A weekend in Bordeaux will obviously involve trips out to various wine-making chateaux that the region is famous for. It’s also one of the largest wine growing areas in France, so you’ll need to narrow down your itinerary to vineyards clustered in specific areas featuring certain grapes.
I am not a wine expert by any means, but from what I can tell, Bordeaux is divided up into two main parts, the “Left Bank” and the “Right Bank“. The vineyards on the Left Bank, which consists of the Médoc and Graves regions, typically feature bold and tannic red wines made predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Right Bank of the Libournais region, on the other hand, features wine made predominantly with Merlot. If you like white wines, head south to Entre-Deux-Mers, and if you like your whites on the sweeter side, go slightly west to Sauternes. (Reference this link for a helpful primer on Bordeaux wines.) Once you know which chateau you’d like to see, go to their website and email them a request for a visit. Note that Bordeaux isn’t quite the commercial operation that Napa or Sonoma Valley is. Many of these chateaux may require insider connections to get you access.Read More
It’s not easy to eat cheap when you’re in the French Riviera. Playing host to movie stars (Cannes) or the world’s richest people (Monaco) means you tend to have restaurants that are either extremely sceney or pricey, or you have mediocre tourist traps catering to those who come to ogle all the wealth and fame. Finding that sweet spot of a solid establishment making reasonably priced food proved to be a challenge, and Yelp or Chowhound wasn’t very helpful in narrowing down the options. Surprisingly, Tripadvisor ended up being a reliable source for places to eat, and by following its lead we were able to have great meals without breaking the bank. The list of those restaurants is as follows:Read More
If you find yourself hungry on the grounds of Les Prés d’Eugénie, the French Relais and Chateux estate home to Michel Guerard’s famous restaurant, but you don’t want to sit through an epic and pricey meal at the flagship Michelin restaurant (read more about that here), you can opt for a casual meal at La Ferme aux Grives. La Ferme aux Grives specializes in rustic country cooking in the Gascon fashion, so the menu skews towards hearty, roasted meats cooked in fat. A spitfire grill roasting a small suckling pig in the center of the main dining room gives you a glimpse of what’s in store for later.Read More
Eugénie-les-Bains is a curious little town about an 1.5 hour drive from Bordeaux that is known for the restorative powers of its geothermal spas. But healing powers come not only from the city’s natural surroundings. They also emanate from the hotel and kitchen of the man who owns this town, acclaimed chef Michel Guérard, a rockstar who has managed to maintain the highest culinary honors of three Michelin stars at his restaurant Les Prés d’Eugénie for 40 years in a row.Read More
La Chèvre d’Or, the flagship two Michelin star restaurant of Château de la Chèvre d’Or, a lovely Relais and Chateaux estate in the beautiful mountain town of Eze, is the type of place that serves a customer for whom price is no object. Immediately upon seating, the servers will place a small spoon next to your plate, because ordering caviar here is the norm, not the exception. A champagne cart will follow, as will a look of surprise if you decline a glass. If you are a woman dining with a man, you will be given a menu without the prices since it is presumed that the fairer sex would not be settling the bill. Not surprising at all given that Eze is in the posh part of the French Riviera, where its nearest island neighbor St Jean-Cap-Ferrat has bragging rights to being the second most expensive place to a buy a home in the world. Read More