It is a region of huge charm and the source of many of France’s finest exports – wine, prunes, truffles, chestnuts, cassoulet and foie gras. I love the food in the south west, notably the Gascon kind – it manages to be opulent, decadent and cultured all at the same time. I spent a year in Bordeaux playing for the Bordeaux Etudiant Club back in 1988 and have always retained great affection for the area, its dreamy landscapes and idyllic villages nourishing the souls of those worn down by the city. Travelling south and east from Bordeaux to play against towns such as Auch, Graulhet, Libourne and Sainte Foy la Grande remain some of my greatest memories of living in France – the bus journey, pre-match lunch of foie gras, steak and red wine (oh yes, this is France), the picturesque grounds and the post-match troisième mi-temps with your mates. Those images are etched into my memory forever.
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