Bordeaux, its wines, its beaches, sublime

I like to talk today about the Bordeaux region, my favorite in all of France, except the Paris region. There are many regions in France, total 22 as the country is divided sort of like States but not the same. The Bordeaux region is great because of the following reasons :  first,the wines, the best in the world in my wine lovers’s opinion. Second ,the beaches, true only good for july and august but they are on the same level as the  best in Europe and the Americas. Third, the abundance of its gastronomy,diverse natural passages,and its friendly people. There is a huge amount of information here, will need an entire blog to tell you, so will rely on webpages to direct you, and if you need details after browsing the webpages feel free to contact me. 

If you take the city of Bordeaux, you have a bit south the area of the Graves, and Leognan, and Cadaujac beautiful country towns with many activities for the kids and wines of course.  The whole huge area around Bordeaux is connected by a beltway road, the “rocade” or the A630 that takes you into the city or out into the other areas and Spain. My best is to go into the Medoc, the famous area of wines but its has a lot more. From the rocade you  take exit 4 to go into central Bordeaux or exit /sortie in French to no 7 that takes you into the side D1/D2 of wine country along the river Garonne, the other exit/sortie no 8 takes you into the beaches and central area of Medoc.  There is a bus from the Bordeaux train station St Jean to Lacanau near the beaches the No 702, 701,and 710 ; and train service to Pauillac. The car is best here. The train station is best for schedules at the TER webpage here , see the blud left column for schedules ,pricing, and hours, http://www.ter-sncf.com/regions/aquitaine/fr/default.aspx  ; the buses  info is here http://www.keolis-gironde.com/horaires/  . There is ,also, a great airport connecting to the rest of France and some European destinations webpage in English http://www.bordeaux.aeroport.fr/en

Once in the Medoc you have many department roads that takes you everywhere there, like the D215 and D207,D208,D3,and D5; via michelin is good for a starter to guide you while on the road,webpage http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/ ,again if you need shortcuts or curious let me know.

The main sites in the city of Bordeaux are; Esplanade des Quinconces ( one of the biggest plazas in Europe, see the towers statues of Montaigne,and Montesquiou ,see photo below); Grand Théatre ( one of the most beautiful in France b. 1773-1780); walk the street of Cours de l’Intendance ( where at no 57 Goya lived,died in 1828,and now a Spanish cultural center); Place Gambetta (houses style Louis XV, the English garden where the guillotine was placed during the French revolution,and the door porte Dijeaux b.1748 see photo); Place de la Bourse (B1730-1755 with its fountain Trois Grâces b1860), Place du Parlement (old royal market place, Basilique Saint-Michel (b 1350) ,and its tower Tour St Michel with it clock dates from the end 15C,and the tallest tower in the south at 114.60 meters {378 ft]) ; Porte de la Grosse Cloche ( from a belltower of the 15C the big clock is an institution in Bordeaux); Rue Sainte-Catherine (pedestrian and full of shops and restos, walk it about 2 kms long); see the Musée d’Aquitaine ( the prehistoric to today history of the region) ;Musée des Beaux-Arts or fine arts museum( next to hotel de ville great paintings); Cathedrale St Andre (by the place Pey-Beland, the most majestic of the churches in Bordeaux, built in the 12-13C) Tour Pey-Berland ( 229 steps to reach the top,and a beautiful view of Bordeaux); Centre Jean Moulin( the hero of the French resistance, deportation,and view of WWII); Basilique St Seurin( UNESCO heritage site, built 11C; great historical chapels,and rosaries, gorgeous); Musee du Vin( for the wine story in detail by the river Chartrons district), Hotel de Ville (palais de Rohan b 18C), and Pont de Pierre. These are the highlights, you could easily spend two days in the city alone. the tourist office webpage is at http://www.bordeaux-tourisme.com/

For shopping the city is just like Paris, you have all the main stores here too, and for me and the family  the shopping mall at Meriadeck is great and easy to reach on public transport from anywhere in the city plus a great underground parking for yours truly; webpage http://www.meriadeck.com/. If you want to buy wines,etc in the city, the very best selection,service, and availability with price is La Vinothéque,near the tourist office, webpage http://www.vinotheque-bordeaux.com/fr/la-vinotheque.html

Food is king so we have eaten in many over the years, our long favorites are: El Bodegon, 14 place de la Victoire.Brasserie du Passage St Michel, 14 place Canteloup; Cafe Opera, Place de la Comedie, Le Dix, 10 place de la Bourse, Bistro Romain, 65 Cours de l’intendance, le Bal des Grands Hommes, 2 rue Montesquieu; Cafe des Arts, 138 cours Victor Hugo, just a sampler.

Moving south you can visit Cadaujac, with its petting zoo and stables, great for kids, La Ferme Exotique, its call, and you need a car as this is in deep country with great views south of Bordeaux. Highly recommended if with kids and have a car. webpage http://www.fermeexotique.com/

Going over the Médoc, now you are in heaven country, my country, we are base here always. We go here every year, sometimes twice a year during school vacations,the long one in the summer we spent 3 weeks. Our favorite is to rent a camping at Les Grand Pins (see the photos) the webpage for the lodging is here,and great for the whole family only 300 meters from the beach!!! http://www.lesgrandspins.com/en/   .You have a nice mobile homes, with all amenities, great pricing, with grocery store ,bike rental, pool, exercise room, dancing at nights,and free parking so close to all in the region even trips to Bordeaux. The beach is glorious here, see the photos as good as any anywhere. It is in the town of Lacanau-Océan, the webpage for the town tourist office is here in French, (the best secrets by pedmar10 are only in French) http://www.lacanau.com/default.htm . You are along the ocean here, you can go south or north from here or over the pines central section of the Medoc to the wine chateaux. Lacanau-Océan is a world center of Surfing in Europe and the best come here to compete in the Lacanau Pro event.  We eat at the camping on our own, but if we splash out of town our evening favorite is Kayoc, by the beach overlooking its sunsets glorious, webpage http://www.restaurant-kayoc-lacanau.com/ . for ice cream we go to Pinocchio in city center, for groceries and more selection we go supermarché Shoppi,4 rue Emile Baudoux, near the main street to the beach,and outside by the huge lake of Lacanau with many water activities, we eat at Restaurant La Conche, 24 allée du club de voile, la Grande Escoure, webpage and reservation contact for evenings here http://www.lacanauocean.com/fr/restaurant-la-conche-lac-lacanau.htm

We head for the beaches of Cancans and Hourtin as well like our playground area, crisscrossing this wonderful region, great beaches there if a bit smaller. We love the italian ices in Cancans, and the pizza at Hourtin. Cant missed the ice creams in Cancans its right in the small city center street facing the beach at Maubuisson at 2 rue Rossignols, the webpage for tourism there and Hourtin,and Lacanau in English! is here http://www.medococean.com/uk/accueil.php . The pizza at Hourtin is Restaurant Pizzeria Le Palerme at 8 place de l’église, tel +33 05 56 09 18 46.right in front of the church, in the market plaza and the road to the beach.

The Hourtin area has a huge lake too, and its own tourist office webpage here http://www.hourtin-medoc.com/uk/index.html . Then you have a webpage for tourism in the entire Medoc peninsula with English translation here http://www.medoc-tourisme.com/ . There is also a webpage for Carcans-Maubuisson here http://www.carcans-maubuisson.com/Prive/US/index.asp

Throughout this wonderful area we enjoy all kind of beach activities, but,also,kart racing, bike riding ,and horse riding at these places . For Karting we go north along the ocean to Vendays-Montalivet motorsports centre, great rides all pro done, and fun for the teen kids, You can contact them ahead for info and direction but its really easy on the D6 road, email  karting.quad.montalivet@orange.fr . the webpage for the karting is  http://www.karting-quad-montalivet.com/. For the horse riding we have been using since 2005  this place, Lacanau Equi-Passion, you can taylor made the rides according to level of expertise,and arrange for rides on the ocean ! webpage http://lacanau-equipassion.fr/ . For bicycle riding, we can use the local rental at the camping but they have a limited number of bikes, so we go out into the town and rent at Locacycles,Avenue de l’Europe, Central Garage ,tel +33 05 56 26 30 99. just before the Kayoc resto on your way to the beach.

While at the famous D2 wine route and cruising all these wonderful properties, we have eaten at the Restaurant La Toscane, 28 rue Aristide Briand, Pauillac, right from the harbor city center up the pedestrian street to the resto on your left side;great Italian dishes and Pizza which our teens love always. Try for local traditional dishes the Restaurant Saint Martin, 5 quai Leon Perier across from pleasure boat marina, contact email at lesaintmartin@orange.fr 
Here of course you are in heaven at least me, its my place PAUILLAC, got it. You can visit the wonderful Petit Musée des Automates or mechanical driven puppets at 3 rue Aristides Briand ,same as resto ,webpage http://museeautomatespauillac.jimdo.com/  .  You can indulge yourselves by visiting the museum and property of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, by reservation at tel + 33 05.56.73.21.29. webpage  http://www.bpdr.com/  or the museum of the property of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande with reservation at tel +33 05.56.59.19.40. webpage http://www.pichon-lalande.com/

Other than visiting the chateaux direct, if time is of the essence, you must stop by the vinothéque de Pauillac, it is in the Maison du tourisme et vins de Pauillac building just at the entrance to the town; info at bottom at this webpage http://www.pauillac-medoc.com/default.asp?cnf=3|  with many souvenirs and food items from the region as well . Once in the area I recommend heading over to Chateau Lanessan at Cussac-Fort-Medoc, with its nice fortress (Fort Medoc) by the river in the town , webpage here  http://amis-fort-medoc.fr/spip.php?rubrique37 ,   and on the chateau property a very nice carriage museum and horse history with tastings, my kids introduction to wine tasting was here back in 2008! webpage http://www.lanessan.com/#/Visite/ . Another great wine and information center ist he Maison du vins de Margaux ,which has it own webpage http://maisonduvindemargaux.com/ ,here we have try the Brasserie du Lac part of relais de Margaux complex and its wonderful, webpage http://www.relais-margaux.fr/pageseditos,20,top_556BCF34.html.  Do not forget to stop by in Margaux at the Mademoiselle de Margaux chocolates,is famous serments de       Medoc ,webpage http://www.mademoiselledemargaux.com/    .

Going to Saint Estéphe, the maison du vins there is excellent in inner court of the street very quaint area, webpage http://www.vins-saint-estephe.com/  .Another big event in the area but not my taste however, it is important to know for those who love running and marathoning is the one from Pauillac, now call the Marathon du Medoc, webpage http://www.marathondumedoc.com/

And, a page in French, soon in English for everything, or almost everything you need to know about the Medoc, Bordeaux region or the Gironde, here is a know it all webpage http://www.caruso33.net/ . Of course there are many individual properties visited over the years too numerous to mention, buy the Feret edition, Bordeaux and its Wines book at any serious book store.  Hope it bring some taste for visiting the region, its glorious, for all ages, and the France profonde/deep France I love so much. Cheers.

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