The beloved Australian gardener, author and guide, Mary Moody, will be taking a small group on an active culinary tour of France. Her passion for the region is sure to flow into her guided walking holiday of the French Way of St James.
Get reacquainted with Mary’s biography and discover what gastronomic delights you can expect to savour on her Food Lover’s French Way of St James below.
Tour Leader, Mary Moody
Mary trained as a journalist on Australian Women's Weekly in the late 1960s and spent several years as a reporter and feature writer on various Sydney magazines and newspapers.
In the 1970s she moved to Leura in the Blue Mountains with her young family and became a passionate organic gardener. She used her journalistic skills to write and edit more than forty gardening books and magazines, and for ten years she was the NSW presenter on the ABC's top-rating show Gardening Australia.
In 2000 Mary spent six months living alone in a small room in a medieval town in southwest France. At the end of her sabbatical, she bought a nearby village house in Frayssinet-le-Gelat that she still visits every year. She wrote four memoirs about her experiences as an Australian woman living part-time in France, as well as a cookbook and several new gardening books.
Her passions are still family, food, gardening and travel. She leads tours in France and the Himalayas and has written a book and made a film on a local rural French restaurant, 'Lunch with Madame Murat', for the SBS Network. Mary’s latest book, The Accidental Tour Guide
, is a powerful memoir of love, loss and discovery.
After the death of her husband David Hannay in 2014, Mary sold the farm where they had lived for 15 years and moved back to the Mountains where she is developing a large garden in an extended family home with her son Ethan, his partner Lynne and their three children. She now has eleven grandchildren.
The Food Lover’s French Way of St James
This French trip is the freshest addition to UTracks’ menu of guided 'Food Lover's' walks (there’s also a tour to Spain
). It’s destined to appeal to a wide range of palates and combines spectacular walking with well-deserved fine dining.
Accompanied by Australian author Mary Moody, whose love affair with the cuisine and landscapes of south-west France has seen her make her second home directly on the Camino trail, this exquisitely crafted and zesty itinerary captures the essence of the Way of St James pilgrimage and the many culinary delights to be found along the way.
Beginning in Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne, the journey on foot is a rich sensory experience taking in the best sections of the Camino between Le Puy and St Jean Pied de Port, including time in the historic and beautiful towns of Conques, Rocamadour, Saint-Come d'Olt and Saint-Cirque-Lapopie. Most days include walks for 10-15kms and each night you'll stay in atmospheric accommodations ranging from restored convents to countryside inns and family-run hotels.
A pleasing combination of walking and bus travel in a wonderful rural area of France. Under the guidance of Mary Moody we walked the hills, and the cobble stoned streets of some historic and beautiful villages. Le Puy en Velay and the volcanic countryside surrounding is a wonderful sight to behold. Conques, Cahors and Rocamadour were magical destinations. Mary very generously gave us an insight into living in rural France, taking us to her local market , to lunch at a local restaurant, and then giving us afternoon tea at her village house in Frayssinet-le-Gelat. The end destination of Biarritz came too soon. E. Ward, Australia
The foodie highlights are endless, with tastings of delectable cheeses, wines and truffles, interspersed with the rustic cooking style for which the region is renowned. There’s four included lunches, including an intimate lunch at a small 100-year-old family restaurant which is featured in Mary's book 'Lunch with Madame Murat'; truffle hunting demonstrations at an orchard; wine and Armagnac tastings; farmer’s market visits; and 10 included fine dining dinners that include a Michelin-starred restaurant.
The Food Lover’s French Way of St James is a full-bodied experience that deserves to be sampled. For more information, visit the trip details page
or call our friendly travel experts who can help you with any questions.
Do you have a favourite Mary Moody memory? Let us know in the comments.
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