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My France | Laurent Yung SomMailier French Wine Club

Small town of St Emilion surrounded by vineyards in Bordeaux

Laurent Yung, founder of SomMailier French wine club in the USA, lives in San Diego. He was born in his dad’s vineyard in Bordeaux where he lived until his 20s. Since then, he has lived in Spain, Sweden and now in sunny California. We asked him what he loved most about France…


The wine of course! Being born in a family of winemakers in Bordeaux, this was always the main topic of talk during lunch and diners. I think I started to appreciate French wines when I started to live abroad and I suddenly didn’t have access to the wines I was used to drinking.

The meals

I loved having long meals with friends and family. Enjoying the food and the wine and having long discussions complaining about anything in general (typical French). It’s a little more rushed in the US. On the upside, we don’t have time to complain…

French food!

France is definitely not about the quantity you have in your plate but more about the taste, the look, the experience in general. I rarely went to a fast food outlet in France. Yet, the only thing my kids want to eat here is MacDonald’s! Where did we fail in their education?!


Plateful of oysters on ice with wedges of lemon and packets of semi salted butter

If we dive a bit deeper into the food, I would highlight oysters from the Atlantic coast. They are so delicious and I’m having a hard time finding similar oysters in San Diego. Same thing with fish. When I now go back to France, I even take photos of fish stalls in random supermarkets as they are so beautiful! Oh, and the delicious seafood platters that I used to eat in the summer in Arcachon, near Bordeaux. Oh my!

So many diverse landscapes

Paris, the French Riviera, the Bassin d’Arcachon, les Alpes, etc… So many beautiful places so close from each other and so different at the same time. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have all those amazing places so close to my hometown until I moved to the US where you can drive for 10 hours straight and see the same landscape. Many French people don’t realize how lucky they are to live in such a beautiful country.


Castle in Bordeaux surrounded by vineyards

All the beautiful wineries (big and small) producing such great wines. Arcachon and the highest sand dune in Europe (La dune du Pilat). You can climb it and then run down feeling like you are the long jump world champion!

Easy travel

Having access to incredible European cities in a couple of hours by plane (Rome, Venice, Prague, Barcelona, Madrid…). I was lucky enough to have visited all those cities before moving to the US. I even studied in Madrid for two years at business school. What a memory! London is also so close to Paris that you can go there for 1 day, do some shopping and be back for a nice diner in Paris.


Chalet cafe on a snowy mountain in the French Alps

When it comes to taking holidays, we are the champions in France as we have so many holidays! When working there I had about six weeks off not including regular bank holidays. Depending on the season, I could go winter skiing in the Alpes or the Pyrenees! And during summer, I would holiday on the Atlantic coast inn a beautiful seaside town that was only 45 minutes from the city of Bordeaux where I grew up. And we thought 45 minutes was a lot!


Chambord castle, it's tall towers and turrets reaching up to the sky at sunset

There is so much history in France and so many beautiful castles. My wife is from the Loire Valley and we always tell our friends to visit this region when they visit France. “Les Chateaux de la Loire” are incredible to visit to better understand how the kings and nobles used to live only a few hundred years ago.

If there is one thing that my wife and I don’t miss from France it’s the late dinners we would have. Sometimes on a week night with friends we didn’t start eating until 9:30/10pm and we would not be done until 1am! It led to very tough mornings at work the following day.

Apart from that, France is the most amazing country to visit and to live in!

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