Hi, it’s me Marimonda!
Today, I’d like to share my visit to Bordeaux, a capital of Wine in the world.
France is very well known for its gastronomy, especially its wine. Most of French wines are produced in Bordeaux (sure, there are other popular winery regions such as bourgogne or alsace. I am not a big fan of alcohol, but I wanted to try out some authentic wine while I’m here in France. So I took a ouigo (it’s superfast and very cheap!! There are so many things I complain of and I compliment on in France, but French railway system is one of the best things that I can experience here) and visited Bordeaux. Since it was a spontaneous decision, I didn’t have enough time to find a good deal for accomodation nor plan the trip, but luckily everything went very smoothly.
The First Impression
The first impression I got when I arrived in Bordeaux, it exactly matched to the image I had on France. The harmony of antique and modern architectures surrounded by nature, a bit slow-paced city (compared to Paris) amazed me and made me wow constantly. It seemed like Bordelais were still enjoying their vacation before the Rentrée, the city looked so empty with locals but full of tourists who are enjoying their last summer holidays including me.
Things to do
The first thing I did, after checking-in to hotel, was visiting the tourist center to book winery tours. It was my first time to Bordeaux and since I didn’t plan any, thus I needed information to choose the right trip. The tourist center is located in the center of the city, next to Opera House. There you can get a winery tour brochure which have you help to choose from half-day to full day winery tour in different areas according to your schedule. You can also find tours via online.
In Bordeaux, there are five well-known winery regions : Médoc, Blaye, St-émilion, Entre-deux-mers, and Graves. Pomerol and Pessac areas also produce high-quality wines. It seemed almost impossible to visit all of these areas at once.
I didn’t want to wake up early, thus I chose half-day tours for Medoc area and Saint-Émilion for two days. For Medoc, I reserved a big group tour ( about 28 people) for Medoc and small group tour( 6 people) for Saint-Émilion and the price was double. The tour cost about than €42 for the big group, and €88 for the small group. I went wineries in Margaux(Médoc region), Pessac, Pomerol, and St-émilion.
The meeting point is in front of the tourist center, 15 mins before the departure time. Usually afternoon tours depart at 1:30 p.m. and come back to the city around 6:30 p.m. I visited three different chateaux in each tour, thus six chateaux for two days in total. During the tour, I learned the procedure of bordeaux wine and could taste different wines.
To check the fertility of the land, traditionally, people planted flowers (rose). If the flower blossom beautifully with vivid colors, the land is full of energy and ready to produce yummy grapes. Thanks to the development of technology, these days they don’t rely on roses only, but still it’s a symbol of a winery. Each winery will let you know their specialty and how to produce their wine. It was also interesting to see and compare the traditional way and modern way to produce wine in different chateaux. At the end of the tour, wine tasting is ready to attract you and open to your wallet. Each chateaux offer two glasses of wine in general, if you’d like more you can ask more.
After experiencing the two different tours, if I go back to Bordeaux, I would take big group tour again since I don’t see the big difference between the big and the small group tour. I’d rather get a bottle of decent wine for the difference of the price. Though, it might worth to go with private tour (which was out of my budget so it wasn’t my option this time), because I can spend time with my friends or family privately. But among group tours, I will definitely choose the big group next time because I felt less pressure to purchase wine and the tour itself seemed quite similar. Plus, some exclusive wineries are usually not open to the public or group tour, thus you may contact them personally or look for a specialist who can book your spot.
Saint-Émilion is an Unesco World Heritage Site village. It’s a small but picturesque city. I loved the view from the top of the town and it was also full of tourists rather than locals.
I bought two bottles of wine(one from each region) to drink at the end of the year and to celebrate special occasions. So, it is recommendable to buy a bottle of wine you tasted if you liked, because you buy it directly from the producer and it’s cheaper than market price.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit Cité du Vin. There you can see the ehbitibions and book winery tours, all the activities you can do with wine. The entrance ticket costs from €20. It’s little bit far away from the center of the town.
I also took the mini-train to explore the city.The ticket costs €8 and the train departs near the tourist center. The route covers all the important areas of the town, thus it’s easy to look around the village.
Due to its geographical characteristic, Bordeaux is known for seafood, too. You can find many delicious seafood places and I tried one of them, Le Petit Commerce. Most of all, the ingredients were super fresh and the servers were nice. It was a bit out of the peak time, thus I could enjoy my meal without any pressure to leave. Oysters seemed one of their signatures, but we ordered shrimps and fried fish. Even though unpeeling the shrimps was an hassle, but the food was delicious. I ordered two glasses of wine, two main dishes, and a rice pudding (see the picture below) for two people and it was about €70.
I also went to an Italian restaurant. I found this restaurant in a small alley by accident. And it was a great success. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the name, but it was a bit away from tourist destination. Next to the restaurant, there was a BIO store, and the alley was full of restaurants.
Bordeaux is also a home of Canelé. This one bite pleasure would make you happy with its unique texture – inside is very soft with custard, vanilla and rum flavor bread and the outside is caramelized crust. La Toque Cuivrée and Canelés Baillardran are famous for canelé.
Another dessert I tried in Bordeaux was Rice Pudding. It wasn’t that impressive to be honest.
Happy travel with Marimonda. Follow me and see you again 🙂
Address : 12 Cours du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Cité du Vin
Address : Esplanade de Pontac, 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France
Hours : 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Mon. -Fri.) / 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Weekend)