During my study abroad trip, we only had one long weekend off from school and pre-arranged tours, so when many of the students headed to Paris for a trip, a smaller group of us stopped in Bordeaux to drink some good wine.
To save money, we booked a hotel room a little ways out of town then took public transportation in to the heart of Bordeaux. This city blew me away. All of the old architecture, beautiful vineyards and chateaus, and incredible history.. It’s unbelievable!
Bordeaux is a popular stopping point for Catholic pilgrims because it was along the route of Saint James on the way to Santiago de Compostela. The most popular churches are the Saint Michel Basilica (pictured first in my album below) and Saint Seurin Basilica because they both house many statues of Saint James. Touring these gorgeous landmarks, we decided to call in for dinner at a little restaurant in the heart of the city. Delicious sandwiches on fresh baguettes, local wine, and a chocolate dessert was exactly what the doctor ordered.
After spending the previous day touring many of this historic buildings, we decided to do a day-long winery tour. The first winery used a newer, more technologically advanced method, while the second one used a more traditional method with aged oak barrels. Each chateau was beautiful in its own right. Could you imagine living there? It is such a stunning, historic building and area. To make great wine is a craft, and to do it for a living would make anyone the luckiest in the world. Someday I hope I am fortunate enough to return to Bordeaux, the land of wine, and tour more vineyards, learn more about the wine-making process and about the culture of the French people in that area. Wine and chocolate, what could go wrong?
Actually a lot could go wrong… on our last night, we had made our way towards our hotel by tram, but we had to get off at the end of the line and hop on a bus. It was so late that the buses had stopped running and we were in an area of few taxis. Once we finally made it back to our hotel, the key wouldn’t work. Everyone’s copy of the key had been deactivated by either credit card, cell phone or camera. Luckily, we were able to get into the building, just not our rooms. We found the conference room and all curled up on our jackets and finally called it a night. We were able to get back into our hotel rooms once the staff arrived at 7am. Take it from me, it is better to spend the money to book a room at a closer hotel or at least one that has 24-hour staff rather than have what happened to us, happen to you. Even then, it was a great addition to our story of a great weekend.
Live a little. Drink a little. Travel a little.