Last week, I covered the Paris leg of our honeymoon. Today, let’s take a three hour high-speed train down to Bordeaux.
On Wednesday, Chris and I woke up extremely early for our 8:40 a.m. train departure. We miraculously navigated Paris’s dimly lit streets and the bustling metro, finding ourselves standing puffy-eyed and a little winded on the train station platform almost an hour later. (Thank goodness we gave ourselves a 30-minute cushion.)
The trip itself went well. We enjoyed watching the French countryside out the window as we zoomed by at 187 mph.
We arrived in Bordeaux with enough time to ride the tram to the tourism office where we met our wine tour group, BordoVino. Luckily, the weather was beautiful. Our group was small — seven people including Chris and I — and the tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly.
First, we visited Château de Ferrand in Saint-Emilion, about 45 minutes outside of Bordeaux. The Bic family (yes, those pens and lighters) owned the château. A young member of the staff took us around the château, showing us the fermenting room, the aging barrels and the storage room. We each tried two wines, a young wine from a good vintage year and a mature wine from a not-so-great vintage year. Our tour guide also taught us how to properly taste wine and recognize different smells and flavors.
Then we took a brief walking tour of Saint-Emilion. (Too brief in my opinion.) The medieval town was absolutely breathtaking. Every detail, every building, every stone looked ancient yet remained in pristine condition. Our guide showed us the main attractions: a monolithic church, the oldest medieval home, a sweeping hill-top view, a covered market and another original church with a cloister.
After Saint-Emilion, we headed to the final vineyard, Château Siaurac in the Lalande de Pomerol appellation. This place was BEAUTIFUL. Because we arrived at the château in the early evening, the lighting just added to the magic. A young women who worked at the château walked us around the vineyard and fermentation room, explaining their wine-making process. Then we headed inside (the wind was bitter cold) for another wine tasting. Our tour guide prepared a charcuterie plate for the group, which was nice since Chris and I hadn’t eaten since the train.
Once back in Bordeaux, we walked to our hotel, which coincidentally was located right across the street from our tour guide’s apartment. We stayed at Hotel de Tourney, an adorable, modern hotel that, apparently, was brand new. Also, our bed was THE most comfortable bed of our entire trip. Plus, there was a bath tub!
Unfortunately, the first place we tried for dinner required a reservation, so we just walked around the city until we found something we liked. This proved more difficult than we thought. Along the way, we did some sightseeing, taking photos and pointing out places we wanted to visit the next day. I was reaching hangry-mode at this point, but luckily we spotted a small, intimate restaurant called Chez Marcel et Lilly. It was more like a pub really with a hipster vibe. They had a great beer and wine selection. I ordered boeuf façon Thaï, a noodle dish with beef and peppers and soya sauce. Chris got duck breast in its porcini sauce with french fries and a salad.
Satisfied and full, we headed back to the hotel, ordered a bottle of wine and called it a night.
We skipped breakfast, opting instead for espressos and cappuccinos. For lunch, we ate a pizza place that came highly recommended by the front desk attendant at the hotel. Then we shopped and strolled until we had to catch our train back to Paris.
I enjoyed every second of Bordeaux. It felt like a mini Paris in the best way. I would absolutely love to go back and spend more than a day there. While Paris was glamorous and exciting, we enjoyed the low-key casual feel of Bordeaux. It felt warm and inviting, more down-to-earth than Paris. Maybe one of these days we’ll make it back…
Where we shopped:
Galleries Lafayette – like the French version of Nordstrom, Chris bought a scarf
Bonpoint – just because I have a weird obsession with high-end children’s clothing
La Cardabelle – natural beauty and bath store
Zara Home – just browsing
Marche et Galerie les Grands Hommes – more browsing, no buying
ba&sh – way out of my price range but nice women’s clothing
Where we ate:
Pâtisserie Miremont – lovely little café, enjoyed morning cappuccinos here
Pizzeria Peppone – deliciously rich pizza, no english spoken here, no english menu
Chez Marcel et Lilly – cozy little pub and restaurant
Pâtisserie Sabouret – we tried Bordeaux’s famous canale’s here