Discover Southern Europe, Issue 8, September 2019

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I S S U E 8 | S E P T E M B E R 2 019


A Weekend in Toulouse



10 Must-see Paradises P R O M O T I N G

F R A N C E ,   S PA I N ,   I TA LY   &   P O R T U G A L

Discover Southern Europe  |  Contents



S EPTEM BER 2 0 1 9


10 Island hopping in Southern Europe

44 A weekend in Toulouse

Nothing helps you to escape everyday stress better than having an entire sea in between you and your worries. Join us on a trip to Southern Europe’s lushest islands. 16 Spain’s best island and coastal retreats


Few cities have as many faces as ‘la ville rose’. Stroll from Toulouse’s old town to its atmospheric markets and its mighty Airbus museum. 50 Eat, sleep and discover in France Every season is a good season for a trip to France. These restaurants, retreats and hotspots are definitely worth a visit this autumn.

Whether you go for their beautiful beaches, picturesque towns or crystal-clear waters: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Mallorca and Costa Brava are dream-like holiday destinations. We guide the way to the regions’ most spectacular hotels. 28 Italian coffee for beginners Don’t you know the difference between a doppio, a macchiato and a caffè shakerato? Don’t worry! With our beginners’ guide, you’ll be ordering coffee like a true Italian in no time.


Southern European Style


Design Finds

54 Business 60

Diary Dates


Film & Book

66 Food

30 France’s top beers and breweries


France is more than just a wine country. In fact, its rich beer culture is one of the nation’s best-kept secrets. Allow us to serve you a cold brew and tell you all about it. Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  3

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editor’s note

Dear Reader,

Discover Southern Europe Issue 8, September 2019 Published 09.2019 ISSN 2832-3398 Published by Scan Group Print Uniprint

Kate Harvey Paola Maggiulli Ingrid Opstad Gerard Plana Noelia Santana Hannah Jane Thompson Katie Turner Claire Webb Pierre Antoine Zahnd Cover Photo Marc Lerouge – Atout France

Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Arne Adriaenssens Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Audrey Beullier Contributors Anna Bonet Nicola Rachel Colyer Eddi Fiegel Steve Flinders Esme Fox

Sales & Key Account Managers Katia Sfihi Carlos Borras Sara Mariscal Mathilde Rineau Nancy Tapia Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 208 408 1938

Freshly brewed and with nothing but the best ingredients! Not only does that describe the hot-off-the-press September issue which you hold in your hands right now, but it also characterises the amazing cups of coffee that you can drink in an Italian ‘caffè’. To some, however, ordering the right cup of joe can be a bit of a challenge. Therefore, we have immersed ourselves in the barista’s lingo and traditions and now happily share that newly-gained knowledge with you in this very issue. For a more refreshing beverage, we head to France, where a new generation of creative and ambitious brewers is all set to put its nation on the map as one of avid beer aficionados. We have selected our favourite ales, draughts and lagers and pay their respective brewmasters a visit. While in France, we also head to Toulouse, where we spend a weekend amidst its stunning architecture, vibrant city noises and impressive aeroplanes. But also, in other corners of the country, we discover hidden treasures in the form of hotspots, restaurants and unique accommodation. Yet, the magnum opus of our travel escapades this month must be the amazing trip we make to Southern Europe’s ten nicest islands; from the mysterious Mont Saint-Michel in the north to the lush paradises of Réunion and La Gomera in the south. So, fasten your seatbelts and make yourself comfortable, as Discover Southern Europe uncovers SouthernEuropean beauty in all corners of the world, this month. Enjoy the September issue!

Arne Adriaenssens Editor

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style

Back to basics


September ushers in a sartorial fresh start as the relaxed silhouettes of summer are replaced with sharp tailoring, luxe fabrics and polished accessories. This is the time to take stock and prepare your wardrobe for the season ahead, by investing in elevated basics that will see you through the coming months in style.

Add an unexpected freshness to your autumn style with these crisp, white jeans from French brand Sandro. Keep it seasonal by pairing with warmer tones and heavier textures like this high-neck rust knit and checked jacket. Micro houndstooth zipped jacket, €385; Funnel neck sweater, €195; Cotton slim-fit jeans, €145; Leather derby shoes, €365; all Sandro.

Sleek shades are an essential accessory year-round. This matte-brown pair from Lisbon-based Fora combines a love of vintage style with modern craftsmanship – each pair of glasses is carefully handmade from start to finish in their Portuguese factory. Fora Hero dark-brown matte sunglasses, €118

Inject some artistic flair into your look with this exclusive collaboration between British artist James Wilson and Spanish stalwart Zara. The humble sweatshirt is transformed by Wilson’s minimalist line drawings, making it the perfect addition to a pair of tailored trousers for smart-casual dressing. Zara sweatshirt with James Wilson illustration, €30

Stand your ground this season in a pair of classic suede Chelsea boots. You can’t go wrong with any iteration of the timeless style, but this pair from French designer The Kooples is a step above the rest with the wrap-around buckle detail. The Kooples suede Chelsea boots, €355

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style

Designed to materialise the intangible gifts of life, each piece in Italian Jeweller Atelier VM’s collection is inspired by a tapestry of real-life stories and experiences. Whether celebrating a milestone or marking a memory, weave your own tale into the mix with this delicate brown diamond necklace. Atelier VM Diamante necklace in 18-karat gold with brown diamond, €495

Creating a stylish capsule wardrobe is all about finding timeless staples with an added edge, such as this pretty blouse from French brand Maje. The guipure collar, velvet tie, ruffled cuffs and jewelled buttons transform it into a statement piece that will complement everything from tailored trousers and leather skirts to your favourite denim. Maje Guipure collar shirt, €195

A beautifully crafted leather bag will add instant polish to your look, and this season, the style set are turning to French brand Elleme for their handbag fix. This timeless faux-croc model is effortlessly elegant and guaranteed to be cherished for many years to come. Elleme Raisin bag in croco cognac, €495

A chic jacket and well-fitted denim are the building blocks of autumnal dressing. Turn to Parisian brand Sandro for timeless styles with an on-trend update. This checked tweed blazer will be your weekend go-to for dressing up jeans or adding an androgynous edge to a floral dress, whilst also slipping seamlessly into your workwear wardrobe. Snow wash jeans, €165; Checked wool blazer, €325; Leather belt, €115; Leather ankle boots, €295; T-shirt, €95; all Sandro.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

Design Finds Mainly achieved by the use of simple yet functional furniture and design objects, geometric shapes, effortless textures and a neutral colour scheme, minimalism is an interior trend which never seems to go out of fashion. Check out these modern design items which will make your home a place to enjoy and feel tranquil in this autumn. TEXT: INGRID OPSTAD  I  PRESS PHOTOS

By analysing the traditional house shape, Portuguese brand Manimal came up with this carefully designed and minimal shelter for our pets. Here, they can curl-up inside, rest or sleep on their comfortable cushion, in a stylish and modern little home. Its modularity and cushion colour options allow you to adapt it to fit your interior style. Manimal, ‘Berlim’ dog house, from €440

With its minimal but still cosy look, the Georges armchair from French brand Hartô is a stylish addition to your living room. Guillaume Delvigne has designed this beautiful armchair aligned with the brand fundamentals: a curved and comfortable seat covered with Gabriel fabric. It is available in a selection of neutral and soft shades to fit any interior. HARTÔ, ‘Georges’ armchair, €1,190

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

These beautiful sculptures are the perfect way to add texture and colour in a subtle yet interesting way. Inspired by the array of different types of stone she encountered working with Salvatori, designer Elisa Ossino has drawn upon the simplicity of Morandi’s still life images and reproducing them in stunning marble. From the classic elegance of Bianco Carrara and Botticino to the dramatic intensity of Cipollino and Rosso Collemandina, this collection brings together a stunning selection of marbles used in some of Italy’s most iconic architecture. Salvatori, ‘Omaggio a Morandi’ sculptures, €395

Add striking design to any room of your house with this elegant lamp from Italian brand Flos. Part of the IC collection designed by Michael Anastassiades, this lamp has a simplistic metallic steel frame with a mouth-blown glass orb perched atop. It will beautifully illuminate any setting making it a decorative and functional piece of art. Flos, ‘IC T1’ high table lamp, €404

Batea M is not just a wood coffee table, it has extra functionality: when opening, you will find a storage space to keep those small everyday objects out of sight and organised. This storage coffee table from Spanish brand Woodendot is composed of clean and rounded lines and combines tradition and modernity to use in warm, distinctive and timeless spaces. Woodendot, ‘Batea M’ Coffee table, €279

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Porto Vecchio, Corsica. Photo: Atout France, Robert Palmoba

Island hopping in Southern Europe:

Ten remote holiday paradises to add to your bucket list Nothing helps you to escape everyday stress better than having a whole sea between you and your worries. Luckily, Southern Europe has plenty of lush islands. Together, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal count over 1,200 of them, spread over the Indian, Atlantic, Arctic, Southern and Pacific Ocean and, of course, the Mediterranean Sea. We take you island hopping past the nations’ most stunning isles and archipelagos. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS

its cities, you can enjoy the island’s rich cuisine. Located a mere 12 kilometres from Sardinia, its kitchen is influenced by both the French and the Italian one. Make sure to try game dishes like the Corsican pork and the delicious brocciu cheese, a soft delicacy which strongly resembles ricotta.

1/ Corsica, France

Southern Corsica. Photo: Atout France, Robert Palmoba

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If one place in France screams ‘paradise’, it must be Corsica. With its crystal-clear waters and pearl-white beaches, it is a dream destination for every sunbathing aficionado. Its rocky coastline also counts numerous UNESCO-protected ‘calanches’: steep rock formations which are rooted in the sea. Yet, there is more to Corsica than can be spotted from the sea. With a core of mountains and forests, Corisca is a green lung amidst the Mediterranean blue. Explore its mystical heart on foot during a one- or multiple-day hike. In

L’Ile Rousse, Corsica. Photo: Atout France, Robert Palmoba

Every other day, Air Corsica flies to the island’s three airports from London Stansted.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Ten islands to visit

2/ La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain As it is way smaller and not half as wellknown as Gran Canaria or La Palma, La Gomera is one of those last unaltered paradises on earth. The tiny island only counts 20,000 citizens and most tourists have yet to find this Walhalla in the Atlantic. With its round shape and central crater, it is not hard to imagine that La Gomera used to be a volcano. Hikers should walk past the impressive Roque de Agando and enter the frightening Mirador de Abrante; a glass platform, hundreds of metres above the ground. From San Sebastian, the island’s biggest village, you can also enjoy a spectacular view of the Pico del Teide, the magnificent volcano of the nearby island of Tenerife. Multiple airlines fly from London Gatwick and London Stansted to La Gomera on a daily basis.

Guarapo, La Gomera. Photo: La Gomera

Hermingua, La Gomera. Photo: La Gomera

Roque de Agando, La Gomera. Photo: La Gomera

Mirador de Abrante, La Gomera. Photo: La Gomera

3/ São Miguel, Azores, Portugal Deserted in the middle of the Atlantic, you will find Portugal’s breathtaking archipelago: the Azores. Its capital, Ponta Delgada, is located on the island of São Miguel, the region’s biggest island. With its temperatures fluctuating around 16 to 26 degrees all year long, and a fair share of rain drooling down in winter, São Miguel carries the nickname ‘the green island’. Stroll past its rough coasts and wooded core or gaze at the mystical Lagoa do Fogo. The waters surrounding the island are also home to dolphins and whales. Go spotting them on a tiny boat, as big ones will scare the animals away. To meet the biggest whales, you must go in May or June. During the rest of the year, you’ll have to settle for some smaller varieties and dolphins.

Praia dos Moinhos, São Miguel. Photo: Miguel Pironet

Photo: Pixabay

AirPortugal shuttles between São Miguel and London Heathrow and Gatwick multiple times a day.

Mosteiros, São Miguel. Photo: Daniel Haslwanter

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Ten islands to visit

4/ Capri, Neapolitan Archipelago, Italy Tomato, artichoke, mushrooms, ham and mozzarella: those are the toppings of a classic pizza capricciosa, the delicious indulgence that has set Capri on the map. Yet, the tiny island has way more to offer than a tasty slice on the go. Built on a rock of just ten square kilometres, Capri is a paradise in pocket size. In its two villages, you can taste all that’s nice about Italy while gazing at the deep blue sea. Through the magnificent Via Krupp, you descend from its capital to the harbour, where plenty of boats await you. Most of them are happy to show you the Grotta Azzurra: a mysterious cave underneath the mountains where the few rays of daylight create a spectacular blue glow in the water.

Capri. Photo: Pixabay

Capri. Photo: Pixabay

Via Krupp, Capri. Photo: Pixabay

To get to Capri, you must fly to Naples (plenty of airlines have at least one connection from London Gatwick and London Stansted a day) and continue by ferry.

Capri. Photo: Pixabay

Playa Blanca Flamingo, Lanzarote. Photo: Turismo Lanzarote

La Geria, Lanzarote. Photo: Turismo Lanzarote

Playa Blanco Papagayo, Lanzarote. Photo: Turismo Lanzarote

5/Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain Travelling to the moon can be a bit of a hustle. Luckily, the landscapes on Lanzarote are equally out-of-this-world. In the west corner of the island, in the Timanfaya National Park, you can gaze at beaches of ash and humongous craters; both the result of a devastating eruption in 1730. If you book it at least two 12  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

months in advance, you can join a hiking trip through this reserve. During this two-hour guided tour, you can discover the park as very few people get a chance to see it. Lastminute bookers can explore a part of the park on a dromedary’s back. Away from the ashes, Lanzarote also has plenty of white sand

and crystal-clear water. The perfect combination to relax after your trip through space. Every day, you can catch multiple flights to Lanzarote from London Gatwick and London Stansted.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Ten islands to visit

6/Réunion, France Wild waves, tower-high mountains and stunning greenery: Réunion is as pure as they come. The French island, which lies between Madagascar and Mauritius, is a popular destination amongst climbers, who like to explore the rough inland with just their arm- and willpower. The is-

Réunion. Photo: Atout France. Damien Poullenot

land’s highest point is the top of the Piton des Neiges, an inactive volcano which is over three kilometres high. Back down, more of nature’s beauty awaits you. Endless beaches, soothing thermal baths and deafening waterfalls will amaze you wherever you go.

Réunion. Photo: Atout France, Alizée Palomba

To reach La Réunion, you must change aeroplanes once or twice. Air Mauritius is the only airline that can bring you from the United Kingdom to the island. Otherwise, you must combine flights from different airlines. Your trip will take between 17 and 24 hours.

Réunion. Photo: Atout France, Aquashot

Elba. Photo: Roberto Ridi

7/Elba, Tuscan Archipelago, Italy Elba is mainly known as the island where Napoleon lived in exile. Yet, what a beautiful prison it is! With its bright-white cliffs, deep-blue waters and dark-green vegetation, the island seems to be the creation of an expressionist painter. In the small harbour villages, you can find excellent seafood in many a small restaurant amidst the colourful houses. As far as the weather goes, you don’t have to worry, either. Although the island’s weather can change very fast, and a drop of rain isn’t exceptional, you can usually enjoy the soothing sun for the lion’s share of the day. During May, the tourist office even offers a sun guarantee. Whenever it rains more than two hours a day, your stay gets completely refunded!

Elba. Photo: Roberto Ridi

Elba. Photo: Roberto Ridi

Elba. Photo: Roberto Ridi

An air connection between London and Elba doesn’t exist, currently. The fastest way to Elba is by flying to Pisa (plenty of flights a day from all of London’s airports) and taking a train to Piombino, where you can hop on a ferry.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Ten islands to visit

Capelinhos Volcano, Faial. Photo: Mauricio de Abreu

8/ Faial, Azores, Portugal Faial (Portuguese for beech forest) is worthy of its name. The green island is filled with trees, plants and bushes, giving it its lush look. Central on the isle, you find the Caldeira, a two-kilometre-wide crater which was caused by volcanic eruptions. The last eruption on Faial took place in 1957 and 1958, when the Caplinhos erupted for multiple months, covering the island in a cloud of smoke. The heavy eruption also marked the geography of the island as it grew by no less than two and a half square kilo-

metres of land at its west corner. Only the lighthouse, which used to adorn the corner of the island but now looks upon a black mountain, reminds you that the isle’s black tail wasn’t there before.

To get to Failal, you can fly to São Miguel (as described earlier), where the local airline Sata provides daily 50-minute transfer flights. Caldeira, Faial. Photo, Roland Koch

9/ Mont Saint-Michel, France Although it is – by far – the least exotic island on the list, the Mont Saint-Michel is the one to welcome the most visitors per square metre. Annually, over three and a half million people visit the three-square-kilometre isle. Located just a kilometre from Normandy’s coast, the Mont Saint-Michel is only an island for 12 hours a day. Because of the tides, the road between the island and the mainland is sometimes flooded and sometimes open. Today, however, a bridge welcomes you to the island at any hour of the day. Make sure to visit the iconic abbey on top and take your time to stroll through the cosy streets. In the many cute restaurants, you can eat the best French delicacies around in a mostenchanting décor. In fact, the island is so fairytale-like, that Disney used it as its inspiration for Corona, the kingdom from the film Tangled.

Mont Saint-Michel. Photo: Atout France, Marc Lerouge

From London Southend, both Air France and Flybe offer two direct flights to Rennes Mont Saint-Michel. Photo: Atout France, Marc Lerouge

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Mont Saint-Michel. Photo: Atout France, Nathalie BaetensBoard

every day. From here, you can continue your trip to the island by car.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Ten islands to visit

10/ Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain Menorca is the place to go for beach lovers who wish to escape the tourist craze that you find on most of the Balearic Islands. The island has more sandy beaches than Ibiza and Mallorca combined and just a fraction of its visitors. Most of its beaches are housed in so-called calas: small coves amidst the rocky cliffs. On top of the rocks, a path of almost 300 kilometres stretches out, circling the island. This Cami de Cavalls is perfect for a walk with an ocean view but it is even more suited to be conquered on horseback. As the citizens of Menorca adore their steeds, the island’s paths are perfectly equipped for galloping through the sea breeze. But it is not all sun and sports, here. With plenty of vineyards and gin distilleries on the island, you can just as well immerse yourself in its local culture on a terrace with a drink.

As a popular paradise close to home, plenty of direct flights head from London’s different airports to Menorca every day. Menorca. Photo: Menorca Tourist Board

Macarelleta, Menorca. Photo: Menorca Tourist Board

Menorca. Photo: Menorca Tourist Board

Cala Galdana, Menorca. Photo: Menorca Tourist Board

Macarelleta, Menorca. Photo: Menorca Tourist Board

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Spain’s most stunning island and coastal retreats Nothing screams Spain like a beach, a cocktail and the soothing sounds of the crashing waves. Luckily, Spain has beaches galore. Altogether, the country counts over 8,000 kilometres of coastline, spread over the peninsula and its many islands. To make sure you lay down your towel on the prettiest of them all, we have listed our favourite getaways located a stone’s throw from the sea. From the exotic Canary Islands to the historic Costa Brava and the picturesque Balearic Islands: these spots are the perfect locations in which to leave all stress behind you and enjoy the sun, the sea and the sand. PHOTOS: PIXABAY

Maspalomas, Gran Canaria.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain’s most stunning island and coastal retreats

Costa Brava.

Los Gigantes, Tenerife. Photo: Wikipedia


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Exploring the real Tenerife in the town of The Giants Far from the party towns and pumping clubs in the south of Tenerife sits a more authentic and local side to the island – the town of The Giants. No this isn’t the fictional village of Brobdingnag from Gulliver’s Travels, but the resort town of Los Gigantes. TEXT: ESME FOX  |  PHOTOS: ROYAL SUN RESORT


he small town, located on the upper-western edge of the Canary Island, is named after the giant rock formations which rise almost 800 metres out of the ocean, towering over the land. Formed roughly seven million years ago, the Teno Mountains provide an atmospheric backdrop to your holiday. This is the real Tenerife, where you can experience nature 18  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

and tranquility whilst still enjoying the many services that the town has to offer.

Bubbles with a panoramic view Set among the local shops, cafes and restaurants, sit a handful of excellent resorts in which to base yourself. One such resort is the Royal Sun, one of the closest hotels to the extraordinary volcanic black sand Playa

de los Gigantes, or Giant’s Beach. It’s the unparalleled views which set the Royal Sun Resort apart from many others on the island, providing stunning vistas of the towering giants, and across the sea to the small neighbouring island of La Gomera. The Royal Sun Resort is a popular choice with families, offering 120 self-catering apartments, complete with full kitchens and large private balconies with those all-important ocean views. There are standard one-tothree-bedroom apartments with a classic style and one-to-three-bedroom deluxe apartments featuring avant garde design. “My favourite apartments are the Jacuzzi

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain’s most stunning island retreats

ones,” says deputy general manager, Erika Orta. “Just imagine the bubbles and the panoramic views over the ocean, paired with the tranquillity and privacy of the top floor”.

Restaurants and swimming pools Although the resort offers the ease of selfcatering for families, it also has two onsite restaurants. The Regency Restaurant offers international buffets and a heated terrace with great ocean views, while the Aqua Restaurant offers romance, elegance and fine dining. The latter is headed up by acclaimed chef, Lucas Maes, and serves a range of beautifully-presented international dishes with a touch of regional flavours. But again, it’s the backdrop that really makes this restaurant special, where you can dine watching the sunset glow orange against the ocean. “It’s the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or enjoy the best gastronomy in the area,” says Orta. Besides the luxury accommodation and fine dining, the Royal Sun Resort offers several excellent facilities, including two swimming pools, a gym and a playground. There are plenty of places where the children can play, but also places where you can relax, such as the rooftop solarium, where you can enjoy watching the waves while you sunbathe, as well as the indulgent massage services.

Fauna and flora But you don’t have to spend all your time at the hotel, as the Royal Sun is located in the perfect spot to explore the wider area of Los Gigantes, and the resort will even provide bi-

cycle and car rental to help you do so. Nearby, you can find everything from natural swimming holes and rock pools to hiking. Just a short drive away, visitors can also see one of the oldest living trees on the planet – the Millennium Dragon Tree in Icod de los Vinos, a fertile area of citrus orchards and vineyards.

ing through. These include everything from minke and sperm whales to orcas. Diving is also at the top of the list, with trips from Los Gigantes Diving Centre, taking visitors to see underwater worlds filled with stingrays, eels, sea turtles and shoals of colourful fish. They also offer snorkelling trips for families.

The waters around the Los Gigantes also make for a fabulous playground, an ideal place for sailing and boating from the marina, as well as whale and dolphin-watching trips. In fact, the ocean here has one of the greatest concentrations of marine life in the area, with 28 different species either living there or pass-

All of this can be explored and experienced from your luxury apartment base at the Royal Sun Resort, a place with all the comforts of home, yet all the deluxe facilities of a four-star resort.

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A hotel group with a difference in the heart of the Balearic islands

With its blissfully sandy beaches and artfully rugged coastline, Mallorca has long been renowned as one of the most beautiful of the Balearic islands. A favourite with A-listers from Michelle Obama and the Spanish Royal Family to native Rafa Nadal, Richard Branson, James Blunt and ABBA, the island is also home to some exceptionally beautiful hotels, none more so than those belonging to the familyrun Torre de Canyamel Group.

pos, in the south of Mallorca, was opened in 2011. The hotel has a stunning location in the midst of the Es Trenc National Park, just five kilometres from Es Tranc’s beautiful naturist beach (to which the hotel provides guests with a private transfer).


However, the hotel’s star feature is its thermal spa – the only spa of its kind in the Balearics. The mineral-rich waters (which naturally reach around 37 degrees), have been used therapeutically since Roman times and hotel guests can now enjoy them in the form of a large thermal pool, double or single individual thermal baths and a thermal Jacuzzi.


hat makes our hotels different,” begins Carol Cardero, director of marketing for the Torre de Canyamel Group, “is that we have exceptional locations and we are also a family-run, Mallorcan group, so we are deeply connected to the land and the traditions of the island, using locally sourced and home-grown produce. We pride ourselves on our gastronomy and our hotels are home to some of the best restaurants in Mallorca. There’s also a sense of individuality about our hotels. They were all originally homes owned by the family and we believe in making sure that our guests still get 20  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

that same feeling of being at home, whilst enjoying modern day comfort and luxury.”

The hotels The 26-room five-star, adults-only, Can Simoneta boutique hotel, on the island’s north-eastern coast, was the first hotel to be opened by the group in 2004, and sits high atop cliffs with wonderful views of the Bay of Canyamel. There’s direct access to the pinefringed Canyamel beach, a fine-dining restaurant and a wellness centre with hammam, sauna and treatment rooms. The similarly exclusive, five-star Fontsanta Hotel in Cam-

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain’s most stunning island retreats

You’ll also find an ice fountain, hot and cold showers, sauna and hammam as well as treatment rooms. Elsewhere, the hotel also features two large outdoor swimming pools amidst the landscaped gardens.


In 2014, the group opened the 27-room boutique hotel Convent de la Missió in what was, as the name suggests, originally a convent in the heart of Palma’s historic Old Town. With its elegant, streamlined, contemporary décor, the hotel also features a sauna and indoor pool in the basement, as well as a solarium and a small gym. For drinks, there’s the stylish ‘Art Bar’, which regularly hosts exhibitions by top local artists, whilst the Michelin-starred restaurant Marc Fosh is a foodie destination in its own right.

The flagship restaurant Porxada de Sa Torre is just a few metres from Torre de Canyamel and first opened its doors some 70 years ago. The restaurant is renowned across the island for its traditional Mallorquin cuisine and in particular its ‘porcella’ aka suckling pig, using pigs raised on their own farm surrounding the restaurant.

There are six restaurants within the Torre de Canyamel group and guests at the hotels receive preferential bookings at all of them.

Elsewhere, there is top-class fine dining at Cal Simoneta, Restaurant Marc Fosh and Restaurant Fontsanta, whilst the elegant

beachfront Arenal de Canyamel serves up quality, fresh grilled fish and light snacks. The group also produces its own olive oil at Can Simoneta and fruit and vegetables from the orchards at Pleta de Mar. “We really understand the land and the gastronomic traditions of our island,” concludes Cardero, “and we’re working hard to preserve those both sustainably and culturally. Our guests understand that and that’s why they return, again and again.” Room prices across the four hotels range from €450 to €2,300.

The newest addition to the group – the 30suite Pleta de Mar is a five-star Grand Luxe deluxe hotel, facing the sea just 200 metres from Can Simoneta. With two infinity pools, a restaurant and spa set amidst Mediterranean gardens and woodland and private access to the beach, the hotel is a genuine haven from the stresses of modern life.

History and culture The group takes its name from the 13thcentury tower in the small village of Canyamel, where they hold concerts and cultural events. With a memorable stage setting amidst the grounds of the tower, artists range from star Spanish singers Luz Casal and Maria del Mar Bonet to classical Russian pianist Arcadi Volodos. The group also stages exhibitions by prominent local artists at its hotels. Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  21

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain’s most stunning island retreats

Your luxurious home from home in Gran Canaria “Your luxurious home from home,” is exactly how sales and marketing manager, Lisa Tuckman, describes the five-star Grand Hotel Residencia: a Seaside Collection hotel, and the sole member of The Leading Hotels of the World on Spain’s Gran Canaria island. TEXT: ESME FOX  |  PHOTOS: GRAND HOTEL RESIDENCIA


legant? Definitely. Refined? Yes. But, homely is perhaps more reserved for Bed & Breakfasts and guesthouses than five-star Grand Luxe hotels. Yet, the five-star Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia is effortlessly understated, set in a palm-filled oasis with its light and airy colonial décor. In fact, it was created when founder Theo Gerlach had the idea to make the best hotel in the Canary Islands, a hotel where guests would feel among friends in a private residence. “70 per cent of our clientele are actually repeat customers,” says Tuckman, so it seems like Gerlach’s original idea paid off. Located close to the famed Maspalomas Beach, the hotel affords spectacular views over the sand dunes, the palm oasis and the mountains. “It’s discreet, yet luxurious, and offers the ultimate in comfort,” says Tuckman. The common areas are decorated in lots of dark wood with white orchids, 22  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

while the rooms and suites are housed in stylish two-story villas. The rest of the hotel is decorated in tones of whites, yellows and blues – the colours of the Canarian flag. The restaurant is an exquisite space, providing romantic views and serving Mediterranean cuisine created by Michelinstarred chef Wolfgang Grobauer. It offers a varied seasonal menu with lots of fresh produce and seafood. There’s ‘a la carte’ or luxury buffets and barbecues with lobster, as well as homemade ice cream.

Surrounded by lush gardens, palms and pools, the hotel attracts a distinguished clientele. Some of the luxurious services on offer include an aqua gym and personal trainer. There are also golf packages available, combining your stay with a few rounds at one of Gran Canaria’s six top-quality 18-hole courses. As Gran Canaria is a top wellness destination, there is, of course, a lush spa to unwind in, featuring a salt water pool, a steam bath, sauna and salt cave. A secluded oasis where you can holiday and relax among friends, Tuckman sums up the feeling of the Grand Hotel Residencia by saying: “Arriving here feels like walking into a different world, hidden away”.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain’s most stunning coastal retreats

Simple sumptuousness You may have heard that the town of Begur and the island of Cuba have a lot in common. In the 19th century, many of the Spanish emigrated to the Caribbean looking for fortune, and came back as wealthy traders. They were the so-called 'Indians’, and Begur’s streets and inhabitants carry a huge footprint of these Indians' culture. Among its cosy, colonial houses stands La Indiana de Begur, a beautiful boutique hotel designed to share the spirit of the Empordà region with you. Its owners, Mario Suris and Laura Garcia, have taken care of everything down to the smallest detail so that you can find yourself in a worriless state-of-mind in this unmissable, adults-only colonial house right in the heart of beautiful Begur.

Start your day feeling completely revitalised, waking up in a super king-size bed, with a mattress made of natural fibres, South African cotton and Australian wool. Take a warm shower and spoil yourself with unique and personalised amenities, soaps, oils and creams, made especially for La Indiana de Begur. Whenever you feel like it, ask for your homemade breakfast and have

Stay in a historic farmhouse in the Empordà, Dalí’s homeland Between the soaring Pyrenees and the Catalan coastline of the Costa Brava, sit the quaint, honey-coloured villages and vineyards of the Empordà. This picturesque region is primarily known for two things – its historic wine production and being the birth place of the artist Salvador Dalí. It is here, in this stunning area, just outside the town of Figueres, where the Dalí Theatre Museum is located, that you’ll find the Hotel Mas Bosch 1526. It sits in an enviable position, 20 kilometres from the Costa Brava’s picturesque coastline and just 55 minutes by high-speed train from Barcelona. Set in a graceful stone-covered 16thcentury traditional farmhouse, this boutique hotel features unique elements such as Renaissance windows, stone carvings and floral reliefs on its façade, and even a castle-like defence tower. Inside, the farmhouse has been completely renovated and modernised, whilst keeping the original features such as stone

walls, central arches and wood-beamed ceilings. “With just 16 rooms, it offers a friendly and intimate atmosphere and plenty of space for relaxing,” says Eva Campos, director of the hotel. Each room is meticulously polished and cosy, offering stunning views over the surrounding fields, mountains or the Roses Bay beyond.


it either in your room or on the picturesque terrace. All the products are local, fresh and delicious. And don’t hesitate to make any special request, as this ‘petit’ boutique hotel happily does all it takes to become your second home. The cherry on the top of this marvelous hotel is its rooftop’s private chill-out area. After a pleasant massage, enjoy a private bath in the hot tub with a glass of Cava, while the castle of Begur lights up and the starry night enchants in the sky above you.


For further relaxation, the hotel even has its own spa and wellness area, infinity pool, wine bar and terrace bar for breakfast. There’s also a restaurant serving dishes made from fresh local produce. “And when you want to get out and explore, there’s the Dalí Theatre Museum to discover, and wineries just close by,” enthuses Campos. A stay at Hotel Mas Bosch makes for the ideal boutique break for history, art and wine.

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Where history meets luxury Imagine saying 'I do' in this unique medieval castle surrounded by earthy fields, small towns from the Middle Ages, and the salty wind of the Mediterranean. All of this is possible in Hotel Castell d’Empordà, a restored castle standing on the top of a hill crowning the beautiful landscape that is Costa Brava, the perfect mix between antique and contemporary design. TEXT: GERARD PLANA  |  PHOTOS: HOTEL CASTELL D’EMPORDÀ


very year, Albert Diks and his family used to spend their summer holidays driving along the sunny roads of el Baix Empordà,” explains Jesús Vázquez, director of the Hotel Castell d’Empordà. “Albert got fascinated by the castles and villages of the area, and dreamed of owning one of those in the future.” Indeed, many years later, Albert would make his dream come true. The stunning Hotel Castell d’Empordà is a restored medieval castle, whose beauty captivated even the Spanish painter Salvador Dalí. After being abandoned for 80 years, the castle got illuminated again thanks to the creative sparks of Albert and his wife Margo. You can feel art and 24  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

history in every corner of the hotel: the old stone walls, the classic furniture, the sculptures or even the interesting reproductions of the Waterloo battle or the assault to the castle; everything is set to let you travel

through history inside this unique castle in the Baix Empordà.

The perfect spot for the 'I do' Many celebrities have chosen the Hotel Castell d’Empordà for their special occasions. And the castle has everything you could wish for turning your special occasion into an everlasting memory. The centenary olive grove is dressed up for the celebration with white chairs under the olive foliage, which would stay in harmony with the soft smell of thyme and lavender plants of the surrounding gardens. “Besides this, it’s possible to do the ceremony in the chapel attached to the castle, an unspoiled cosy building from the 17th century,” explains Jesús. That is the perfect place to say those two magic words. Afterwards, the party can continue while the sun sets behind the Pyrenees and the picturesque small villages of the area.

Leave your guests thinking ‘wow!’ Castell d’Empordà is a small medieval town that counts less than 50 inhabitants. It

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hotel of the month

counts only one street of which the stonemade houses look out on the impressive castle at the top of the village. When you get there, olive trees and a fountain filled with waterlilies welcome your guests to this magnificent place. The hotel’s notorious meeting room Napoleón – a space for more than 100 people with direct access to the terrace – is an extraordinary spot for your events to take place and leave your guests thinking ‘wow!’. Because what can be better than a distinguished business event at the terrace with jazzy music playing in the background and the exquisite environment of Castell d’Empordà to look out on?

Time travelling, food savouring The hotel counts two amazing restaurants. Drac (dragon in Catalan) is the perfect place for tasting Mediterranean food with a pinch of haute cuisine added by chef Robin Blaauw. Like the rest of the castle, the restaurant is decorated with excellent taste, down to the finest detail. Tres Margarit is the hotel’s other bar and restaurant. It got its name from one of the first owners of the castle, Pere Margarit, a noble lord from Girona who took part in Columbus’ expeditions. This bar on the terrace, adjoining the swimming pool, is the

cosiest place to relax, with a stunning view of the Empordà plain, and is most certainly the best corner to have a drink in whilst watching the sunset in the evening. Nonetheless, this historic fortress at the beautiful Costa Brava is a place in motion, as its owners make sure to add something new, different or even old with every season passing; the decoration gets updated seasonally so, whenever you return, you will stay in a brand-new castle again.

Hotel Castell d’Empordà is located in the heart of el Baix Empordà, not far from La Bisbal d’Empordà, where you can shop for some unique handmade pottery pieces, and the charming medieval city of Girona. The castle lies right in the centre of the so-called Dalí triangle. Cadaqués (the hometown of painter Salvador Dalí), Púbol (the town where he built a castle for his muse, Gala) and Figueres (his birthplace) are all less than 40 minutes away. Don’t miss the incredibly stunning caves and small bays of Costa Brava, either. Just follow the rocky cliffs and peaceful pine trees from one stunning view to the next.

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Tuna steak with black garlic sauce.

‘Meloso’ rice with ‘boca negra’ fish.

Creamy chocolate and mint dessert.

A bite of Fuerteventura Among the sand dunes and turquoise sea, follow the smell of grilled fish to a cosy and not so traditional restaurant, where you can try only the best of Majoreran gastronomy: a mix of exciting tastes and adventurous flavours that will make you almost forget the beach for a second. TEXT: NOELIA SANTANA  |  PHOTOS: DAVID BLAS


uan José Medialdea is the chef on a mission to make people try something more than just tapas when they visit the island. He has dedicated the past 20 years travelling the world learning countless culinary techniques, from Japan to Jamaica. And Salvaje is his place to put all these skills to very tasty use. The menu changes every week, but the main goal is always the same: to make the most of the produce. “We focus on seasonal, fresh and top-quality products, and let the ingredients dictate what’s the right

Chef Juan José Medialdea.

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way to cook them. It’s an ancient cooking technique, a more innovative approach, a traditional style – we try to provide just what the product needs in order to bring out the best flavours,” explains Juan José. For instance, they cook the mussels following the old ways Canary fishermen used to, throwing them over stones with ‘julaga’ – a typical plant of the island – that adds a smoky flavour to the mussels. It’s probably one of the purest ways of enjoying these sea delights that you will ever encounter.

King prawns in mango ‘tiger’s milk’.

But it’s not all about the fruits of the sea in Salvaje. You can taste the Majoreran goat cooked in so many different ways that you won’t believe it’s the same meat: grilled ribs with a mango sauce or in tacos, ‘Canary style’. The ingredients are all locally sourced, eco-friendly when possible, even some gathered from the salt-sprayed coastal flora of the island. Afterwards, satiate a sweet tooth with their famous Majoreran goat’s cheese cheesecake, caramelised and served with fresh fruits. “We want to treat our customers to a comfortable but unique experience. We want them to feel how much tender care and respect we put into cooking each product of meat or fish,” says the chef. It doesn’t stop at food, however. Salvaje also has a fine selection of wines to pique your taste buds. Sourced from small, local wineries, there are not many bottles alike. And all serve as ideal accompaniments to the global gastronomy. Facebook: Restaurante Salvaje Instagram: @salvajerestaurante Reservations: or 0034 660 83 96 15

Italian coffee for beginners No better way to start (as well as to continue and end) the day than with an energising sip of coffee. And where better to drink your cuppa than in Italy, the land of top-quality caffeine? But, are you familiar enough with the local etiquette and the café’s lingo to do so? As every self-respecting Italian bar has at least ten exotic-sounding varieties on the menu (which all end in ‘o’), ordering the right thing might be tricky. With this beginner’s guide, however, you will fool every barista into thinking you are a true expert of the black gold. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS  |  PHOTOS: PEXELS

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Italian coffee for beginners


et us tackle this myth first: coffee was not invented in Italy. Instead, the Ethiopians brewed the first cup of it, at least a century before Europe joined the party. When the drink entered our continent in the 16th century, Italians were amongst the first to drink it in high quantities. To date, the nation is extremely proud of its coffee culture. And a rich culture that is.

What should I order? Italian coffee comes in plenty of forms: doppio, macchiato, shakerato and many other names only George Clooney can pronounce gracefully. Yet, to decide which one you want, you just have to ask yourself three simple questions: “Do I want milk?”, “How strong should my coffee be?” and “Do I prefer it hot or cold?”. Those who like their coffee black can either go for an espresso (a single shot of coffee), a doppio (two of these shots), a lungo (an espresso with twice as much water) or a ristretto (an espresso with half the water – the strongest one in the family). Cream lovers might opt for a cappuccino (an espresso with equally much milk and foam on top), a macchiato (an espresso with a splash of milk foam) or a caffè latte (an espresso with lots of milk). On summer days, a caffè shakerato (a shaken espresso with syrup and ice cubes) is the way to go.

Photo: Pixabay

How should I order? Walk into a local-looking café, queue at the bar and order your coffee by its elegant Italian name. Don’t hesitate to ask the barista for some modifications like semi-hot milk or a little more water. Being picky about your coffee is not considered rude but a sign of involvement. Pay at the counter, take your receipt and pick up your coffee at the other side of the bar. Then, you better drink your coffee standing. Many cafés charge double if you dare to sit down with your cup of joe. And for that money, you’d be better just drinking two coffees, no?

When should I order? For Italians, all hours of the day are perfect for a coffee. Yet, you can’t order whatever you want at any given time. An Italian will, for example, never order a coffee with milk in the afternoon or evening. After having enjoyed your breakfast cappuccino, you better switch to espressos and lungos.

How much: When escaping the crowded touristic squares, you can easily drink an espresso at a bar for anything between €0.80 and €1.20. Where to go: For a unique coffee experience, head to Caffè Florian at Venice’s Piazza San Marco. The bar has been around since 1720, making it one of the oldest coffee bars in the world.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

France’s top beers and breweries There is no denying it: France is an undisputed wine Walhalla. In every touristic spot in the nation, glasses of Chardonnay and Bordeaux are served as if they were water. Yet, if you set foot in one of the country’s local pubs, you’ll notice surprisingly many ales, beers and hops on the tables. This last decade, micro-breweries have popped up in all corners of France, producing brews with a twist. And the French just can’t get enough of it! TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS: PIXABAY/PEXELS


ot that long ago, in the early 20th century, France was a country of avid beer drinkers. At its high point, the nation counted over 1,000 breweries in all corners of the country. With industrialisation, many people moved to the cities, jeopardising the culture of local, countryside breweries. It wasn’t until the two World Wars, however, that the artisanal industry went down. Ingredients became scarce, clients could no longer afford luxuries like quality alcohol and some brewing equipment even got confiscated by the French government to turn it into bullets.

For almost a century, France’s beer culture was limited to a handful of industrial, soulless lagers in the supermarket. Yet, in the last decade, French brewing culture has been experiencing a renaissance. Where, in 2009, France only had 322 breweries, the country counts close to 1,200 of them today. Most of them are microbreweries, in which craft, creativity and experiment are more important than building an empire or making a fortune. Today’s French brewing culture is one of innovation and passion: and that, you can taste with every sip. Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  31

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

A variety of flavours As in its neighbouring countries, Belgium and Germany, beer is nearly considered a food group of its own in France. The shelves of your local beer parlour are filled with numerous sorts of beers, both traditional and avant-garde. This way, there is something for everyone and every occasion. A typical French variety is the bière de garde (beer for keeping), a strong pale ale, traditionally from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. Farmers used to brew these themselves in winter and spring, to ensure they would have tasty hops to drink in summer and autumn as well, when the yeast production can be unpredictable. Today, most of these recipes are bought by humongous brewing conglomerates: yet, plenty of small breweries still bottle their family recipes to this day. And those, usually, taste just like they used to a century ago. Another grand tradition amongst the French copper kettles is the brewing of seasonal beers, mainly in March and in winter. While the snow thaws and the first flowers start to pop, breweries present their bière de mars (March beer) or bière de printemps (spring 32  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

beer). These top-fermented ales drink easily as they only contain 4.5 to 5.5 per cent of alcohol, which isn’t too much for a degustation ale. In October, the breweries start brewing their bière de Noël (or, Christmas beer), which is quite a bit stronger and is very rich and soothing in flavour to keep you warm during the coldest months.

Barley, malt and water Although France is not the first country you would associate with beer, it is not weird that the nation has such exquisite brewing skills. As it is the largest barley producer in Europe and the world’s biggest malt exporter (23 per cent of all the malt on earth grows in French fields), all the ingredients for a great brew grow right there where they need to. Combine them with the pure water that seeps from the mighty mountains surrounding France and you’ve got the perfect biotope to set up a brewery. So, whenever you are in France, try to resist the siren’s call of odorant Sauvignons and bubbly Champagnes and order a local beer instead. We have selected our absolute favourite French brews and would love to take you to their respective breweries for a degustation. Santé! Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  33

Where the wild beers are If you go down to the woods today, you’ll find the beer of the future. Brasserie Mira is an innovative brewery and gastropub like no other – rising from the wild dunes and pine forests of Arcachon Bay in south-west France, they produce award winning beers using the region’s ancient spring water. TEXT: KATE HARVEY  |  PHOTOS: BRASSERIE MIRA


here is little better way to describe the Mira brewery, other than utterly weird and wonderful. Founders Jacques Bellec and Aurélien Rey trace their origins back to their travels through the wilderness of Northern Canada; it was here that they were inspired by herds of caribous, alongside the ethereal atmosphere of the Landes forest back home. “After travelling, we were reminded of the fantastic local resources available to us in our region. 34  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

That is when we decided to open our own microbrewery,” recounts Rey.

Ancient Aquitaine alchemy The rare quality of the spring water in this corner of the world has existed for an incredible 22,500 years, and contains no pesticides, nitrate or chlorine. Perfectly mineralised, it’s no wonder that the founders returned to Arcachon’s turquoise bay to brew craft ale. You might notice the graphic

creatures etched onto each of the bottles: “Our symbol is the two-headed chimera, because the water that we use is almost as old as this mythological creature itself,” Rey reveals. “The name ‘Mira’, in fact, comes from the Latin word mirabilia, which means ‘a marvel’.” And it certainly is.

Making waves across the Atlantic Their collection currently spans a range of blonde, pale, brown and amber ales along with a handful of organically produced brews. Rumour has spread as far as the United States regarding the quality of craft ale produced in the basin of south-west France. And for the eighth edition of the Miami Challenge in Florida, Mira came home with three gold and two silver med-

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

als – they’re certainly taking the world by storm. It doesn’t stop there, either – they’ve won gold and silver medals for their No.1 bottle at the acclaimed World Beer Awards, silver for their gluten free organic beer and No.2 Pale Ale – and are Country Winners for a whole host more. Rey explains, “We were selected out of 4,000 beers from the United States, Asia and Europe in a blind testing competition.”

A bit of ‘gin ne sais quoi’ Mira has recently turned its hand to distilling its very own London Gin – a beverage that pairs exceptionally with its very own Mira tonic. Produced with expertly selected botanicals such as juniper berries, coriander, kaffir lime, kampot pepper and pine needles, this gin is a testament to their ambition. “We collaborated with a talented illustrator, Steven Salvat, to illustrate the myth behind the gin’s conception. You can see this on the bottom of the bottle – the little details are particularly important,” says Rey. The Mira Gin also won its first Gold Medal at the Miami Challenge this year.

Serving up something savage Visitors are also invited to step into the Pub Mira, a gastropub concept that was launched in 2017 in the coastal town of La-Teste-de-Buch. “We collaborate with local bakers to produce fresh bread, and

we also have a garden for growing vegetables sustainably and seasonally. All of this is then freshly served in our restaurant,” Rey says. “Our bar now also has a happy hour, from 6 pm to 8 pm every day.”

A cave of musical pleasures Wielding a team of musicians, plant scientists and malt brewers, they are passionate

about the chemistry of brewing fantastic ale. But they haven’t lost sight of their other passions: “We’re both musicians, and can’t deny that this is what brought us together. We decided to weave it into our brewery concept, and now we have our own music academy. We’re also selling custom Mira musical instruments in our shop,” reveals Rey. The Mira brewery is quickly becoming a musical hub of sorts – hosting open-mic nights to attract local talent. ‘We have a concert hall hosting two to three gigs a week throughout the year, and four recording studios for artists to use. We’ve created a convivial cultural space in Arcachon Bay, and we’re excited for what the future has in store.” he explains.

For art’s sake It’s no surprise that Mira is also creating a vibrant artistic space within its four walls. Mira’Art is the brewery’s very own artist collective that is set to host a series of workshops and exhibitions at the pub. Mira’s whimsical brand image is only set to expand, in both France and beyond. Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  35

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

English ale, French Pyrenees Putting the Anglo-French rivalry to bed once and for all, the Brasserie du PaysToy in the Hautes-Pyrenees region combines fresh, local produce with a love for proper English ale. Cyclists, beer enthusiasts, and lovers of the outdoors unite – to enjoy a pint near to some of the Tour de France’s most breathtaking climbs. TEXT: KATE HARVEY  |  PHOTOS: BRASSERIE DU PAYS TOY

When the Dixons moved to Sassis in 2009, they discovered that with all the gastronomy on offer, there was still a need for real, quality ale. “Coming from Newcastleupon-Tyne, classics such as the Newcastle Brown Ale were hard to come by in southwest France,” explains owner, Paul Dixon. “But there are so many wonderful ingredients here, and the mountain spring water is optimum for creating fantastic ale.” Taking matters into their own hands, they began to brew award-winning English ales in the Pyrenean peaks. For a pitstop near to one of the legendary routes of the Tour de France, also known as the ‘cols mythiques’, the Pays

Toy brewery is a fantastic place for sipping a cold one. They also have a bespoke beer selection for cyclists after they’ve got off the saddle; each of which is inspired by a nearby mountain pass. “We’re incredibly inspired by our surroundings,” says Loïc Lassalle, who assists with production. Lassalle explains their passion for local produce: “We give our craft beer to a nearby butcher; their speciality is in fact sausages cooked slowly in Pays Toy brown ale.” The brewery invites visitors to join them and discover the world of malt, hops and casks with one of their nine beer varieties.

A grain-to-glass family affair Championing the local food movement in the Val d’Oise area of the Paris region, the Brasserie d’Orville is a brewery committed to producing awardwinning craft beers. They carry out the entire process themselves – from growing the barley, right through to bottling. The family farm in Louvres has been cultivating crops for more than a century, but a little over a year ago, brothers Julien and Thibaut Baron decided to brew artisanal beer using their own produce. “It gives more meaning to farming; we know exactly what goes into the bottle as everything is grown in our fields,” says Thibaut, one half of the brother duo. Even the barley for malting is produced on-site – a rarity in the craft beer universe.

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Their efforts have come to fruition for their ‘Hoppy Pony’ IPA, which received a Gold Medal at the 2019 ‘Concours Générale Agricole’ in Paris. Striving for quality has certainly paid off, with a set of six beers that has collectively won nine medals. The siblings continue to push boundaries in the craft beer realm, as Thibaut reveals: “Some exciting products in the pipeline include a stronger bar-


ley wine, and beer finished in Cognac, Bourbon and Jamaican rum casks.” As of September 2019, the Brasserie will open a shop and convivial bar with a terrace overlooking the estate – a wonderful spot to enjoy a cold glass. “Here, visitors can learn all about production; this fosters a deeper connection to our beers, which they can then go on to enjoy at the bar,” explains Thibaut. Empowering other local businesses, you can find their products in smaller shops throughout Paris.

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

The beauty of a Breton brew What better way to savour the soaring cliffs of the Emerald Coast of France than with a local craft beer in hand? A visit to the microbrewery Brasserie Fréheloise is a must for those looking to experience the best of Brittany’s beer with stunning surroundings to match. TEXT: KATE HARVEY  |  PHOTOS: BRASSERIE LA FRÉHELOISE

After several years experimenting in his kitchen, Youenn Pibot decided to devote himself to brewer training in 2014. The very same year, he and his wife Sylvie began producing their first set of beers; each one stamped with the ancient Breton symbol of the stoat, or ‘ermine’. Fast-forward five years, and the couple own a thriving microbrewery dedicated to tasting, producing and selling, in the picturesque village of Fréhel. The windswept setting of the Cap Fréhel peninsula is also the point of departure for the iconic transatlantic yacht race, the Route du Rhum, and the perfect place to stop by and enjoy a glass of the local brew. The brewery also stocks local products such as

honey and fish rillettes caught fresh from the Brittany coastline. Right now, there is the ‘Dukez’ collection, which is gently spiced with the likes of cinnamon and coriander. The other is the ‘Rouanez’, which translates to ‘queen’ from the

original Breton – its roots firmly Celtic. “We created the ‘Rouanez-Aour’ amber ale for the festive season, but due to popular demand, we’ve brewed it every other season of the year, too!” Youenn laughs. “It recently won the Silver Medal at a food competition, out of more than a thousand beers.” La Fréheloise is now also producing an organic selection, and welcomes visitors to learn about the chemistry of brewing. Tours can be organised on request. Facebook: Bieres Fréhel

Terroir Temperament Located at the foothills of the Larzac mountain plateau of southern Aveyron, the Brewery La Caussenarde lies in an idyllic spot of south-western France. La Caussenarde was founded in a farm that belonged to a Cistercian Abbey by the Augais family, a farming enterprise who had decided to diversify their activity. Baptiste, one of the Augais brothers, learned the brewing craft in the Alps between Switzerland and France before officially starting the business in October 2008. TEXT: PIERRE ANTOINE ZAHND

Although one might call the Caussenarde beers ‘artisanal’, they should be more precisely known as ‘farm beer’. The difference

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lies in the fact that the Augais themselves grow the entirety of the cereals used in their production. The same barley that goes into

their beer is also used to feed their ewes, who in turn produce milk used to produce Roquefort, the ‘king of French cheeses’. They also produce an impressive range of beers: their regular production includes classics such as a blonde and an amber, as well as seasonal favourites – a white and a saison for spring, and for the winter, a triple and an imperial stout. They also offer two beers brewed from the more atypical bases of oat and mixed four cereals, respectively. Although they come from time-tried tradition, they like to experiment: their recent Bariquette brew, for instance, a ‘barley wine’, is based on an amber recipe and brewed with twice the cereal amount. This already flavourful brew is then transferred into a single malt Scotch barrel for extra taste. Beer enthusiasts should keep an eye on what they do next: plans for the coming year include another special Bariquette release, this time in a French rum barrel, as well as other cask finishes.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

The artful brewers Based in the south-west French city of Angouleme, La Débauche Brewery has been updating the age-old concept of French style and elegance since they began in 2013. Keen on experimentation across all fronts, their beers push artistic boundaries and take the term ‘craft’ to the next level. TEXT: KATE HARVEY  |  PHOTOS: BRASSERIE LA DÉBAUCHE


tarting out as amateur brewers, founders Eglantine Clément and Aurélien Camandone turned a personal passion into a professional brewery in just four and a half years. “We put everything into this project, and rapidly grew in such a short space of time. Now we’re brewing 14,000 litres of beer a week, and exporting our products across 25 countries,” Clément recounts. “We try to use as many local ingredients as possible; our honey and hazelnuts are all grown in France, for example. Our grain comes from Belgium, and our inspiration from all over the world,” she says. Despite maintaining a ‘French gourmet’ philosophy when it comes to brewing, their imagination knows no bounds. “Besides our core range, which includes an IPA, Porter, American Pale Ale and Imperial Stout, we have created some fantastic brews with ingredients such as marshmal40  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

low and salt. We discovered a beer in the United States that’s made with peanuts, so we’re currently experimenting with that, too,” reveals Clément. With more beer drinkers turning away from traditional choices and opting for more interesting flavours, La Débauche continues to please a modern crowd with their left-field selection. Clément: “In parts of Europe, for example, we hear our raspberry Imperial

Stout Amorena is considered by many to be the best of its kind.” Combining high-art with excellent craft beer, La Débauche has become particularly famous for its unique labels: “We decided that Angouleme was a great base because, after all, this region is famous for its wine, Pineau and Cognac. However, we recruit tattoo artists and comic book illustrators from all over France, and even abroad, to to design our labels.” Clément explains. Today, visitors can visit the taproom to enjoy a pint, and learn more about the production process. “We recently moved into a space that spans 1,500 square metres, and our taproom is one of our most exciting developments,” says Clément. Upon first impression, this impressive space is nothing short of an incredible artistic project: the exterior walls are adorned in vivid graffiti, and their bar an ideal spot for tasting. The La Débauche team invites you to visit their taproom to try one of their rare smallbatch beers, or find out more about their passion for recipes that are out of this world.

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

Between grape and barley While the Brasserie des Gabariers is rapidly establishing itself as one of France’s foremost small-scale breweries, it does so through its association with the two beverages that the country is notorious for: wine and Cognac. In a region not usually associated with the brewing craft, their unconventional approach has put beer back on the map. TEXT: PIERRE ANTOINE ZAHND  |  PHOTOS: BRASSERIE DES GABARIERS


he Brasserie des Gabariers takes its name from the ‘Gabares’; flatbottomed boats that were historically used to sail grain alcohol and other wares up and down the Charente river. By then a familyowned affair, in 2016 the brewery was transplanted onto a winery dating back all the way to 1869, in the picturesque town of Plaizac. There, it would develop its range of top-tier craft beer, including a patented recipe based on Cognac.

It is worth noting that the Gabariers have gathered the necessary expertise to produce three distinctive lines of beer. The Atlantic, aimed at the traditional drinker, comes in four styles: white, blonde, amber, as well as a ruby. This peculiar, crimson-coloured ale receives not only a mixture of red fruits, but also a small percentage of Pineau Rosé, a juicy wine that is typical of the Charentes region. The Jack Beer (affectionately named after the family’s adopted jack russell Georgetta) is a youthful, vibrant and fruit-forward pale ale. And then there is the XO beer, perhaps the Gabariers’ most defining product. A subtle and well-balanced ‘bière de garde’, this blonde brew does not get its delicate, Cognac-like flavours through maturation

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in a barrel, as is commonly done. Instead, it undergoes a complex filtration process through which a small percentage of Cognac is directly added to the beer. As a result, the XO boasts a rich bouquet of caramel, dried red fruit and spice. To top things off, and in order for a unique drink to be poured from a unique bottle, the Gabariers have called on a local glass blower to create an unconventional and thoroughly elegant design for it. Local, in fact, seems to be the Gabariers’ creed when it comes to their production. The Cognac that goes into their beer does not come from an international brand, but from small-batch makers. Similarly, the red fruits and the Pineau Rosé added to the ruby are produced and sampled locally. At the end of the day, the Gabariers may be an atypical brewery, but they typify what represents French gastronomy at its best, and beer enthusiasts wishing to discover more may find them at their own bar, La Gabare, in the centre of Cognac.

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s top beers and breweries

A brewery with a difference in one of France’s most beautiful villages “Making beer is a bit like professional cooking,” says Nick Nimmy, owner of bijoux craft beer brewery Brasserie Artisanale de Puycelsi. “If you take the best quality ingredients and treat them well, you can deliver the most delicious flavours. It doesn’t have to be complicated. But you do need the technical knowledge and creativity to get the best from your raw ingredients.”

don’t really want to expand. The demand is always greater than our capacity to produce, but we’re not looking to go global. We just want to stay local and produce a high-quality product that we’re really proud of.”


“We consider ourselves very lucky,” he continues, “as we can live and work in one of the prettiest villages in France.” Nick is not exaggerating when it comes to Puycelsi. The walled, medieval village of Puycelsi, just an hour’s drive north of Toulouse, with its halftimbered buildings and ramparts overlooking the Grésigne forest and Vère valley, has been voted one of the most beautiful in France. Nick, who is originally from Windsor, and his American wife Susan, set up the brewery in 2016. They had previously spent over 20 years in Switzerland, where the couple both worked in IT.

“We are passionate about beer making,” Nick explains, and after a few years as amateur brewers, using plastic buckets in their kitchen, they decided to ‘go professional’. Nick took a post-graduate university diploma in biotechnology and beer making and the couple now produce about 5,000 litres of beer per year. Their beer, which is vegan, unfiltered and unpasteurised, using locally sourced organic malt, has already proved hugely popular. You can buy the beer in the village shop and in local restaurants, but Nick and Susan are keen to keep the business small. “We

Fine-tuned Parisian beer Born out of a love for old cars and bikes, the microbrewery Petrol Brewing Company have used their technical expertise to begin formulating a fine selection of eco-friendly beers. Supplying bars throughout Paris by bicycle, they’ll soon be making their way across France. TEXT: KATE HARVEY  |  PHOTO: BRASSERIE PETROL BREWING COMPANY

Founder Damien Feugeas and fellow brewer Thomas Guidet are mad about old mechanical objects, and their microbrewery is their own ‘custom engine’. “We put as much passion into the creation of our beers as we do old cars and motorcycles. We’ve developed a very particular savoir-faire; meticulously selecting ingredients with precision,” Feugeas explains. As demanding epicureans, they produce balanced, delectable beers in signature flavours. “We want to rediscover the art of brewing by using simple, local produce. Our beers are completely unfiltered and unpasteurised,” he says. In fact, this microbrewery is particularly

conscious of its environmental impact. “We try to compensate our carbon footprint by delivering bottles around Paris on foot, by bicycle or electric car.” It may be called ‘Petrol’ Beer, but locally sourced, eco-responsible ale is the only thing they’re spilling. Curiosity remains at the heart of the brewing process, alongside sharing their passion with the Petrol Beer Club community. “We spend as much time creating as experimenting with new recipes, and we love sharing our quest for unique flavours,” Petrol Beer is very much a way of life, and a way to rediscover delicious craft ale. The range includes the Coupé Ginger, Cruiser Lager, Custom IPA, Bobber Pale

Ale, and the stronger Roadster IPA and Macadam Ale. Intrigued lovers of ale can purchase their selection online at Chope Ta Biere, Ma Chopinette or directly from their website. Alternatively, you can try Petrol Beer in Paris at the Maison Plisson, D’Auteuil Brewery, l’Ile Restaurant, Celtic Corner Irish Pub and more. Facebook: petrol brewing co. Instagram: @petrolbeer

Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  43

Place du Capitole. Photo: Atout France-Franck Charel

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Discover Southern Europe  |  A weekend in Toulouse

A weekend in Toulouse:

A flying visit to the pink city Dubbed ‘la ville rose’ (the pink city) thanks to its brickwork and terracotta roof tiles, France’s fourth-largest city is dynamic and beautiful, but very relaxed, making it the perfect place for a weekend away. TEXT: KATIE TURNER


etween the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, on the Canal du Midi, Toulouse grew rich through trade, coming into its own in the 15th century, when it cornered the market in blue dye known as ‘pastel’. Many of the grand houses in the city centre were built with riches from the industry, which dried up when merchants began to import indigo from India and the New World.

Today, it’s the centre of the European aviation and space industry, home to numerous French start-ups, a world-class rugby team and more than 100,000 students. But the city retains a laid-back feel and the ‘quart d’heure toulousain’ (the Toulouse quarter of an hour) means if you’ve arranged to meet someone, they certainly won’t hold it against you for being late! So just go with the flow. Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  45

Discover Southern Europe  |  A weekend in Toulouse

Aeroscopia. Photo: Jesus Abizanda

Basilica of Saint-Sernin. Photo: Atout France, Franck Charel

Photo: HapTag

Saturday: Aeroplanes, history and the taste of Toulouse For aviation geeks, landing in Toulouse is, quite literally, the beginning of the experience. Chances are you’ll be flying in on an Airbus, which are designed and made here. Book ahead for a tour of the assembly line, then move on to Aeroscopia, which chronicles the rich history of aviation in southwest France, as well as having nearly 30 aircraft on site.

you’ll find the Place du Capitole, and you can head into the town hall to gaze up at the history of Toulouse on the ceiling in the Salle des Illustres.

If you’re not crazy about planes, get your walking shoes on. Start at the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, which is France's larges Romanesque church in France and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s been welcoming pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostella since the 11th century.

If you want Michelin stars, Michel Sarran is one of France’s best-known chefs and won’t disappoint. More down-to-earth and with a lovely view of Toulouse’s cathedral, is Le Philibert, where the menu is short, sweet and seasonal.

Meander to the peaceful Couvent des Jacobins, a stone’s throw from the banks of the Garonne River. Round the corner, 46  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

Food and drink are a serious business: kids here are raised on the eponymous 'saucisse de Toulouse'. It’s also the home of foie gras, cassoulet and confit de canard.

For wine, it has to be Au Père Louis for a trip back in time. For a digestif, L'Heure du Singe offers inventive cocktails and cool tunes into the early hours.

Basilica of Saint-Sernin. Photo: Atout France-Franck Charel

Discover Southern Europe  |  A weekend in Toulouse

Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  47

Discover Southern Europe  |  A weekend in Toulouse

Garonne River. Photo: Florian Calas

Sunday: Busy markets and tranquil gardens No visit to France would be complete without a trip to the market. On Sundays, locals head for the stalls around the imposing church on the Place Saint-Aubin. It’s the ideal place for coffee and a pastry, though just remember down here it’s not called a ‘pain au chocolat’, it’s a ‘chocolatine’! Grab what you fancy and settle into a café to people-watch. Move on for lunch to the covered Marché Victor Hugo. For light bites and seafood, stay downstairs, where you can buy food direct from producers and enjoy it with a glass of wine from one of the bars. For hearty, meat-based French food, look no further than the Louch’Bem upstairs. It is not possible to make reservations and you’ll be jostling for a seat, but it’s worth it.

Banks of the Garonne. Photo: Robin Alves

Marché Victor Hugo. Photo: Agence PGO

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Place de la Trinité. Photo: Atout France-Cedric Hels

To walk off some of that lunch, come off the main drag and into the cobbled streets, a

Discover Southern Europe  |  A weekend in Toulouse

Need to know 20-minute walk will take you through Place Wilson, Place Saint-Georges and Place Saint-Etienne, bringing you out at the glorious Jardin des Plantes.

British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair all fly

This pretty park houses the Natural History Museum and the Quai des Savoirs (The Quay of Knowledge), which has STEM-based exhibitions, as well as a fabulous interactive space for children up to the age of seven. Both also have authentic cafes with a great selection of cakes. Cross the footbridge into the Grand Rond to see dancers at the bandstand, or locals getting competitive over a game of pétanque.

Trains and buses bring you into the city

to Toulouse from several UK airports. The easiest and cheapest (€1.70) way to get into the city from there is by tram.

from across France. The walk into the centre is short and flat. There’s pressure on accommodation in Toulouse, and it can be pricey. In the mid-range, the Hotel des BeauxArts has 18 rooms, each decorated on a different theme. It’s next to the Pont-Neuf on the banks of the Garonne, a tenminute walk from the Capitole.

There’s plenty more to see and do, but your time is up! If you’ve travelled light, take the tram you see in the distance at the main gate of the Jardin des Plantes, and you’ll be in the queue at check-in in just over half an hour.

If you’re on a tight budget, staying further out but close to the tram line means you’ll get more for your money with easy access to the city centre.

Pont-Neuf. Photo: Pixabay

Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  49


Gîtes de France Jura prides itself on offering holiday properties of guaranteed quality and comfort, that offer a real home from home in the region’s stunning landscape.

Family jewels of the Jura To book a stay with Gîtes de France Jura is to experience true relaxation. Specialising in holiday rentals, the service spans across the Jura – a moderately mountainous region of France near the Swiss border, known for its countryside and tourist sites such as the Herisson Waterfalls and the picturesque yellow wine village of Château-Chalon. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: GÎTES DE FRANCE JURA


ther popular activities include cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, hiking, mountain biking and horse-riding – not forgetting the food, which includes the typical dish chicken with yellow wine and morel mushrooms, as well as much-loved cheeses such as Comté, Morbier and raclette.

Available all year round, Gîtes de France Jura offers 840 holiday rentals, varied in style and size. Properties range from intimate cottages and quirky cabins, to traditional homesteads accommodating from two to 15 people or more – perfect for everyone from romantic couples, to large gatherings of friends, and even multigenerational getaways. 50  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

Rather than a brand, Gîtes de France calls itself a ‘label of quality’, with 64 years of history. With an agency in every French department, each offers unrivalled knowledge of its own region, and the small team in the Jura is no exception. Each property is visited personally by the team – with criteria including the warmth of the welcome, the decoration and the upkeep – and then given a rating of ‘épis’ (‘wheat ears’ in French) from one to five. Booking securely through the website allows you to search by category (such as ‘wellbeing’, ‘unique’, ‘wine tourism’ or ‘group’), as well as by date and precise location. As manager Isabelle Damien says: “We have a largely family clientele, who come

to enjoy the countryside, to rest and relax. We also often have people who rent big properties, and invite all their children and their grandchildren. With some booking sites, anyone can put anything up, and you risk getting less-than-ideal accommodation. For us, that is not the case. We are a well-known label. Our photos reflect reality. And if there are ever any problems, we are there to help.” Always aiming for high standards, Gîtes de France Jura is now establishing itself as a premium option for discerning families, with more and more rentals now bearing the four- or five-épi rating – with high-end decor and a refined atmosphere. “We are very proud to have some truly beautiful properties of this quality,” explains Damien. “They offer everything you need. A real home away from home.” Facebook: Gîtes de France Jura

Discover Southern Europe  |  Sleep in France

Domaine de la Dombes’ mission is to offer a rare, but increasingly necessary, natural escape from the frenzied pace of modern life

A unique getaway amidst fauna and flora Today’s modern world is increasingly defined by two things: near-constant technology use, and ‘busyness’. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called stress ‘a worldwide epidemic’, and figures from the global Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that 72 per cent of Europeans now live in ever-busier urban areas. Little wonder, then, that places such as Domaine de la Dombes, in the Ain, France (one hour’s drive from both Lyon and Geneva), continue to thrive. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: DOMAINE DE LA DOMBES


he vast, picturesque Domaine offers 35 cabins, of which no two designs are the same. Some float on water, others are tucked among the treetops, and yet more still are hidden within the animal park itself, offering a magical retreat for groups of two to six people. “People who live in cities are so happy to come here,” says director Thomas Raquin. “They leave their cars and their devices, and explore.” The more luxurious lodges have both electricity and water, but visitors can opt for a cabin with neither, for that real sense of adventure (proper bathrooms are but a short walk away). “People want a real experience,” Raquin says. “Often, they may spend one night in a floating cabin, and the next in the animal park. It’s a really original way

to sleep.” Guests can also choose from on-site activities such as treetop rope courses, ziplining across the lake, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, mini golf and even a private Jacuzzi. Everything is available to hire or buy on-site, including food, drink, bikes and fishing rods.

posting toilets and solar panels. Even the huge 3,000-square-metre bathing lake is cleaned using sand. Overall, Domaine de la Dombes’ mission is to offer a rare, but increasingly necessary, natural escape from the frenzied pace of modern life. “We want our guests to leave their busy lives behind and disconnect,” says Raquin. “People told us that outdoor cabins would be just a phase, but they just get more and more popular.”

A menagerie of wild deer, boar, donkeys, chickens, ducks and rabbits roam the parks, and although there are timed public feeds everyday – at which guests may ask questions – the animals are free to roam their huge enclosures. “The animals are used to people,” says Raquin. “But we are far from a traditional zoo where the animals are cooped up and going crazy.” The Domaine is also careful to be as ecologically-friendly as possible, and has recycling points, comIssue 8  |  September 2019  |  51

Discover Southern Europe  |  Discover in France

Bazoches from above.

The Château’s Grande Gallerie.

Vauban’s working cabinet.

Amaury de Sigalas with his ancestor, the Maréchal de Vauban.

Fit for a King’s man France may be famous for its stately, ancestral domains, but the Château de Bazoches is one of a kind. Almost 850 years old, it was formerly the home of one of France's most extraordinary personalities, and is a national treasure not to be missed by visitors. TEXT: PIERRE ANTOINE ZAHND  |  PHOTOS: CHATEAU DE BAZOCHES


estled in woodland at the heart of the wine-rich region of Burgundy, the Château de Bazoches is one of the region's highlights. A mere ten kilometres away from the UNESCO-classified town of Vézelay, Bazoches boasts a remarkable history: first erected in 1180, it was passed from one branch of the founding family to another, before being definitively bought five centuries later by the Marechal de Vauban,

The Maréchal’s bedroom.

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one of France's foremost architects and thinkers. Vauban was not only Louis XIV's trusted military engineer; he was also well known for his work as a philosopher and an economist, but also for his prowess on the field of battle. Bazoches, which he remodelled himself, reflects this extraordinary life: the Grande Galerie, for instance, is not only a sumptuous addition to the edifice, but also the place where he designed some three hundred structures, a good number of which have become iconic in France's cultural heritage. What also makes the Château so particular is that it is still inhabited by the same family that founded it, states Amaury De Sigalas, its current custodian (and, consequently, a direct descendant of Vauban). Mr De Sigalas, who first opened the Château's gates to the

public in 1997, speaks passionately and eloquently about its history and its significance today. "Today, about eight million people live in the vicinity of a structure designed by Vauban," he explains. To him, what matters is to promote a greater understanding of the Maréchal's impact on France, in the context of his family home. And this approach seems to be working: in 2015, Bazoches competed in Le Monument Préféré des Français, a national TV programme on France's most enduring monuments, and came eighth – an impressive ranking in a country notorious for its myriad of architectural darlings. The Château is currently open year-round. Although this has not always been the case, visitors who have particularly enjoyed their visit are now given the chance to rent the grounds for events for up to 250 guests. And last but not least, on certain occasions, and by request only, tours may be given by Mr De Sigalas himself: a guaranteed journey into 17th-century France. Email:

Discover Southern Europe  |  Eat in France

Food, wine and life after loss “This is the story of a gastronomic restaurant with staying power,” explains Isabelle Delesderrier, owner of the Les Cépages, in Thoiry (Ain), France. Just 15 minutes’ drive from Geneva, this high-end, cosy-yet-chic 40-cover restaurant in a restored 19th-century house, was first opened by Isabelle’s husband, Swiss chef Jean-Pierre Delesderrier, in 1990. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: RESTAURANT LES CÉPAGES

Quickly establishing a strong reputation for itself, it won a Michelin star in 1992. Staff stayed so long they became part of the family, a fact that was especially important three years ago, when Jean-Pierre died after a long illness. “My staff supported me so much,” says Isabelle, who is also the restaurant’s sommelier. What came next is a tale of tenacity in the face of loss. “We fought to stay relevant,” Isabelle explains. “After my husband’s death, I re-did the decor and made things more contemporary. You can’t live in a museum.” Some classic favourites have remained, such as vol au vent Bourgeois with veal, foie gras and morel mushroom cream, but a new

30-year-old local chef, Romain Perronet, is at the pass. The menu changes every ten weeks, ensuring innovation and seasonal ingredients. For the ever-more cosmopolitan clientele, accessible prices are paramount. Fixed-price menus start at just 23 euros, alongside a vast choice of wine, plus a wine

bar offering tapas dishes from eight euros. “I want to introduce every generation to good food,” says Isabelle. “To give all kinds of customers the opportunity to enjoy our business.” She also plans to open guest bedrooms, giving access to the peaceful garden and outdoor pool. “We dare to be contemporary in a classic setting,” says Isabelle. “My husband told me, ‘You are young, you have your whole life ahead of you’. So I am keeping my promise, with the help of his team, to continue his work. To create an oasis of peace in Thoiry.”

Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  53

Photo: Pexels


To manage or not to manage That is the question. People usually become managers because they’re good at another job. They then find themselves with two jobs – the job they trained for, which they know a lot about; and the job of managing other people, about which they may know little or nothing. Some find managing others exhilarating from the start. Others feel inadequacy and panic, especially if put in charge of the team they were part of before. TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS


o people should ask themselves this key question well before being offered a management job: “Do I want to be a manager?” If you have not already thought about this, find a coach and a mentor to support your search for the answer. Mentors often provide their services for free, and there are kind-hearted coaches who will discount their normal fees for a young person with a big decision to make. There are also good psychometric tests which help you understand what your own work preferences are. Doing a job for which

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you are not psychologically suited will only make you – and possibly your colleagues – miserable.

more, whether people like them or not. But, ultimately, the choice is about how you can best continue to flourish and grow. It is an important decision, but not an irreversible one. The world of work would be a better place if more new managers took up their new responsibilities with a clearer idea of their reasons for this big step.

Management is not for everyone. Some people prefer to concentrate on their own specialist jobs and look no further for satisfaction. It takes some courage to decide not to be a manager, but you should feel that it is okay to do this if it is the right thing for you. Not wanting to be a manager should not be stigmatised. Circumstances may dictate that you cannot refuse and, in smaller organisations, jobs have to be shared out

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Discover Southern Europe  |  Business

B2B Rocks, Station F.

Business Calendar B2B Rocks 12 September, Paris, France As a start-up selling to other businesses, developing your initial client base can be hard to do. In Station F, Paris’ most dynamic start-up greenhouse, B2B Rocks shows these enthusiastic beginners how to work their way into the offices of established companies and skyrocket their B2B or SaaS business.

Women in Leadership Summit 12 – 13 September, Barcelona, Spain Never before in history, have as many women broken the glass ceiling as today. Yet,

Decentral Days, Auditorium


there is still plenty to do. During the Women in Leadership Summit, Europe’s most successful female managers join to learn, network and – most of all – inspire.

Codemotion 24 – 25 September, Madrid, Spain Spread over two days and seven halls, Codemotion is the Walhalla for everyone who can’t get enough of HTML and JavaScript. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world behind the digits and get in touch with the best developers in Spain and beyond.

Decentral Days, Auditorium

De:central Days 24 – 25 September, Palma de Mallorca, Spain Internet of things, blockchain, artificial intelligence… In the 21st century, revolutionary technologies and brilliant solutions are presented to us every day. But, there still are plenty of hurdles we have yet to tackle. During the De:central Days, companies can present their digital solutions to problems of our time to possible partners or clients and put their project on the fast track.

Global HR Trends Summit 26 September, Milan, Italy No resources are as vital to a company as its human resources. During the Global HR Trends Summit, Europe’s finest HR Managers give you an update on what’s happening in their dynamic field. With companies like Facebook (which is legendary for its excellent working conditions) represented, it is bound to be an enlightening day.


Finding your own place in the sun If you’ve watched those programmes on TV and dreamt of packing it all in and moving to sunnier climes, or even taking the leap and buying your own holiday home on the Mediterranean coast, then property development company Urbincasa could help you make that a reality. TEXT: ESME FOX  |  PHOTOS: URBINCASA


oncentrating on the south-east coast of Spain, along the Costa Blanca and the Levante, Urbincasa has over 50 years’ experience in designing and building homes, and is a pioneer in its field. Since it formed in 1967, the company has built more than 7,000 houses and created several resorts and residences across the region, from Cartagena to Alicante.

Seascape Resort The company’s newest big project is Seascape Resort, located on the popular Costa Blanca, with its many thriving resort towns and excellent beaches. It’s situated on the slopes of the Sierra Cortina in the munic56  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

ipality of Finestrat, between the mountains and the sea. Close to quaint old towns further inland, and modern centres along a sweep of golden sand, it offers the best balance of culture, nature and services. It’s an ideal part of Spain to live in, where the sun shines 320 days a year and enjoys an average of 18.2 degrees Celcius throughout the year. The Seascape development can be found just over 35 minutes from Alicante International Airport and the high-speed railway station, meaning that it offers easy access for those who want to maximise their holiday time or to be able to travel from home often.

The resort itself affords spectacular views over the Bay of Benidorm and the city skyline, and covers a whopping 47,000 metres squared. It comprises 20 threebedroom villas and 162 two- and threebedroom terraced penthouses. Each property comes equipped with air condition-

Discover Southern Europe  |  Real estate profile of the month

ing, an Aerotermia system for heating the water, Jacuzzi pre-installation, as well as thermal and acoustic insulation. They also maximise on space and light, ensuring that those much sought-after sea and mountain views are as much a feature of the property as the furniture. Everything in the properties is completely customisable, so that clients can choose every detail and get exactly the house they want. “We like to design and build homes where we would love to live,” explains Francisco José Cervantes, CEO of Urbincasa.

Mediterranean living It’s not just the penthouses and the villas that the company pride themselves on, however: they also put a lot of emphasis on the communal areas. Besides the four communal swimming pools, there’s a mini-golf course and a spa. Typically situated between the mountains, the sea and the cities, Urbincasa’s developments offer the best of Mediterranean living, where you can combine adventure sports with relaxing by the beach or shopping and entertainment. Close to Seascape, for example, property owners can enjoy a range of watersports, cycling, golf and hiking, or head into Benidorm for dining and nights out.

Against the stereotypes CEO Cervantes explains that many of the company’s customers come from abroad these days, but that it’s not only people coming to retire, like you might expect. “More

and more families are moving to the costa areas, with many people working remotely from home in jobs such as investment, design, engineering and digital marketing,” he says. This means that whatever stage of life you’re at, this could be a great opportunity to reinvent your lifestyle. Urbincasa pride themselves on quality and customer service, making sure that you have that peace of mind, when making one of life’s biggest purchases. “More than a third of Urbincasa’s sales come from recommendations from former customers,” says Cervantes A recommended and trusted developer is essential to take care of your dream house in Southern Spain, and one of Urbincasa’s well-executed resorts could be just what you’re looking for.

As well as the design and execution of building projects, Urbincasa offers several services. These include: — After-sales services – These services offer continued support to the client after purchase, to ensure that everything goes smoothly once they move into the property too. — Property marketing – The company has its own network of sales offices and a marketing department offering services in website creation, SEO and social media. — Sales of second-hand homes and rental properties – In recent years, the company has also expanded to include the reselling of second-hand properties and those for the rental market. — Soil development – With the help of architects and specialists, the company can help the process of transforming land into a place suitable for building and development.

Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  57


International education in Barcelona If you’re thinking about making the move to Barcelona, one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, you’re probably wondering what the options are for your children’s education. While the city is home to several great international schools, the Benjamin Franklin International School (BFIS) could be a great fit.

Rodríguez believes that most visitors and members of BFIS’s community would agree that “BFIS is a school that would be described as cheerful, vivacious and dynamic, both inside and outside the classroom.”



he school is located in the safe and quiet upscale neighbourhood of Sarria and is home to around 50 different nationalities of students. Around 30 per cent of these students are Spanish, while 25 per cent are from the United States, and 45 per cent from the rest of the world. Despite its diverse mix, however, the school maintains a strong sense of community. The school’s teachers also come from all over the world, having worked in schools in many different countries. This knowledge of cultures and professional experience enhances the teaching approach and creates a tolerant and respectful mentality for all. “The teachers are the heart of the school,” says director of communications and community relations, Charo Rodríguez. 58  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

Most teachers are native English speakers and the BFIS educational program is primarily American: however, there are options to obtain certificates in Spanish and Catalan, such as the Spanish baccalaureate or the ESO (Compulsory Secondary Education). The school aims to customise its programme to enhance the development of each student’s unique skillset, and its mission statement is to pursue educational excellence and success for all. The teachers believe it’s their responsibility to create a supportive environment where students can explore their interests. They also believe in the education of the student as a whole, not just from an academic perspective, and emphasis is put on social, emotional, physical and creative development.

There’s a lively schedule of activities and events offered throughout the year to bring the community together and strengthen its ties. For BFIS’s large percentage of international families, togetherness and support through the entire school community is all important. There’s also a whole array of extracurricular activities available to students, featuring everything from football and volleyball to 3D printing or theatre. Parents can experience the warm school community by attending English and Spanish classes. A diverse, yet close-knit international community, where the approach to learning is based on arousing innate curiosity, BFIS is considered by many as one of the best international schools in Spain and Europe.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editorial Feature

European Heritage Days, Chateau de Chenonceau. Photo: Atout France-Maurice Subervie

Diary Dates


Mountain hikes, art fairs, folkloristic feasts, city festivals… They are all happening here, in Southern Europe. Don’t miss out on these fabulous events in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal this month. Columbus Festival 12 – 15 September, Porto Santa, Portugal Once a year, Porto Santa travels back in time to meet the most famous figure to ever set foot on the island: Christopher Columbus. After his traditional disembarking at the docks, the festivities break loose. Performances, theatre, food, crafts and plenty of typical characters from Columbus’ era give colour to this four-day festival. 60  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

Ultra Montaña Palentina 15 September, Palentina, Spain The Ultra Montaña Palentina is amongst the hardest races in Castilla y León. While walking or running an 80-kilometre trail, you climb a dazzling total of 5,000 metres. Yet, the panoramas you get in return are worth all the suffering. Does 80 kilometres seem a bit much? Then, you can opt for the trail of 18 or 44 kilometres instead.

Ultra Montaña Palentino. Photo: Diego de la Iglesia Rodgriguez

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Palio delle Contrade. Photo: Manuel Izzi

The Contemporary Art Biennale, The Mulch - Rebecca Ackroyd. Photo: Matthias Kolb

The Contemporary Art Biennale 18 September – 5 January, Lyon, France Every two years, the work of over 500 contemporary artists lures 250,000 art aficionados to the city of Lyon. As with the eponymous event in Venice, The Contemporary Art Biennale of Lyon is the perfect occasion to catch up on what’s happening in the global art scene today, while discovering the latest pieces of the world’s greatest.

Algarve Nature Fest 20 – 22 September, Algarve, Portugal To gaze at Europe’s nicest beaches and most stunning cliffs, you must head to the Algarve, the continent’s south-west corner. During the Algarve Nature Fest, you can explore the region in a unique and challenging way. On foot, by boat, on a mountain bike or while paddling… The choice is yours! What-

ever means of transportation you choose, spectacular views are guaranteed.

La Mercè 20 – 24 September, Barcelona, Spain During La Mercè, you can party in every corner of Barcelona. Traditionally, the city’s festival comes with human towers, fireworks, free concerts, giants and correfocs (fire parades). Let faith guide you from one activity to the next or plan the perfect itinerary on the festival’s handy app.

European Heritage Days 21 – 22 September, France On the old continent, you can find tangible pieces of history anywhere you look. Yet, few countries have as much of it as France.

Correfoc de la Merce. Photo: Wikipedia

Algarve Nature Fest. Photo: Pixabay

Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  61

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

During the European Heritage Days, France’s most impressive estates, houses and monuments open their doors to the public. Peek behind private doors and discover the country’s most extraordinary buildings and their long, long history.

Architecture Week Madrid 30 September – 6 October, Madrid, Spain During its Architecture Week, Madrid points the spotlight at its nicest buildings. Besides attending a seminar or lecture on the future of architecture, you can also visit more than 50 important buildings throughout the city.

Festival of the Moors and Christians 5 – 7 October, Crevillent, Spain While strolling through Andalusia today, the landmarks still show how the Moors and the Christians used to fight for this piece of land. To commemorate this brutal clash of cultures, the citizens of Crevillent parade annually through their streets and alleys, dressed in the traditional garments of these two collapsing cultures.

ArtVerona 11 – 13 October, Verona, Italy Do you want to spruce up your home with some art? No better place to go, than to Verona. In October, the city of Romeo and Juliet hosts one of Italy’s leading art fairs. Meet the gallery owners, get inspired by all the precious pieces they brought with them and you might just take a modern masterpiece back home with you.

Palio delle Contrade 11 – 14 October, Vigevano, Italy The Renaissance is alive and kicking in Italy. Twice a year, the picturesque town of Vigevano dusts off its collection of long robes, headpieces and harnesses for a weekend of potential meals, exciting games and energetic balls. Leave your smartphone at home and join the atmospheric, traditional feast. 62  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

Architecture Week Madrid. Photo: Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  63

Discover Southern Europe  |  Film


The Shock of the Future

A tribute to women in the music industry Marc Collin directs this brilliant film about the birth of electronic music, set in Paris in the late 1970s. Starring a perfectly cast Alma Jodorowsky, The Shock of the Future pays a long overdue tribute to the involvement women had in the rise of the electronic music industry – and does a wonderful job in the process. TEXT: ANNA BONET  I  PRESS PHOTOS


t’s 1978 in Paris, and rock music isn’t as exciting as it once used to be. No one is more aware of this than Ana (Jodorowsky), a musician who is bored of the same old sounds of the ‘50s, and spends her days trying to say so to everyone in the industry. But those around her are set in their ways, and the last person they’ll listen to is a woman in her ‘20s. Desperate to be heard, Ana experiments with sound synthesisers in her apartment. Her music is innovative and exciting, though she’s the only one who will pay any attention to it. But this all changes when Clara (Luciani) arrives on her doorstep.

Clara is only here to do the vocals for the advert jingle Ana is supposed to be producing, but the two women are professionally made for each other. Despite the fact that this is their first meeting, both the chemistry between them and their passion for a new wave of music is palpable. Together,

they make a record which will mark a shift in sound for decades to come.

The Shock of the Future is only 85 minutes in length, but is stitched together with precision and talent. Each member of the cast is as resoundingly authentic as the last, and the ‘70s Parisian apartment setting (where the majority of the film takes place) is nostalgic yet familiar. Though it oscillates with an energy for electronic music, The Shock of the Future isn’t just for music buffs. It’s an enticing film, and an excellent watch. It celebrates female musicians and addresses the injustice that has, until now, written them out of history. Above all, though, this film will make you want to get up and dance. A true success. Director: Marc Collin Lead cast: Alma Jodorowsky, Clara Luciani, Philippe Rebbot, Geoffrey Carey UK release date: 13 September

64  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Book

Heddi Goodrich.

Photo: Davide Gabino


Lost in the Spanish Quarter Love and longing in Naples

A young American studying in Naples falls head over heels in Heddi Goodrich’s atmospheric coming-of-age novel. Set in one of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods, she paints a heady portrait of the notorious Spanish Quarter and the ecstasies and torments of first love. TEXT: CLAIRE WEBB  I  PRESS PHOTOS


outhern Italy’s biggest city has been casting a spell over writers for centuries. “Naples is a paradise,” wrote the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1786, “Everyone lives in a kind of drunkenness and oblivion of themselves. The same happens to me.” A hundred years later, the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky compared it to a new Jerusalem in one his books, while French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre feared it was the “city that pours out every single element”, in the 1950s.

More recently, Italian author Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels have seduced readers all over the world. Her epic tale of love, violence and ambition in a

working-class neighbourhood has been published in over 50 countries and made into an HBO show and a stage play. Roberto Saviano’s bestselling 2006 book Gomorrah was darker still: an investigation of a Mafia-type organisation that exposed Naples’ seedy underbelly and inspired a hit film and television drama. In her debut novel, American writer Heddi Goodrich puts the spotlight on the city’s most infamous neighbourhood, where dialect-speaking Neapolitans live on top of each other in a maze of alleys. Translated from Italian by Goodrich herself, Lost in the Spanish Quarter is narrated by an American language student who is also called Heddi.

It opens with an email from her remorseful Italian ex-boyfriend, then transports the reader back to a windswept spring: young Heddi lives in a crumbling illegal flat in the Quartieri Spagnoli and falls hard for handsome Pietro, an earnest geology student from the country. Goodrich is perceptive on the potent early days of first love and the exhilaration of living in a foreign country – a sort of romance in itself. She tends to overdo the description, but her depiction of the Spanish Quarter is deliciously vivid with its hollering fish sellers and shrieking neighbours, canopies of laundry and purring motorbikes, and glimpses of glittering sea from sun-drenched rooftops. You wouldn’t want to live there, but you may well wish you could visit. Publisher: HarperVia Price: €14 UK release date: 5 September

Issue 8  |  September 2019  |  65

Discover Southern Europe  |  Food


Eat Roman pasta like a local When it comes to Rome’s gastronomical history, its continual transformation has evolved over 2,000 years, making the city an excellent 'foodie' destination. Since the rise and fall of the empire, it has drawn on various cuisines and cooking styles; from countries they conquered, to those they surrendered to. And so Greek, Spanish and Jewish culture have all had a part to play. Amongst many traditional foods, an authentic collection of pasta dishes forms the backbone of Roman cuisine; guaranteed to be on menus dotted all over the city. We're talking about pasta ‘alla Gricia’, 'alla carbonara' and 'all'amatriciana'. TEXT: PAOLA MAGGIULLI  I  PHOTOS: PEXELS


here are only two ingredients that make up the heart of these recipes. Pecorino romano – a hard, salty sheep's milk cheese, and guanciale – cured pork cheek rubbed with salt, sugar and spices. The secret here is the cooking of the guanciale, which has a beautiful layer of fat, which gives a real depth of flavour. It's crucial to slow-cook the meat and let it render, allowing the fat to melt. Add a splash of pasta water and the sauce emulsifies, creating a creamy consistency. Complete the dish with freshly grated pecorino and ground black pepper. It's that simple. 66  |  Issue 8  |  September 2019

So, how is each dish different? 'Alla Gricia' solely uses pecorino and guanciale. While 'alla carbonara', the famous Roman pasta dish, adds beaten egg yolk with pecorino to create a rich, creamy sauce. Contrary to what some Brits think, this classic recipe doesn't require any cream. Finally, the addition of bright-red ripe tomatoes is added to guanciale to create 'all'amatriciana.' Each dish unique in flavour, look and consistency, reiterating that simplicity is key. With a handful of ingredients, you really can create something delicious. If you would like to eat like a Roman, order one or all three dishes when next in the Italian capital city. You'll fit right in!

Paola Maggiulli, a British foodie and passionate cook with Italian roots, has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all Italian food; pasta, pizza, gelato, you name it. On her blog, The Tiny Italian, she shares her delicious recipes with the world.

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