Friday, July 31, 2015

Bordeaux & Saint-Emilion: French Wine Country and a Medieval Town

Kristin, Sapna, Sean  - Road Trip Selfie!!!
Our last stop on our week-long road trip was back in France - in the beautiful Bordeaux region. As we only had a day and half, we sped on to Saint-Emilion, a medieval town famous for its wineries, before visiting the city of Bordeaux itself.

Trilingual Spelling Mishap
We lucked out with the weather and had a beautiful day to check out the winery that the tourism office recommended for that day - Les Cordeliers.  Now, remember my last post where I was complaining about my lack of switching ability with languages? Below is an excellent example - I went to order us tickets in French, which worked well, until she wanted me to spell my name and couldn't quite get the letters she switched to English, thinking it would help. I said them in English and she didn't understand. So, I started speaking Spanish, seeing her badge said she was fluent in Spanish.  So...we ended up going into the winery with three tickets reading "Sehjal Sarna". Gotta love it!

Sapna & Kristin @ Les Cordeliers
The winery was beautiful and we learned that the medieval town of Saint-Emilion was famous for not only its wine, but it's calcium stone and its location on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrammage, which many people still do today.  It's a religious trip and there are golden shell-shaped symbols on the sidewalks of Bordeaux and other places to keep pilgrams on track (y'know, before the GPS was invented ;) 

Sean & Sapna @ Les Cordeliers

We arrived at the city of Bordeaux by night and spent an hour walking and enjoying the city by night - it is stunningly beautiful (pics in the slideshow at the bottom of this post). The next morning, we saw the incredible beauty by day, at the Miroir d'Eau, a fantastic shallow pool of water that shows the reflection of the beautiful buildings. Note: make sure you patiently wait until the children stop jumping in the pool to take your photo; the water has to be still to get images like this one:

 (Photo credit to Kristin - great panoramic shot!)

I can't forget to mention the dinner we enjoyed in Saint-Emilion (after hunting around to find a place that would make me something vegetarian!); what a beautiful last dinner together. We also enjoyed some high-class wine (thanks for the bottle, Kristin!) and stayed in an actual hotel for our last night (well, ibis, but it was actually super great, with an awesome spread for breakfast --- a hard find in Europe, where breakfast normally consists of espresso (great!)... and diabetes on a plate.

 For those of you who read French, I absolutely loved the restaurant's placemats, which had beautiful quotes about the pleasure and art of eating:

 Our last afternoon in Bordeaux (before Sean drove us back 6 hours to Paris--thanks for driving, Sean!) was spent eating delicious food and having coffee on terraces. We bought GIANT macaroons and shared them - vanilla was the best flavour, and I liked pistacho next and raspberry last. Sugar high! 

Oh, and our last coffee stop was actually an anise-liquor stop for Sean. Apparently this is a drink that's widely available in France!
Sean with his anise liquor drink

 The only comment I have left to make is that we definitely can't wait five years to have this type of road trip again!  

Check out the slideshow below for pictures of the winery, architecture, mirror d'eau in Bordeaux, and the second winery that we walked through, which was in the crypt (and reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado, especially since someone has graffiti-ed the word "LIE" into the green mold on the walls (pics in the slideshow)!

(Note: if you're on a mobile device that is incompatible with Flash player, please click to view my Flickr album, where you can click on a photo and then flip through them all).

Happy Summer - here's to more adventures ahead!

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