Big picture Writers' centre in the Bordeaux vineyards
The Big Picture office has moved to Caussarieu (right), a 300-year-old property with 5 acres of gardens, forest, nature reserve and river-frontage outside Sauternes, in the Bordeaux vineyard region. Hoffman is providing a retreat and work centre there for writers and thinkers. Part of the land is a nature reserve that's being Rewilded in partnership with the French Environment Agency.
Caussarieu, meaning Bridge over the river in the Occitan dialect, has been the property’s name for centuries. It's now a place where thinkers, writers and artists recharge their batteries and do some serious thinking about the problems facing society in the times ahead.
For many around the world today, free thought and dialogue lead to prison and torture. In the West, voices of tolerance are also threatened by a new fascism. The Centre supports PEN International, Free Word and the Cities of Refuge network. Hoffman’s new book with Routledge publishers is about the reception of refugees worldwide.
At the Writers’ Centre, Hoffman’s Big Picture collaborators are hosted for free, to dialogue about shared projects. From 2020, anyone else can come independently too, whether to work on a project of their own or just for an independent holiday in your own accommodation at the property. Rates will always be reasonable - it's not a for-profit venture. Get in touch any time to enquire about visiting, prices or availability.
Below, have a stroll through the grounds, main house, 3-bedroom villa, 3-bedroom chalet by the pool, and the little artist studios. (The last four photos show venues 5-15 minutes away, like the world-famous Chateau Yquem, below right. All others are of the Writers’ Centre itself. The map below the photo gallery lets you walk around the property.) Options will range from self-catering groups of up to 6, to individuals who come alone to write, rest, think, meditate, chill out, make art - whatever you do. Table d'Hote - sociable evening meals of French cuisine - will be available poolside at affordable rates. Walking and cycling trails stretch from the property for miles into the forest. The beach on the right is 25 minutes away.
The paintings below - plus dozens exhibited at the property - were gifted to the property by Bordeaux artist Marie-Anne Bernaulte, who painted there for decades before selling to the Hoffmans (seated on the left at the celebration to hand over the keys, left). Now painting at the Bordeaux coast, Marie-Anne returns regularly to talk with guests about the works she created at Caussarieu.
Click on the pins to view the Centre’s buildings, amenities and walks.