Created by celebrated chef Raymond Blanc OBE, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is a honey coloured 15th-century Chiltern manor house that has been sensitively transformed into a 32-room hotel and restaurant. This year, the famed hotel celebrates 36 years. belmond.com/lemanoir
What is it that you love about fishing?
I live a fast and busy life, so days when I can fish are a great luxury for me. You are in touch with pure beauty and suddenly the only stress and worry is the disappointment of missing a fish that has risen to your fly! Fishing is a joy because it has ethics: you cannot be a rogue and you must respect the conventions— for example, no maggots or worms should be used in a trout stream. I don’t get to fish as much as I would like to, but I try to book in some days to just escape and live in the moment.
When did you start fishing?
I grew up in the Franche Comté region in France. My siblings and I were always taught by our father that we needed to look after each other and so we worked together as a family for our family. We used to hunt, fish and gather wild mushrooms — some we ate and some we took to the local market to sell. I was seven or eight years old when I was given a rod for my birthday. I used to go fishing for hours with my Papa for gudgeon in the nearby River Doubs. Having watched my father and people around me, I taught myself to cast — apparently, so
I have been told, I do this very well! My brother Gerard taught me how to catch freshwater crayfish. We would sell some to local restaurants and then take the rest home — Maman would boil them so the shell came off easily. They were absolutely delicious.