August guest blog by Lynne & Heather

Lindfield to Lauzun or should I say Montignac de Lauzun.

If I had wondered why a successful local artist would drop everything and move to Lauzun, as soon as I arrived at Maison du Fort all of my questions would have been answered. The beautiful manor house, in beautiful grounds, surrounded by beautiful countryside in an area populated with genuine people. It was an honour to work on this 17th century home which oozes history from every pore.

Myself and Heather (another volunteer and previous student of Leesa) arrived on Monday after a brief stop in Bordeaux.

Our projects for the week were to complete the Green room which required painting and decorating and preparing for a community event to be held in Maison du Fort on our last day. The green room is a large double aspect room with high ceiling and feature fire place, wooden doors and windows so there was plenty to get our teeth into. This of course was a working holiday although none of it felt like work as we segued from one topic to another.

Our week was expertly punctuated with days and evenings out and delicious meals. We were fortunate enough to be introduced to Bordeaux, Bergerac, la Sauvetat-du-Dropt, Eymet, Monpazier and Lauzun

Leesa and Alistair were fantastic hosts and amazing guides who knew just when and where to take us to experience local life, local people and local weather. What an amazingly genuine experience I can’t wait to go back. 


When I joined Leesa’s Friday afternoon art class in 2015, little did I realise that eight years later I would be spending a week in one of the loveliest areas of France, staying in the most delightful Maison du Fort as a volunteer guest.  A guided tour of the house introduced us to the rooms already renovated which exude old world French charm.

Our task was to decorate the fifth bedroom needed for the next guests in late September.  The weather had cooled considerably with our arrival so Lynne and I were able to attack the task with gusto, sanding down the cracks and plaster filler already prepared by Leesa.  By the afternoon the paint was being rollered onto the walls and brushed onto the woodwork with loads of enthusiasm and chatter being tossed around as well.  This we continued the next day as we strived to get the project done.  This isn’t to say we didn’t stop to have delicious al fresco lunches and chill by the pool after the work was finished for the day.  Our fourth day was spent in Montpazier, browsing around the markets and shops, eating galettes and cruising through the French countryside in Leesa’s open top mini.

The heat was picking up again so we spent the fifth morning finishing off decorating the room and had a lazy afternoon by the pool, followed by a fabulous evening in La Sauvetat du Dropt eating French fare alongside others at trestle tables set out in the road and dancing to a local band joining in with a wedding party celebrating hard the night before the actual wedding!

Leesa and Alistair looked after us so well and Lynne and I really thought we surely should have done more to deserve being hosted so well as they fed and entertained us with BBQ’s, games of Jenga and Bananagrams and outings to the local villages and towns.

The finishing touch to the week was the ‘auberge espagnole’ with both French and English guests joining us on Sunday for a buffet lunch in the garden and bringing a  contribution to the buffet with them! 

We’d had a lovely week and we were sad to say goodbye…… but we will be back!”


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