Bordeaux and the Basque Country on holidays

I cannot believe this is already September. It feels like the summer flew even faster this year. I  actually started the holiday race on the 14 th June and went back and forth between short period of work and a final long stretch of well deserved holidays.

San Sebastían – Spanish Basque Country

Mid June, I flew to Paris to embark on a road trip from Paris  to San Sebastían passing by the French Basque Country. San Sebastían lives up to the expectations and as you might imagine we spent our time eating and tasting Basque delicacies ( cherries, cheeses, cured ham, mushroom, fish and wine  of course). You can get an idea of my trip in my blog post about Pinxhos here

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San Sebastían -bahía de la Concha

 

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us at Bardenas Reales- LOTS of wind as you can see !

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I spent my holidays snacking on those … they look like beautiful candies.

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Cured ham and local green chillies, a local staples

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and at night a stopover to the local pinxhos bars

Bordeaux – it does rythme with wine doesn´t it ?

A few tips: make sure before leaving the city that you book a 2 hours class explaining you all the secrets of the Bordeaux wine and pay a visit to the newly baptised Wine Citée. Totally worth and a breathtaking view on the city.

 

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 citée du Vin

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Old Bordeaux District 

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Porte Calhau

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Place de la Comédie -( Gordon Ramsay has his restaurant there )

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Bordeaux by night – Place de la Bourse – Isn´t beautiful ?

We spent our 3 days in the city enjoying the gorgeous weather, doing some shopping , getting lots in the old Bordeaux and learning everything one might need to know about Bordeaux wine at the Citée du Vin ( newly opened wine museum) and the Ecole du Vin (wine school).

When it comes to restaurants, many placed speak English due to the number of Bristh tourists coming. Most of restaurants propose a menu with the regular duck, foie gras  and goat cheese salad. You might sometimes end up wanting to try something new. So here are my recommendations :

if you fancy  fish ->  Le Petit Commerce – 2 Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre, 33000 Bordeaux, France

tapas style food with a good glass of wine -> Echo -18 Rue de la Cour des Aides, 33000 Bordeaux, France

 

Do not forget before living Bordeaux to pay a visit to the food market- a good way to get introduced to fresh and locally grown produces – at le marché des Capucins.

 

Marché des Capucins in Bordeaux 

Did I mention that the local patisserie in town is called Cannelé ? Most Patisseries sell them but you can also try those at La Toque Cuivrée or at Maison Ballard. ( my heart goes for the first one though )

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Tasting the local Cannelé from Maison Baillard – a chocolate one 

Saint Emilion – getting real serious about wine 

Next stop for us was  Moulon a tiny village by Saint Emilion. No trip to Bordeaux is complete without without a pilgrim to Saint Emilion. We rented a Bed and Breakfast outside the village to stay away from the craziness of mass tourism ( the downturn of a world know site sadly). Saint Emilion is a beautiful village with a monastery and  a closter. There you need to hit the local Maison du Vin ( sort of tourist office for wine drinkers where you get to meet the winegrowers and taste. )
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the kitchen of the Bed and Breakfast 
We were provided with the necessary map with all winegrowers of the region and we drove around ( you can also bicycle or ride a tuk- tuk, no kidding ).
Hit first Chateau Villemaurie a grand cru classé where you can visit the domain and then the Clos des Cordeliers for Crémant ( sparkling wine). Both are inside the village.
 Try also a trip down to Pommerol ( less mass tourism but just as good red wines)
Saint – Emilion is just as gorgeous by night and if you want to come back for a dinner I highly recommend L´Envers du Décor.
11 rue du Clocher, 33330 Saint-Emilion, France
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l´Envers du Décor
As we had booked 4 days in our  lovely Bed and Breakfast ( Moulin Battant  in Moulon ), we decided to stretch our curiosity to the neighbour region the Dordogne and its main city Bergerac.  If you are looking after a real experience of countryside really give a chance to the Dordogne region.

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The beautiful village of Saint Emilion

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Saint Emilion church

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strolling in the village …

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20160727_164505visit at Chateau Villemaurie

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Drinking  rosé crémant in the closter

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A house in Bergerac

Bergerac is aslo the center point of a very interesting wine region and again I recommend that you spend some time tasting some red from Bergerac and sweet white wine from Montbazillac. ( Château de Monbazillac is the most known place, but again you can make your choice and get advises at the Maison du Vin). If you have time try Sauternes too!

In Bergerac I had one of the best encounter of my trip in the fantastic bookstore by the market and discussed booked with cooking theme. Two girls exchanging their tips and talking food . We met a local wine producer who showed us around her property and we visited this tiny church with a touching history with a bell that has been taken down 7 times the last 30 years !

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Château de Montazillac 

a two hour drive through pretty fields of sunflowers and we stopped at the night market of Sarlat. If you love old stones villages Sarlat is the place you want to visit. in the middle of the  black Perigord you are conveniently in the middle of the foie gras road ad truffle area.  I feel in love with Sarlat and indulged in the pommes de terre salardaises. ( potatoes fried in fat duck ).

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Sarlat a beautiful medieval city

The end of our sommer holidays was getting close to an end and we spent the last 3 days in a family resort in les Landes – a rather laid back sea resort away from the masses within 100 kilometers from Bordeaux. Les Landes  is a paradise for surfing and cycling.  It is also the biggest man planted forest in Europe.

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a typical house in les Landes 

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Pine tree forest

 

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cannelé flavored ice cream anyone ?

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Cannelé soaked in sweet wine 

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dinner on the beach after an intensive relaxing day

 

I hope your holidays were has wonderful as ours ! 🙂

 

Claire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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