Whatever your thoughts are about the “B word”, there is no doubt in my mind that France will remain an attractive holiday destination – particularly for those of us who enjoy the occasional glass or two of decent vin! I recently spent an incredibly enjoyable and interesting week learning about and tasting a lot of excellent vintages: you could say I indulged in Bordeaux’s Really EXciting and Interesting Tastings. Oh dear – did I just say it?!
October in the Bordeaux region is charming. There is a sense of calm: that feeling you get when you have waved off the last of the family after hosting a hectic weekend! At this point, most of the grapes have been picked and are fermenting nicely. There are less tourists and the weather, whilst a little unpredictable, is very pleasant for walking, biking and generally enjoying the outdoors.
The beautiful city of Bordeaux lies on the Garonne River and has numerous excellent restaurants and hotels. The city has renovated its historic sites to their full glory and the tram system is efficient and easy to use. Modern attractions – such as the Miroir d’Eau which reflects the splendid Place de la Bourse – blend beautifully along the left-bank river walk.
The Cité du Vin wine museum is a spectacular modern space dedicated to celebrating the story of wine and well worth a visit.
Beyond Bordeaux, the wine regions are easy to reach and all have their own history, from the famous and grand Chateaux such as Margaux, Latour and Mouton Rothschild to small family-owned vineyards. In fact there are around 6,500 vineyards in this area: that’s a lot of wine!
All of this was part of a seven-night wine cruise to visit the various regions with daily excursions led by experienced, informative guides and I would definitely recommend it as a superb way to discover the rich history of this beautiful region.
My personal experience was that I learned a great deal about wine production and the rather complicated ratings of Bordeaux wines. I also tasted quite a few excellent wines! From Cadillac, I visited the impressive Castle of Roquetaillade, an amazingly preserved masterpiece of medieval military architecture owned by the same noble family for 700 years.
In Blaye, I joined a walking tour of its 17thcentury citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and had the opportunity to bike the ten miles between Blaye and Bourg – a scenic ride along the river bank.
We were in small groups and the pace and variety of excursions was just right. Also, over the course of the week we enjoyed the company of people from all over the World… there’s nothing like a glass or two of wine for bringing people together!
Whether it is just a long weekend or a longer holiday to explore this beautiful region, Bordeaux has a great deal to offer. Ann travelled on an Ama Waterways River Cruise and flew from Manchester to Bordeaux. Iconic châteaux, timeless vineyards and delicious wine tastings are plentiful as you visit Libourne, Blaye, Bourg, Pauillac and Cadillac. This trip is a must for anyone interested in the best of French culture, lifestyle, wine and food.
Time Difference: + 1 hour
Currency: 1 Euro = approx £0.88
Flying Time: 2 hours
· Use The Bordeaux Tramway it’s easy to use and you will s ave a fortune!
· Hire bikes – The city is easy to navigate and the ride along the Garonne River is gorgeous!
· Research and book your restaurants in advance – there are some lovely (but small) little gems which do not have capacity for walk-ins.