Big picture Writers' centre in the Bordeaux vineyards
The Big Picture office has moved to Caussarieu (right), a 300-year-old property with 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.
The property ha sbeen called Caussarieu since ancient times. In the old Occitan language, it means Bridge over the River. It's now a place for thinkers, writers and artists to 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 threatened by a new fascism. Time out at the Bordeaux Writers’ Centre is a resource for anyone working on the problems that lie ahead - environmental, political, social, cultural, psychological… The Centre supports PEN International, Free Word and the Cities of Refuge network. And Hoffman’s own book for Routledge publishers in 2019 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 - see here for Writers’ Residencies underway. From summer 2019, 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 bequeathed by Bordeaux artist Marie-Anne Bernaulte, who painted there for two 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 will return at times to talk with guests about the works she created at Caussarieu. Her first return is at Christmas 2018.
Click on the pins to view the Centre’s buildings, amenities and walks.