This spring, life has undoubtedly been turned upside down. As many of you know, we arrived in wonderful Valence sur Baïse, South West France, in the summer of 2018. We moved here to start a new life, meet new people and to open Le Petit Cochon, our chambres d’hotes. We were attracted by the friendliness of the people, the sunshine, scenery; our 200-year-old merchant house close to the main square, with blue shutters and its flower filled garden, captured our hearts.

Our first season was amazing! We welcomed guests from 11 different countries, received great feedback (our booking.com rating of 9.8 is exceptional) and learned so much! At the start of the new year, we were looking forward with excitement, enthusiasm and optimism – and then COVID19 appeared.

COVID19 has cast such a shadow. Despite the blossom flowering on the cherry tree and the first blush of green appearing in the vines, despite the return of the Hoopoe birds and the swallows, Gers is quiet. Cafés and hotels are closed and even the French custom of kissing and shaking hands temporarily suspended as everyone does their bit to bring the COVID19 crisis under control. Thankfully cases are few and far between here but there is no room for complacency. And of course, our beautiful house remains empty of guests. But in the face of adversity, there is opportunity too. We are busy sowing seeds in our little greenhouse and working hard in the garden, we’re perfecting new recipes for our table d’hôtes menu and we are painting the garden furniture ready for those long summer days ahead.

Like so many hospitality owners, our eyes are firmly on the future and making sure that we are ready to reopen the doors the moment it is safe to do so.  We cannot wait to welcome you back to this beautiful part of France. When this crisis is over, the Gers welcome, for which the area is famous, will be even warmer. It is the perfect place to relax, enjoy and discover the best food producers, wonderful restaurants, stunning scenery, chateaux and attractions – there really is something for everyone. And if you need help planning your visit, let us know and we’ll happily share our recommendations with you.