Savoring Serenity at Manoir La Croix de La Jugie

Front of house at dusk Manoir Jugie
Credit: Clio Wood

The Manoir La Croix de La Jugie is a charming chateau in the southwest of France that is the perfect sweet escape. Situated about two and a half hours from Bordeaux and Toulouse, respectively, the chateau will make you feel as if you’ve transported back to 18th century France, either venturing outside the grounds or through the manor. You can book a wedding, retreat, or any special event at this beautiful piece of history.

We recently sat down with owner and visionary Clio Wood to learn more about the enchanting allure and unique offerings of Manoir La Croix de La Jugie. We delve into the essence of the manor’s appeal and discover the passion driving its commitment to providing guests with an unforgettable journey into French elegance and tranquility.

Eating kitchen terrace, credit This Little House
Courtesy of Manoir la Croix de La Jugie

Please describe your background and introduce us to Manoir La Croix de La Jugie. What aspects do you love most during your time spent there?

I always wanted to own a chateau in France since I started learning French at the age of 7, and in 2013 I convinced my husband that it was a good idea! After many viewings all over France, I think I’ve come pretty close to the chateau dream with our beautiful Manoir. We finally bought the property in 2014 and when we turned down the driveway for the first time it really was love at first sight! La Jugie is such a magical place – the views of rolling hills (we are at the top of a valley) are stunning and peaceful and it really feels like you can properly breathe when you get here. The slower pace of life is something that can take a little while to get used to when I first come back from London, but it’s worth it to embrace a more mindful way of living.

Can you share more about the unique digital detox experience at Manoir La Croix de La Jugie? How do you encourage guests to disconnect and embrace the wholesome outdoor activities and local exploration?  

This slower way of local life and the beautiful countryside was what inspired me to create the Greenfingers Gardening Week experience. Our garden is a wonderful space to learn a new skill or perfect an old one and our 6 acres are so inviting, it’s not hard to get our guests outside! The views are stunning from all parts of the property, so no one gets bored and whilst we do have WiFi, it’s not the fastest, which encourages less time on the devices. 

We don’t have a hard and fast rule about phone usage during the week, but our cosy corners, stacks of books and lovely countryside walks mean that there’s also quite a lot of non-screen action to choose from too. 

Supporting sustainable travel is a commendable aspect and a movement we embrace wholeheartedly. How do you actively collaborate with local businesses and suppliers to promote a slower and more eco-friendly way of traveling?

Dining room Manoir la Croix de La Jugie
Credit: Ocean Taylor

This is something that we’re still working on and we’re always learning, but if guests arrive to us by train or car we offer a discount on their booking, and we also give back 1% of income to climate causes through our payment provider.

In terms of suppliers, what’s wonderful about the Limousin region is that there is so much to choose from. Our area is full of farms and producers and picking up really delicious and special local produce is a treat. This cuts down on food miles and supports local producers. Of course, we can occasionally harvest from our own garden too, which we’d like to do more of!

Gardening as a new skill seems like a unique offering. Could you elaborate on how guests, regardless of their gardening experience, can engage in this activity and connect with nature during their stay?

Gardening is becoming increasingly popular across all generations as we learn to be more mindful of our outdoor spaces and promote natural habitats, but sometimes we just don’t know where to start.

Learning such a practical skill as gardening from a book is all very well, but sometimes you need to practice, make mistakes and ask a teacher in person to learn properly, and that’s where Greenfingers comes in. As well as complete beginners, we love to welcome more experienced guests (previously we’ve hosted a CEO of a farming charity, Head Gardener of a gastronomic restaurant and a renowned florist) and Adele’s expertise just shines through. She is not only knowledgeable, but a natural teacher and funny to boot!

Can you tell us more about Adele, the resident expert gardener? How does she contribute to guests’ experiences, especially those with varying levels of gardening expertise?

Cottage from the orchard credit Clio Wood
Credit: Clio Wood

Adele started her career in archeology with a degree in ancient civilisation from Exeter University, before building her own gardening business, so she loves the history and story behind the earth. 

I think her intellectual capacity ensures that she teaches in a really smart way and is accessible and engaging for all levels of experience.  What’s great about our Greenfingers weeks is that you have plenty of one-to-one time to ask her to go deeper into topics of interest too, and we can tweak the schedule to suit participants’ needs.

The focus on exploring nearby villages, medieval cities, and chateaux is intriguing. How do you curate these local experiences for your guests, and what kind of partnerships do you establish with neighboring attractions?

We try to make sure that we cater to the needs and tastes of individual groups, so whilst one group might only want to garden, another is excited by the prospect of exploring further afield.

Having owned the Manoir for over ten years, I know the area very well and have also got to know owners and tourist boards alongside them. This means I am able to curate trips with little secret tips and side visits that you might not discover on your own.

In what ways do you encourage guests to appreciate and connect with the natural surroundings of rural France beyond gardening, perhaps through guided nature walks or other outdoor experiences?

There are several lovely walks right from our door and we have downloadable maps for guests to follow if they would rather not ramble on their own. We can also organise horse-riding or advise on bike hire for those who’d like to see the countryside from a little bit higher up or at a slightly faster pace – watch out for those hills though!

Manoir la Croix de La Jugie
Courtesy of Manoir la Croix de La Jugie

How do you curate the culinary experience for guests, and how does it contribute to the overall theme of a healthy and wholesome stay?

What’s important to me is that I cook with local ingredients and draw inspiration from what’s in season and available at the time of the retreat, as well as making sure there’s a French theme. You can’t come to France and not eat French food, after all! That means that although we might have boeuf bourgignon and celeriac mash for dinner, lunch will include lots of lovely and diverse salads, warming soups and delicious cold cuts and French cheeses. There’s plenty of variety, but you won’t find burgers and chips here!

How could future guests reach out to book a stay at Manoir La Croix de La Jugie?

Manoir la Croix de La Jugie yoga room
Courtesy of Manoir la Croix de La Jugie

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Vanessa Gordon
Vanessa Gordon is the Owner and Publisher of East End Taste Magazine. Vanessa is regularly called on as a family travel, personal finance, and Hamptons lifestyle expert. She has been featured in Reader's Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Beast, The Daily News, and many other publications. Vanessa is also the Founder of the annual Hamptons summer event, the Hamptons Interactive Brunch.