At this time of the year, many Britons will be all too familiar with three of the most depressing words in the English language. ‘Replacement Bus Service” can still cast fear into the hearts of the most stout-hearted individual but when during one’s distant youth, it was “Back to School” emblazoned across every branch of Tesco and Woolworths. They were symbols, as much as the blackberries and the nights drawing in, that the summer holidays were soon to end, and a routine of Fletcher Maths and How We Used To Live was soon to re-commence.

But in the Loire Valley, the arrival of September means the wine hikes through Nantes, which takes place at the beginning of the month. The trips are under the guidance of a professional winegrower, and the three-hour tours encompass some leading appellations in addition to many opportunities to sample the local produce –

Meanwhile, for those gourmets amongst the readers, the end of September is marked by Tous au Restaurant – “Everyone to the Restaurant”. Over 2,000 establishments, including those with Michelin stars, take part in this annual event in which the motto is ‘your guest is our guest’. During  15 memorable days, you have the chance to sample a special menu which your companion will enjoy for free – N.B. It might be a good n idea to decide in advance who is the guest and who is the host.

But this time of the year is also perfect for enjoying the grounds of Chateau de Bois Giraud. Many people  regard the climate at this time of year as perfect and to watch the sun setting over the harvested fields is an agreeable a way as any to conclude the day. Work, school or university may indeed beckon – but not just now, thank you very much…