in the hotel for wine and conversation.

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    Session 1: Tuesday, April 16                          
    Session 2: Tuesday, April 23

    9:30am We depart to Le Bugue, MartinWalker’s village in the Périgord; it will remind you of the fictitious St. Denis. It’s market day there, so we’ll have half an hour or so to browse the market in the town. Then Martin will join us. We’ll stop at Bruno’s favorite wine store -- Julien deSavignac – where we’ll taste some of his favorite wines. On the way to Martin’s home in the countryside, we’ll stop at some of his favorite places in the area.


    Then we’ll all have a leisurely lunch (and lots of wine) at Martin’s home, sitting around a big table in a shaded alcove with vine leaves filtering the sunlight. We’ll

    have time to stroll around the garden and visit the chickens before we board our bus for a relaxed and sleepy ride back to Bordeaux.

    6pm. Meet for wine and conversation in the hotel salon.

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    Then we’ll all have a leisurely lunch (and lots of wine) at Martin’s home, sitting around a big table in a shaded alcove with vine leaves filtering the sunlight. We’ll have time to stroll around the garden and visit the chickens before we board our bus for a relaxed and sleepy ride back to Bordeaux.

    Session 1: Wednesday, April 17                               
    Session 2: Wednesday, April 24


    Depart from Bordeaux airport on your flight home.

    Here's What's Included:

    Martin introducing "Bruno"

    Here’s What’s Included:

    - Two trip leaders every day to help you enjoy your time inthe Périgord
    - Transport from Bordeaux, France (the city you’ll fly into)to Sarlat and return

    - Transportation card for the trams in Bordeaux

    - Four nights in our historic hotel in Bordeaux, and three nights in the luxurious Plaza Madeleine Hotel in Sarlat

    - Full breakfast every morning

    - Admissions to every museum or other site mentioned in the itinerary

    - Frequent wine tastings

    - Daily transport to locations in the Périgord

    - Lunch and wine at the home of author Martin Walker

    - Wine and conversation socials most evenings with the trip leaders

    What’s not included: lunches (except for the day with Martin Walker) and dinners, tickets to museums and attractions not listed on the itinerary, out-of-town train tickets, your flight to Bordeaux and back home or anything else not listed under “What’s included.”

    Ready to Pack Your Bags?

    The price for the trip is $5385. You’ll have your own room without paying an additional single supplement. To reserve your space,

    register here: https://www.wildblueyondertrips.com/trip-registration.


    Be sure to specify whether you are registering for Session 1 (April 10– 17, 2024) or Session 2 (April 17 – 24, 2024).

    To secure your space, mail your deposit check, made out to Wild Blue Yonder in the amount of $650, to Sheila Campbell, Wild Blue Yonder, 1001 Spring Street, Suite 623, Silver Spring, MD 20910. If you’d prefer to pay by credit card (there’s a 3% surcharge), email Sheila at scampbell@wildblueyonder.biz and she’ll send you a Paypal invoice.

    Please note that we will probably not repeat this trip in 2025, so we hope you can make it in 2024!




    A Few Frequently Asked Questions


    Q. How many people will be on the trip?

    The maximum number of people is 18, so you won’t feel like you’re part of a huge group.


    Q. How physically demanding is this trip?
    We’ll have a walking tour in the city of Bordeaux which will call for walking about two hours on city streets. We’ll also have a walking tour at Eyrignac Gardens, but it is not difficult (mostly flat) and goes at a slow pace. Otherwise, on most of our days we’re taking nearby trams or buses in Bordeaux, and will have our own bus in Sarlat.

    Q. Why aren’t lunches and dinners included in the price?

    Restaurantst hat accept tour groups are usually the last places we want to eat. And we hate eating at long tables where we haven’t got a choice about what to order. Instead, we’ll find typically French places for lunch, and, in both Bordeaux and Sarlat, there are lots of restaurants to sample at dinner. You can choose where you eat, and with whom and how much you want to spend.

    Q. What’s the best way to get to Bordeaux?

    As of this writing (airline schedules are always subject to change), we strongly recommend flying Delta Airlines to Bordeaux. You have a choice of changing planes in either Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris or Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. We find the Schiphol Airport much more manageable, but of course you’ll decide what suits you best. Other airlines that fly from Washington, DC to Bordeaux with only one stop include United and Lufthansa.

    Note that if you book through Delta, you’ll actually be flying on Air France or KLM. At Dulles, you’ll check in at the Air France/KLM desk, not Delta’s.


    Q. Do we have to fly to Bordeaux? What about taking the train from Paris?

    You definitely can do that. There are several nonstop trains a day; they generally take about 2.5 hours or so. If you plan to
    stay in Paris beforehand, that can be a good way to go. You’d catch the train at Gare Montparnasse, and there are several a day.

    At this writing, there are two TGVfast trains from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Bordeaux, but neither are convenient if you are flying in that day – one too early, the other too late.


    Q. Do I have to pay a single supplement?

    No.This trip is priced based on each person having his or her own hotel room.

    Q. I’m coming with a spouse or partner and we want to share a room. Do we both have to pay the full rate? 
    For people who share a room, we offer a discount of $150 each. We’ve priced the trip primarily for people to have their own rooms, because French hotel rooms just aren’t as large as those in the U.S. But of course you can share a room if you prefer.


    Q. Do you require us to buy travel insurance?

    We strongly recommend it. In particular, you’ll want to have trip cancellation insurance in case something happens and you can’t come at the last minute, and also medical evacuation insurance which will fly you home if needed. Remember that Medicare is valid only in the U.S., so if you’re on Medicare, you’ll definitely want some basic medical insurance. The best time to purchase your travel insurance is when you pay your deposit for the trip.


    Some travel insurance companies include covid coverage, so you’ll want to make sure your policy does that.

    And please read the trip Terms and Conditions carefully for our cancellation policy.

    Q. Tell me about the trip leaders.
    Donna Morris has lived in Paris, France for the last seventeen years. She founded her business, Best Friend in Paris, in 2009 with her signature tour, Follow Me, an experience for her clients that helps them see Paris with the same love and appreciation for the City of Light that she has. She has developed and organized Politics and Prose trips to Paris, Provence and the Loire Valley, as well as in Barcelona,
    Spain. She speaks fluent French.

    Sheila Campbell of Wild Blue Yonder has been organizing Politics & Prose trips for nearly ten years, in countries including France, South Africa, Spain, Morocco, England and Italy. In her day-to-day work, she was a group retreat leader who understood how to ensure everyone is involved and having a memorable experience. She lives in Washington, DC, where she has been a volunteer at the National Gallery of Art for many years. She speaks tourist French.

    Q. What is the Hotel Plaza Madeline like? What about the hotel in Bordeaux?
    In Bordeaux, we’ll stay in two buildings belonging to the same hotel, The Bayonne Etche-Ona. It is a charming hotel in historic buildings, perfectly located in the center of the city. The hotel is typically French, with small but nicely appointed rooms.

    The Plaza Madeleine in Sarlat is a quite sophisticated hotel, beautifully designed, with a spa and swimming pool. We particularly love sitting outside at the bar in the evenings.

    Q. What’s included in the breakfasts?
    Both hotels offer a wide selection of croissants, rolls and pastries, cheeses, coldcuts, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, cereal, French yogurt and so on. At the Plaza Madeleine, breakfast is definitely a treat. Unlike many European hotels, they also have eggs and bacon or sausage every day.

    Q. Is there internet access at the hotel? 

    Yes, free wifi comes with your room at both hotels.


    Q. What will the weather be like? 

    It’s hard to say for sure, but it should be sunny and warm enough most nights to sit outside at dinner with a light jacket. It’s always a good idea, of course, to come prepared for rain, so do pack an umbrella, a light jacket and – most important of all – very comfortable walking shoes.


    Q. What to wear? 

    Wear just what you would at home – casual jeans, slacks or skirts, even for eating out at night. Of course, for any place where you need a reservation, you’ll want to dress appropriately. But let comfort rule your choices.

    Q. I don’t speak French. Can you help mefigure out what to eat?
    Absolutely.We’ll provide a list of common menu terms, and let you know how to do things like ask for the check.

    Q. Is it safe to walk around by myself atnight in Sarlat and Bordeaux? 
    As inany city, it makes sense to be aware of your surroundings after dark. But these are small cities with lots of charm, and our hotels are located where there are lots of people about. You can feel quite comfortable walking around after dark.

    Q. When do I need to sign up by? 
    The sooner you put down your deposit, the better. This trip is likely to sell out veryquickly.

    Terms & Conditions

    Please read this information carefully, as payment of a deposit represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

    Trip Prices
    Trip prices include hotel accommodations on a single or double occupancy basis, breakfast at the hotels, daily transportationas mentioned in the itinerary, entrance fees to museums if with the group aslisted in the itinerary, tasting events, evening socials to plan the next day’s activities, and the services of the trip leaders as outlined in the trip description.

    Not included in the trip price are entrance fees to museums and other attractions not expressly included; taxis or other forms of city transportation; airfare and airline baggage fees; lunches and dinners; hotel, restaurant or airport tips; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry or room service; internet wifi except as established in the trip description; airport transfers or any other services not specified in the trip description.

    Please note that we cannot guarantee any special requests for hotel rooms


    Registration and Payment
    The payment of your deposit confirms your reservation. Deposits may be paid by check made out to Wild Blue Yonder, Inc., or credit card via PayPal. There is a 3% surcharge for PayPal.

    Your deposit is refundable for two weeks from the date it is received by Wild Blue Yonder,except for deposits made less than 60 days before a trip departs; those deposits are completely nonrefundable. Two weeks after the receipt of the deposit by Wild Blue Yonder, deposits are not refundable for any reason and will be forfeited if you cancel your trip reservation. Cancellations must be in writing by either letter to Wild Blue Yonder or email to scampbell@wildblueyonder.biz. Cancellations become effective on the date they are received by Wild Blue Yonder.

    Please note that, should a covid pandemic recur after trip deposits have been paid, no refunds will be possible (the funds will now be in France), but we will reschedule the trip as soon as possible with no change in price.

    Once your reservation deposit has been paid, you will receive a confirmation email and further information to help you plan your trip.

    We reserve the right to cancel any reservations that are not paid in full at any time after the final payment is due. If you make your reservation after the final payment due date, payment in full will be required immediately.

    Full final payment is due December15, 2023.

    Cancellations and Refunds
    For any cancellations made before December 15, 2023, you will forfeit your deposit but will be refunded any other payments you have made. If you must cancel yourt rip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your notification, which must be made in writing either by email or letter. No refunds are possible after December 15, 2023.

    We strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance when you pay your deposit for this trip.

    Changes to Your Reservation
    If you would like to stay on for longer than the official days of the trip, we will make reservations for you at the hotel. We will not charge you for any changes to your reservation outside of 90 days before the trip start date. From 30 – 89 days before the trip start date, if you make any changes to your reservation, a $100 per person administrative fee will apply. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy, you will be charged the single occupancy rate.


    Travel Documents

    You are responsible for securing your own passport, valid for at least six months after the completion of your trip.

    Health and Medical Issues
    We welcome all travelers, but you must be in good health to participate in our trips. Our trips require a reasonable amount of walking, possibly several hours a day, uphill or on uneven streets or streets without curb cuts. You must be able to climb stairs and board trains and buses on your own. We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance if you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you.

    If you are unable to navigate this amount of walking, you will not be able to participate fully in the trip, and we suggest you choose another type of trip. We cannot provide individual alternatives to the planned group activities. If your fitness level does not allow you to keep up with the group and/or travel on public transportation, you will be responsible for planning your own activities and for any additional costs incurred (for instance, but not limited to, personal taxis, train tickets, and entrance fees).


    Trip Insurance
    We strongly recommend that you purchase both trip cancellation insurance and traveler’s medical and evacuation insurance for your trip. Should you have to cancel your trip after you have paid in full, we cannot offer refunds other than specified above, because we will have already paid the costs of your tripto our vendors.

    Arrival and Departure Dates
    It is your responsibility to make sure you arrive on the specified trip start date.We cannot refund part of your trip if you arrive late or leave early, unless you have notified us of your different start or end date 90 days before the trip start date.


    The liability of Wild Blue Yonder and Politics & Prose, individually or jointly (referred to hereafter as Trip Planners), is strictly limited. In no event will the Trip Planners be liable for amounts in excess of the amounts payable to theTrip Planners in accordance with the terms hereunder, nor will Trip Planners be liable for any consequential indirect or incidental damages arising from this agreement. Trip Planners purchase accommodations, transportation and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing trip arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility and liability for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents or representatives.

    Trip Planners are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that maybe caused by events not within our control, including but not limited to, without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, defects of any vehicle, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters or the negligence or default of any third party.

    Trip Planners reserve the right to correct errors in advertised prices. We reserve the right to cancel an advertised trip, decline to accept a reservation or remove a person from a trip if it is determined by us to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general well-being of other trip participants. We will make every effort to conduct our trip as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary and other changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will make every effort to select alternative accommodations of the same quality. The forgoing terms and conditions and all aspects of the relationship between Trip Planners and you shall be governed by the laws of the State of Maryland.  

    Recommended Reading

    If you’re not caught up on all of Martin Walker’s Bruno series of mysteries,you’ll want to have read several by the time you get here. Here’s a list of thebooks in order:

    Bruno,Chief of Police

    The Dark Vineyard
    Black Diamond

    The Crowded Grave

    The Devil’s Cave
    The Resistance Man
    The Children Return

    The Patriarch
    Fatal Pursuit

    The Templars Last Secret
    A Taste for Vengeance

    The Body in the Castle Well
    The Shooting at Chateau Rock
    The Coldest Case
    To Kill a Troubadour
    A Chateau under Siege (to be released August 29, 2023)

    You might also want to read Martin’s novel, The Caves of Perigord. It’s not a Bruno book, but is quite full of insights into the Perigord region.

    Otherbooks you might enjoy are:

    The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne. Renaissance writer Montaigne retired to his tower and wrote numerous essays about life and his personal philosophies. If you’ve never read Montaigne, now is a good time to meet him.

    How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answerby Sarah Bakewell. This highly readable biography of Montaigne and his ideas won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography.


    Josephine Baker: The Hungry Heart by Jean-Claude Baker. This biography of Baker is told by one of the many children she adopted and raised in les Millandes, her chateau in the Perigord. Not the best writing, but a great story.


    Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero,British Spy by Damien Lewis. While not the best-written book we’ve ever read, you do get a clearsense of why the French awarded the Legion d’Honneur for her work in WWII.

    A Castle in the Backyard: The Dream of a House inFrance by Betsy Draine. Yes, this memoir is certainly in the vein of all those other bookswritten about buying a house in another country. But here the region is the Dordogne, and the book gives you a real feeling for the countryside.

    Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life, by Alison Weir. Eleanor of Aquitaine was the wife of two kings and the mother of three. This book gives you plenty of historic detail about this most politically influential woman.

    Death in Bordeaux by Allan Massie. This detective novel, the first in a series of four, is set in Bordeaux in WWII, during the Nazi occupation, at a time when the Vichy government was cooperating enthusiastically with the Nazis.

    Participation is limited - reserve your space

    by completing the Registration Form today.