For my birthday Thomas surprised me with a travel to the French town of Bordeaux. I had never been there before so my happiness was even bigger for having the opportunity to visit this part of France! Bordeaux is the largest city of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Not far from there we can find the historic center of Saint-Emilion and its surrounding vineyards. The village is now a listed UNESCO heritage site.
The first day we explored the town of Bordeaux including the beautiful Place de la Bourse, which has the biggest water mirror in the world, and the indoor market of Les Capucins. There, at one of the stands, we delighted ourselves with oysters, a cheese platter and some local wine. But as I was saying before, a trip to Bordeaux would not feel complete without a visit to the vineyards and the wonderful villages around. And this is what we exactly did the day after.
Our first stop was at the wonderful open-air market of Libourne, which snakes its way through the small streets around the main square. Everything there is seasonal and local. Tens of stands with fresh fruits, veggies, cheeses, bread, salamis, olives and shellfish. The colours of the products and the beautiful way everything is displayed, invited us to buy some cheeses and bread which we ate while continuing our way to other stalls. Tomatoes of all sizes, huge artichokes, fresh pink garlics… This market is a true feast for all the senses!
Hereafter, we headed to Saint-Emilion where we wandered through the cute streets, ate quiche and made some shopping. I even found a cutler’s shop with beautiful knives and I could not help to buy some for my props collection. After a couple of hours there we moved to the outskirts to visit a winery. Some days before we had already booked a tour for Château Soutard. The château has a beautiful entrance flanked by trees and vineyards on both sides of the access. We arrived with some minutes in advance so we could go for a walk around the grounds. Obviously to take some photos too.
During the tour we had the opportunity to listen how the Bordeaux wines are classified, taste some of the ones they produce and learn the basics in order to have a proper tasting. The tour was conducted expertly and genially and the impressive cellar was a treat to see. We also learnt the curious practices the Château has implemented including organic capsules to “confuse” bugs so they do not attack the vines. It was a really good visit and you can arrive there easily by car or even walking as it is only a short 10 minute walk from Saint-Emilion.
From there we continued our way to Bergerac. We first visited the impressive Château de Monbazillac which is beautifully situated on a hill overlooking the river and the village. The château belongs to the cooperative of Monbazillac constituted of 50 winegrowers and they promote the wine area.
And then the village, which I immediately felt in love with. Bergerac is surrounded by lots of pretty medieval and half-timbered houses. At the main square, called Place Pelissiere, there is the Saint Jacques church, which formed part of the Compostela pilgrimage. In the same square, we could also take photos of the newer statue of Cyrano, and later in a nearby and lovely restaurant we had dinner accompanied by a Bergerac wine.
A perfect close to a getaway through this region of France among vineyards and wine, cheeses and markets, and beautiful old villages and towns.
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