Friday, 4 February 2022

Restaurants Part 2

When we were over here in September, we discovered that some of the restaurants we usually frequent had closed or changed.  I was feeling quite down about it, but needlessly so!

We have done a quick visit this week and went to Duras.  La Terrasse, a popular restaurant for us has become a creperie, as mentioned in my previous post; however, it is still in the same ownership.  They have switched to a focus on crepes and galettes for economic reasons - the fillings of the galettes are all either cured meat or cheese, which will last longer in the fridge than unprocessed meats.  However, they also have plats du jour similar to what they had before: confit duck, steak tartare etc (though because the chef was ill the day we visited, these extra meals were not available).  The food is still very good.

There is also a new café in Duras - "Karl".  This is actually owned by the La Terrasse couple and is run by Madame (with Monsieur working v hard in the main restaurant.  We had a sandwich there, and it was fine.

Also in Duras, Café de la Paix has extended sideways and now does proper food (steak frîtes, swordfish steaks, mussels etc).

Gensaké has definitely closed, which we've known about since 2019.  Work on their new restaurant Le PESSàQUAI is progressing well, and I am expecting them to be open by Easter.  They are currently doing Friday evening takeaways from their pop-up kitchen at Chateau La Tourbeille, just downriver from Pessac proper.

Au Fil de l'Eau in Porte Ste Foy is a restaurant that previously had been closed but has opened again under new management.  With an interesting menu and fantastic views by the river across to Ste Foy La Grande, it is worth a visit.

Finally Comptoir de Genès - this remains closed, but I am still hoping that this will reopen again when post covid visitors return.  Certainly, they haven't changed their website to remove reference to the restaurant, merely mentioning that it "remains closed".

Sunday, 26 September 2021


 So much has changed over the last couple of years - disruption in everyone's lives, businesses struggling with the effects of lockdowns and changing risk attitudes to what were normal everyday activities.

We've managed to get out to La Matha for the first time since July last year and only the second time since summer 2019 - some of our guests have been more frequently than us in that time!  One big change we've noticed is in the population of our favourite restaurants.  Our website lists six restaurants and of those, three have either closed or changed completely.  This post is to summarise where we are.

  1. Gensaké  - we've known since 2019 that they would be closing in Gensac as the lease on their building was coming to an end.  Jenny and Gautier had bought a disused restaurant by the river in Pessac, above the quay, which they were planning to refurbish and open in summer 2020.  Well, we all know what happened in the interim!  What they did do was operate a pop-up restaurant at Chateau La Tourbeille (owned by Darcey Bussell) - this was delightfully located above the Dordogne just to the west of Pessac.  That was open in July and August of both 2020 and 2021.  Work is well underway on the refurbishment and I'm sure they'll be opening later in the year.  It will be called Pessa'Quai (do you see what they did there?) and we're very much looking forward to going again.

  2. La Terrasse - our next favourite restaurant is La Terrasse in Duras.  Sadly, this is now closed in terms of what we know and is now a creperie.  This may well please many of our guests with young kids, though, so maybe not all bad.
  3. Comptoir de Genes - we tried to book this for lunch the other day and were informed that it was closed.  This is (was?) perhaps one of the best restaurants in the area, so naturally, we're very disappointed.  However, all may not be lost.  I've just looked at their website and they haven't removed the restaurant page - it is also a wine shop and an épicerie; they do say that the "restaurant remains closed", which hints that it may open in the future...
On the plus side, we had a lovely meal at Au Four de la Rive, just on the Dordogne to the west of Flaujagues (used to be La Table Rouge).  We have also eaten at Chai Pascal in St Emilion, even though Pascal has retired. 

I am sure we will continue to find new and interesting restuarants as society returns to some form of normality.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Another Project?

We’ve just done a bit of clearing up at the front of the house in the corner under the tree. We’d always had a large pile of rocks and stones there, and it was getting a bit unsightly. We’ve moved the stones across into an empty area which contained an old tree stump, said stump now covered in rocks!

We will be putting shingle over the now bare concrete; however, we did wonder if a pétanque pit would go in there, adding to the formal sporting facilities (we have a pétanque set, but no proper pitch!

I think that, to do this, I’d need some wooden sleepers to act as the perimeter and then get some material somewhere between shingle and Sandro act as the bed. It might be tricky to have the right drainage, without losing that material...  

Anyway, something for me to think about. In the meantime, the area at the front is just a little bit neater!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Winter in La Matha

We have driven down to La Matha for a few days between Christmas and the New Year.  Re-charging the batteries is the main aim!

A lot of people ask us "what is the weather like down there?".  Well, in the winter, it's not too different from England - it gets a lot of weather from the west, and therefore it can be wet.  It has also been windy and a bit cold; that said, it has got up to 16c today, which would be positively balmy, if not for hte wind!  However, in the summer, you can get temperatures of over 30c on a regular basis.  Spring and autumn are usually a degree or so warmer than in the UK.

Anyway, we're here with our dog, enjoying walks, good food and just generally relaxing.  Once the central heating has warmed up the house and we've got the wood-burning stove going, it's lovely and warm inside.  We do have to use the electric blanket, though!

Not all the restaurants we usually go to are open this week, which is a struggle.  However, Restaurant Le 8 in St Foy and La Gensaké in Gensac are, which is enough for us.

We have enjoyed a couple of long walks - driving out to Baleyssagues for one and Villeneuve-de-Duras for another.  It is lovely wandering through vineyards and woods in peace and quiet! We will be researching more of these walks and leave details of them in the house.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Great Comments!

We have just seen the first comments in our visitors book from a family who stayed at La Matha over the recent half term holidays.  This is what they said:

"We enjoyed a fab week at La Matha, the house is great, lots of space for the girls.  Terrace is a great space for being outdoors - spent most mornings and evenings out there.  Ventured out to Duras, Bergerac and along the Dordogne to Beynac and La Roque-Gageac.  Thoroughly enjoyed the market at Ste Foy La Grande (even though we had rain); well worth the visit.  Lots more we'd like to see & would love to return soon."

Also, here are the comments from their daughter Emilie:

It is really encouraging to see comments like this.  I suppose it explains why so many guests come back a second or third time!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Pool-side Furniture

We have a rolling programme of replacing sun-loungers at La Matha.  They get used, which is great, as it means people are enjoying relaxing by the pool in the sunshine!

This year we have brought an old table and chair set out of storage, with a bit of sanding and oiling to make them presentable.  One of the benches had been used for a while by the pergola, but we've put the rest of the set by the pool, together with a large sun shade.

We hope our guests will enjoy having lunch there - taking a well-earned break from all that sun-bathing and swimming!

Terrace Table and Chairs

When we bought La Matha in 2008, we had a lot of expenditure to get the house in order so that visitors could stay with some degree of comfort.  As a result, there were some compromises.  We bought a relatively cheap outdoor dining set that was big enough for the number of people who would be staying here at any one time.

That set of table and chairs has lasted well, but was starting to look a little tired.  As a result, we bought a new set - quite a bit more expensive than the first set, but likely to last much longer.  The set consists of a large teak table and a long bench with five comfortable rattan chairs.  It is really elegant and looks great under the terrace!  Perfect for breakfast in the morning sunshine or for watching the sun go down in the evening with a glass of fizz!

We hope that visitors this year will enjoy dining under the terrace!