What’s better than having your mom visit you in Paris? Having her visit you twice. I welcomed Jo Mama last week and we fled to the French wine country for the weekend.
The train ride from Paris to Bordeaux is an easy three hours. There are many ways to plan your trip to the world’s wine capital. My mom and I stayed outside of the city and did our own side trips, while many stay in the city and choose guided vineyard tours. While I wish we rented a car to avoid the ridiculous cab fare we paid all weekend, I loved the way we planned our trip. Here’s a mini-overview of our weekend in Bordeaux…
Marché des Capucins
After dropping our bags off at our B&B, we ventured into the city, which is much more sprawling than I had imagined. Thanks to a fellow English-speaking couple we met on the street, we were directed to the Marché des Capucins for lunch. Tucked in between stalls of fresh produce, cheeses and meat were little restaurants. We were lured into Bistro Poulette, where locals were feasting on pots of mussels. We could choose between two sauces: traditional white wine and the restaurant’s special poulette sauce made of fish stock, cream and lemon. After a pot of each sauce, basket of fries and two glasses of wine, we learned the restaurant had just opened that weekend. In celebration, the chef sent over two complimentary glasses of Lillet, a wine aperitif. Lunch at the market was a perfect start to our Bordeaux weekend.
Planning where to stay in Bordeaux was challenging. Instead of paying an arm and a leg to stay in the city and do wine tastings, we opted for a bed and breakfast outside of the city. Château Lavergne-Dulong is a gem with classically designed guest rooms, a beautiful 37-acre property, personalized service, and vineyard and cellar access.
Owner and oenologist, Sylvie Dulong, took over her family’s property and created the business in 2008. It was truly touching to see how much work she’s put into making the château a success. Sylvie runs the vineyard – overseeing wine production, sales and tours – and takes special pride in welcoming guests to stay in one of the four chambres d’hôtes. She was beyond hospitable during our stay and made our weekend extra special.
Saturday evening, my mom and I participated in Sylvie’s wine workshop. After touring the cellar, we learned that Château Lavergne-Dulong features 7.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 acres of Merlot. Using pipettes and test tubes, we sampled the vineyard’s two biodynamic and organic grapes and made our blend. We then learned to cork our bottle the old-school way and made our own label. I couldn’t resist naming my blend, Pamplemousse!
In 2010, the château planted 2.5 acres of Cabernet Franc and 3 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, which will be available to taste this year! To learn more about ordering the château’s delicious wine, which is easily shipped to the U.S., click here.
Feeling a bit famished after our wine workshop, my mom and I needed dinner. Sylvie kindly recommended L’Atmosphère in Saint Germain du Puch. Even though the cab fare was a bit steep, we couldn’t have asked for a better meal. L’Atmosphère was charming, the staff was friendly and the food was delicious.
Don’t leave Bordeaux without visiting Saint-Émilion, one of the region’s principal wine areas. Between the beautiful vineyards and enchanting romanesque architecture, this medieval town is a must-see. My mom and I spent the afternoon wandering the cobblestone streets, sampling wines from local shops and relaxing on terraces.