For my last full (and free) weekend in France, Coop, Kristy and I took a trip to Bordeaux! We didn’t know a whole lot about the city except this: WINE. Bordeaux, as we’ve been told, makes amazing wine, reds in particular.
It was a quick 3 hour drive south before we hit the city with not a whole lot of a plan. Bordeaux is located 20 minutes inland from the Atlantic and runs along a river, hence some great weather for grape growing. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful City. First things first, we grabbed a delicious meal at one of the first restaurants we could find, then head out to do a self tour of the city.
The inner city center is a ton of hustle and bustle but also is relatively compact. We saw the gorgeous Opera House then walked down the main shopping drag that has to be one of the biggest and busiest shopping streets in France. Tons of different stores that you’re used to seeing and as you progress it turned more into knock off and street merchant items. Once we hit the end, we walked back on an outer loop to see some of the sites.
The Dom Church in Bordeaux, like most cathedrals in Europe, is gigantic and ornate. Another beautiful one for sure. After looping back we hit up a wine tasting + tapas at a restaurant across from the Opera House. It took place in their tiny wine cellar in the back but MAN was it crammed with bottles. The wine professional was really knowledgable. We tasted 4 wines and before we tasted each, we had to sniff a small bottle of scent that we could try to identify in the wine. I got the first one right with orange, but the next 3 I was wayyyy off base.
Afterwards, we took a chaotic drive to the hotel we were staying at that night. It’s tough to follow directions when it’s down pouring and the GPS loses service -___- BUT we made it to our adorable little hotel. The people were actually so nice to us and gave us a second room after seeing how tall we were and worrying about one of us fitting on a pull out. They also let us relax in the hot tub and pool area even though it was already closed. Talk about going above and beyond!
The next morning we toured a Chateaux in the Sautaurnes appellation. Here’s some Bordeaux wine knowledge: Bordeaux is the city and is made up of different ‘appellations’- basically small cities based on area. The different appellations produce very different types of grapes and wine based off the different soil conditions, weather tendencies and which grapes are planted where. We’ve grown to really love the Graves and Medoc Appellations which make very popular reds. The Sautaurnes appellation is very unique to Bordeaux because it produces a VERY sweet white wine. It tasted less like wine and more like a sweet syrup… which I had no complaints about 😉
After our tasting and small tour, we drove up to another appellation- St. Emilion. St. Emilion is in the middle of nowhere (well, in the middle of tons and tons of vineyards) but it’s a small and adorable little town with lots of wine and some restaurants and bakeries. We walked around, grabbed lunch and enjoyed ourselves. Kristy and I climbed up the bell tower there and got a gorgeous view of the surrounding area!
Next up, we drove back to Bordeaux to check out a few extra sites and grab dinner. We spent a few minutes on taking in the beautiful fountain and where the city borders the river. Then, after enjoying the wine and tapas so much from the night before, we decided to have a final dinner at the same restaurant, a move we did not regret. The food was SO GOOD. I had Saint Jacques (scallops) with an asparagus risotto that blew my mind. I didn’t even think I liked scallops, and I don’t think I ever had risotto before, but it rocked my tastebuds like no other. After that, we jumped in the car and got on our way back to Nantes. I’m so happy I can check Bordeaux off my list of cities that I hit. A beautiful and delicious place for sure 🙂