98. Boutique Hotelier, Francesca Eyre; Parisian Au Pairing, Irish Stately Homes and the Accident That Wiped Her Memory - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 98
June 17 , 2020

98. Boutique Hotelier, Francesca Eyre; Parisian Au Pairing, Irish Stately Homes and the Accident That Wiped Her Memory

Growing up with two terminally ill siblings Francesca Eyre, chef and co-owner of Chilly Powder holidays in the Alps, learned independence and adventure at a young age. After losing her sister aged 16 and mother aged 21 a chance encounter when chasing her mother’s lost pearls led her to the mountains. As a part-time endurance athlete a terrifying accident led to memory loss and a challenging recovery but together with her husband Paul she’s now opening a second Chilly Powder in a beautiful village in Provence. She sees participating in incredible endurance events as a means to, as she says, “breathe for those who no longer can”.

On this episode we cover:

Holmlands Stories; Searching for Pearls (video clip)

Losing her mother to cancer age 21

The lost pearls that lead to her new life in the Alps

Growing up with two terminally ill siblings

Naively moving to Paris age 16

Being too sensible out on the museums, bars and concert

Going to cooking school in Dublin

Lisa moving from Spain to England age 16

The death of Francesca’s sister when she was only 16

Coming from a family with Cystic Fibrosis

Growing up always knowing her two siblings will die at a young age

Half of the siblings not having Cystic Fibrosis

1 in 20 people being carriers of the CF gene

Deciding not to have the CF tests when having her own children

The decisions her children can make about tests when they’re older

Being in Paris when her sister was dying

The grandmother in Paris who noticed her talent for cooking

Moving to Dublin to train as a chef

Dubliners being passionate, gorgeous and generous

Cooking in beautiful Irish stately homes with chef Mary O’Sullivan

The trauma of a boiling a kicking lobster whilst crying

Her mum’s diagnosis of cancer

Giving up worth to look after her mum

Moving to London

Feeling her mother’s cancer was down to the stress of having two terminally ill children

Considering the food, nutrition and health connection as a chef

Being hyperthyroid (and Lisa being hypo thyroid)

Taking her brother with Cystic Fibrosis to the Alps to help his lungs

Falling in love with Morzine

Knowing her date, Paul, would be the one

Setting up Chilly Powder a ski company together

Raising money to build a chalet for their hotel

How the Alps are most beautiful in the summer

Lisa finding skiing rather scary, but loving the après ski

Francesca singing going down the mountain

The joys of afternoon tea

The busyness of living on site in your own hotel

Becoming an endurance runner and cyclist

Taking on a 300km cycle race over two days

Tackling big races like the L’Etape du Tour De France

The accident that wiped her memory

Fracturing her spine, damaging her shoulder and her face

The severe concussion causing unexpected mental health issues; fear and suicidal thoughts

Taking nine months to recover

But still finding it hard to memorise things

How the loss of her siblings and her mother helped shape her adventurous spirit

The accident being on her mother’s birthday

Opening the Chilly Powder B&B in Provence

Finding full time motherhood the hardest job

The rare half Protestant half Catholic village

Tears and music at her brother Nick’s funeral