La Maison du Chateau, Burgundy, France April 2012

La Maison du Chateau

We ran two wonderful weeks in Burgundy in Spring at La Maison du Chateau. The house was so comfortable and relaxing and we all really felt at home. Delphine and her team delighted us with the most delicious buffet lunches and yummy dinners, not to mention the fridge groaning with goodies from which we could help ourselves. I think we all had to loosen our belts by the end of the week!

We were joined for the first week by our mother, Dinah, who was a great help with the bridge and fitted in perfectly with the group. She has written the following account of her week:

Arriving in Burgundy in torrential rain on a cold day in April, we saw the Chateau looking very different from when we had first been to inspect it the year before at the height of summer, with three generations of one family enjoying a wonderful holiday. We knew then it would be perfect for a bridge break and, despite the weather which never really got much better, so it turned out. People began arriving in mid-afternoon, welcomed with cups of tea and a hint of what was to come: a melt-in-the-mouth sponge cake. Whilst some knew many others, a few knew very few or even none at all.

Once everyone had arrived and bedrooms found, the summons came to foregather in the drawing room where a log-fire and champagne proved both warming and relaxing. After a very short time, peels of laughter were ringing out and it seemed as if everyone had known everyone else for a very long time. Time for dinner: the first of Delphine's many culinary masterpieces appeared, accompanied by copious house wine. Even the wine buffs imbibed, and, although Burgundy's finest was available at an additional cost, in the main the house wine was preferred.

After dinner, it was time to get down to the bridge. Given the very unseasonal weather, the splendid bridge room was a little chilly. However, additional fires and more house wine soon warmed everyone up and we had a couple of hours of interesting Chicago bridge! This was enough for some, but not all; noticing that the fire in the drawing room could easily be revived, tables were set up there, nightcaps appeared and the bridge and the laughter continued until way beyond the witching hour.

The pattern for the week was a different day trip on two of the days; first to the Abbaye de Fontenay, with a very chic guide, and then a lunch at Flavigny - Chocolat was filmed there - followed by a tour of the town with a very dry and amusing American guide. So it was all in the rain, but none the worse for that!

The second trip was to Chablis, guided vineyard viewing, followed by a wine-tasting with a most entertaining vigneron, who was so carried away by the bonhomie of the group that he produced his very best, of which only a very few bottles remained and which was kept under his bed for safety. We made it somehow to a lovely restaurant in the town of Chablis for a speciality of the region, accompanied by, yes, a glass of Chablis. We spent the afternoon at Noyers sur Serein in a very special pottery where the English owner demonstrated the process of clay to pot and thereafter purchasing proved irresistible.

The bridge throughout the week can be described as lively: the topic of the day in the form of a lesson, set hands illustrating the topic, help and supervision for those in need, gentle bridge after dinner and unscheduled bridge at almost every other time if so desired.

The weather prevented the house tennis court from being marked out, although there were nearby facilities for the serious players but the delights of the pool for our week at least never got tested. Further afield the golfers tried out two courses and returned happy. Glorious local walks were enjoyed in this most beautiful part of the country.

Better bridge technique, new friendships, excellent food and a great ambience made this a most memorable holiday and we all drank a toast to the next one.

Thanks for a really excellent holiday. Great fun, non-stop. Brilliant concept and execution, very good balance of activities. Fascinating bridge.

The holiday at La Maison du Chateau has been outstanding. Couldn't have had a nicer week – it has been wonderful.

Thank you so much for making bridge so much fun and for another brilliant week.

We all enjoyed it enormously, including the trips out. We would certainly be up for another trip.

Bridge worked so well with three teachers/players all so knowledgeable and easy-going.

Ace week! Let's hope we remember the conventions/play as well as the brilliant times.

A la prochaine fois with the Stockens.

Many thanks. It was a lovely week, the best we have had.