Exploring Brive + lunch at Chez Francis.



STANSTEAD >> BRIVE, Wed .15th April.

I arrived in the Dordogne Valley early on Wednesday evening after a brief flight across the channel, and was met by a cool sun, peachy sky, and the tiniest airport I’ve ever set foot in. Clemence, who works for the airport in Brive, waited for us in arrivals with a sign, and we were whisked off straight away to the heavenly Castel Novel.

The hotel was a total fairytale (check the decor in my room, photographed below!)- set high on a hilltop in the countryside just outside of town. We (we being Aaron of Yinn & Yang, who was the other blogger invited along on the trip, and me), met up with two of the women who work to promote the Brive tourism board and Brive airport, and spent our first night in the Dordogne Valley eating a delicious meal of wine, fresh walnut bread (a speciality of the region), the most tender lamb I’ve ever eaten, and a sort of light strawberry cheesecake on a fine sliver of sponge instead of the usual biscuit base. It turned out that this combination- of delicious local wine, insanely tasty and locally-produced food, fresh bread, and a chaser of strong coffee and petit fours, would be a recurring theme throughout the trip. And I’ll tell you, it wasn’t a bad theme to have running!

After the meal, I moseyed back up a stone spiral staircase (equal parts fairytale and spooky) to my floor-to-ceiling floral pattered bedroom, and spent my first night in France imagining how fantastic it would be to live in a French castle all year round.

What I wore :: Hat || Cardigan {similar} || Jeans || Birkenstocks     Cider-with-Rosie-France15

The main focus of my visit to the Dordogne Valley was to get to know the beautiful town of Brive, and to share in the region’s local pride. We headed into the town centre on late on Thursday, after a morning spent at Les Pays du Travassac (which I’ll tell you more about later on in the week), and an afternoon of rock-climbing!

Brive was such a beautiful place to spend a few days exploring. It felt almost Parisian with its quaint grey buildings, wrought iron Juliet balconies, and meandering alleyways, except it was far, far more peaceful than the city of lights itself! It’s a pretty small town- even as someone with a notoriously dreadful sense of direction, I managed to become pretty comfortable with its layout after just a few short days exploring there! We stayed at the Hotel Quercy right in the centre of town (overlooking the main town square), which made it a great base for wandering and exploring!

I’ll be sharing a more detailed look into my time in the Dordogne Valley over the next few days, but below are a few of my favourite pictures taken during an afternoon of exploring on Friday, and during a particularly spectacular lunch during our last day in France.

There’s nothing better than getting lost in some new corner of the world, is there?…

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My favourite restaurant we visited during the whole trip was Chez Francis, in central Brive. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team (chef Francis and his wife, whose name I never managed to catch!), and is probably the most quinessientially French place you could ever imagine! The dining room is wonderfully eccentric and eclectic- crammed top to bottom with vintage French posters, unusual lights, cartoons and doodles from celebrity guests, and antique heirlooms and knick-knacks. And whilst the decor was wonderful in its own right (not to mention too the warm and friendly service) it was the food itself that really stole my heart.

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Like every other meal we ate in France, it began with bread and an amuse bouche. The bread was without doubt the finest I tried (beautifully sour and hearty, with a crust to die for), and came with a little pat of creamy butter, raw radishes, and flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top. Then came a pile of tangled shaved asparagus and thicker sautéed stems, buttery baby leeks, and fresh aniseed-scented basil, and finally a strawberry, cream, and Chantilly-filled choux pastry that I was too full to tackle, but Aaron and our guide Karine assured me was totally divine! It’s this sort of simple French fare I love the most. I’d eat it every day, given half a chance!

First job on my to-do list now I’m home? Buy the finest French butter I can find, and start perfecting the art of homemade bread for weekend treats…


Stay tuned for more posts from Brive this week!

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  • Anna

    it looks like such a lovely place to visit in spring <3


    • http://www.ciderwithrosie.com/ Rosie

      It really was, the blossom was out of this world! X

  • http://mutedmornings.blogspot.com Mimmi

    Beautiful photos! Brive looks like such a dreamy town, and the food sounds divine. Looking forward to seeing more posts from your stay in France :)

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

  • http://www.navellina.blogspot.com Nadya Elvina

    I really love your pics! I love the vintage feel of the second pic :)


  • http://www.brittonloves.co.uk Lauren S

    It’s just like I remember, such beautiful rustic architecture! Your description of the bread has me drooling, I could do with some sour French bread right now….

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty – http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  • emily couture

    Such stunning photos :)

    emily xx


  • http://www.littlemisskaty.co.uk/ Little Miss Katy

    Your photos are always so stunning Rosie!! I love tiny little French villages like this. They’re always so calm and unpretentious and beautiful :) xx

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle Blog

    • http://www.ciderwithrosie.com/ Rosie

      Thanks lovely Miss Katy! :) Oh me too, they’re so beautiful! Wait till you see the pics of Turenne coming later this week, it was even more picturesque!

  • Helena

    Sounds like you are having an amazing time! Such stunning photos.


  • https://www.diaryofatwentiesgirl.com/ Claire

    What gorgeous photos – you’re making me very France-sick! I’ve just started making bread so you’ve inspired me to do some experimenting – thanks!!

    • http://www.ciderwithrosie.com/ Rosie

      Let me know if you find the perfect French bread recipe! ☺️

      • https://www.diaryofatwentiesgirl.com/ Claire

        Ha – that’s exactly what I’m looking for! I can make a pretty decent basic white loaf and have had a bit of success with wholemeal, but proper baguette has been beyond me so far!

  • http://thisparticular.blogspot.co.uk/ Ala

    Sounds excellent. I’m in love with your pinky-purpley flower photo, as well as the others, but the photo of the flowers is my favourite! I never reach for French wine first, as a rule of thumb but it is lovely! x

  • Artur Chmielewski

    This made ma day definetely, i would like to see more of this :) http://www.bhssussexgroup.co.uk

  • http://booksandmacarons.blogspot.co.uk/ Mira K

    Oh wow, Brive sounds like a perfect place for a weekend getaway! Will definitely put it in my ‘to visit’ list :) xx


  • Pili G

    I love the pictures! Brive sounds amazing! The food looked amazing and I love the tulips!



    Records of my Troubles

  • http://www.beautifuljunk.net Jen | Beautiful Junk

    Oh french food is just the best! You’re making me very jealous… I wish I lived closer to France and was able to go there for the weekend! Canada is much too far… :(

    • http://www.ciderwithrosie.com/ Rosie

      It really is divine isn’t it? I’m envious of you too, having all the amazing Canadian scenery available to you! We’d love to come back for a visit this winter, we went to Banff and Red Deer a few years ago and loved it!. Whereabouts are you based? :)

      • http://www.beautifuljunk.net Jen | Beautiful Junk

        I’m in Calgary, which is between Red Deer and Banff. Being so close to the mountains is definitely beautiful, I take it for granted much too often. Banff is a great place to visit in the winter if you are interested in skiing or snowboarding, and in the summer there are so many other gorgeous spots. If you ever come back for a visit, I can give you a list of to-do’s! :)
        I spent some time in Europe a few years ago and would also love to go back and explore more of the areas that I missed!

  • https://rhymeandribbons.com Amanda @ Rhyme & Ribbons

    Absolutely lovely photos! And bread and butter is the simplest, but most delicious treat! x

  • http://www.thesnugblog.com/ Abigail

    Really captured the essence of the city with the pictures – they’re gorgeous :)

  • Pearl Costello

    wow it’s so beautiful – I wish I was there right now (although I am loving the English weather at the moment) :)

  • http://www.perpetuallycaroline.com/ Caroline L.

    How lovely is this!! So enchanting!

  • https://swanlake1701.wordpress.com/ NGOC LAN

    You seem to have a good time exploring Brive. Dordogne Valley is so beautiful with the grey buildings and greenery. French butter is absolutely unique and delicious.

  • http://sallytangle.blogspot.co.uk/ Sally Crangle

    Rosie these photos are just wonderful!!! France is just magical and you have really captured that! Man i could live off proper French bread and salty butter!!!!

  • http://anenglishrosie94.blogspot.co.uk/ Rosie McKay

    This little town looks enchanting.
    It is lovely to see a post on somewhere I have never heard of before, always great to hear about the roads less travelled!

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