France trip- Bordeaux & St. Emilion

Hi there- remember me? :) I took a looooong hiatus from blogging because I was doing too much traveling. So, to come, the rest of pics from France, maybe a quick stop in Orlando, then onto a big tour of Eastern Europe. Are you ready?? ;)

Ok, let's get back to France. Ah, lovely France. We started in Nice, on the shores of the Mediterranean, and hopped over to Monaco for a day visit. There is more to this trip! It includes some wine, some sun, some rain, a sprained ankle, 8 hours (yes HOURS) in the Louvre, Paris, the Eiffel Tower and the Sien. Stay tuned! :)

Now, let's get back to mid-trip in France, and take a short flight over to Bordeaux from Nice. One thing I would recommend is checking the holidays in the country to which you are flying. We landed on a holiday, unbeknownst to us, and no taxi or private car was available to get us to our hotel! Luckily, the public transit system in Bordeaux is pretty easy to understand (well, with a friend who knows some French, as I know none) and does go to quite a few places. It was a bus -> tram -> walk to get to our hotel on the outskirts of Bordeaux. I wouldn't recommend staying in this location... not a lot to do, not that there was anything to do on a holiday in France (fortunately there was one restaurant open). We stayed here because it was close to the train station where we were going to take a train to Paris next. If you come, stay in the heart of Bordeaux and remember that taking public transit out to the train station isn't bad at all, if you happen to need to go that way. However, I must say, we got pretty good and going back and forth on the tram and got to know the Bordeaux area, so maybe it was a good thing in the end. :)

The highlights in Bordeaux included the "Bordeaux Beach," a section of sidewalk near the river that perhaps had sprinklers in the summer time. Our guide told us this was its nickname. The churches are always amazing and didn't disappoint. We took a day tour out to the wine country and to the small town of St. Emilion, a tourist-only city anymore, which we were told is impassable when buried in snow. What a charming place St. Emilion turned out to be, with cobblestone streets, wine stores-a-plenty and of course, surrounded by vineyards. We tasted the local Macarons, and had a picnic lunch of fresh french baguette, fromage (cheese), jamon (ham) and dessert. Then it was off to wine country and to a Chateau- we went to Chateau Canon, one of hundreds of vineyards in the area, and had a tour and a tasting of their superb wine.

I learned a lot about the region, of which all the details now escape me, but I recall that the fact that the ancient town is still walled is one of the reasons that the grapes grow so well in the region of St. Emilion. It keeps the wind off the low-growing grapes and shelters them. Also, the town has tunnels under each winery and though I can't recall why they were originally dug, I remember that the French stored their best wines in these caves during the second world war and pretended they were giving their best wines to the invading soldiers. Much of the best wines survived the war because of these hiding places. These days, those caves are a blessing to the region, by providing a blanket of warm air underneath all the vineyards, again providing protection to the grapes when the cold seasons arrive. I find it interesting the serendipitous reasons the region has such great grape production to create some the best wines in the world now, from the French Bordeaux region.

We much too quickly had to say goodbye to Bordeaux and board our train to Paris. Many more pictures on my website of the lovely towns of Bordeaux and St. Emilion.


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