A Travellerspoint blog

Saint-Emilion, a Pomerol chateau and epicerie

Churches and towers and wines - oh my!

rain 18 °C

Lovely night sleep at La Confession. This is the view from the bedroom window…
…kinda great.

After a hearty breakfast at the Chateau, we made our way into town for a day of exploring. Saint-Emilion is a UNESCO World Heritage site so the whole town - the buildings, monuments and vineyards are protected. After we parked the car, we made our way to the tourist office to get a map. The open door before the office was to the collegiate church - a very old, large Catholic church. Some of the painted frescos were still visible and there are 2 side chapels. It’s one of the town’s landmarks so we checked that off the list. I
270_IMG_0551.jpgn the Cloister (inner courtyard), they’re working on an Apocalypse project with artwork depicting the whole story.IMG_0556.jpg

Weather here this week is atypical of the Saint-Emilion region. Temperatures are hovering around 20C when normally at this time, they’re 28-30C. Plus, we’re getting little rain showers each day. They don’t usually last too long but it comes nevertheless.

After we had our map, we made our way to le Tour du Roi (King’s Tower) but it wasn’t open until 2pm so we crossed town, a few interesting staircases, and found Les Cordeliers. This was an abbey, also with a cloister section, where they make champagne-style wine. We bought an off-dry bottle and some duck pate and enjoyed a ‘picnique' on the grounds. So lovely! The slight sweetness of the wine reminded me of sparkling Rieslings in Ontario.
Time for the King’s Keep - one of the tallest points in Saint-Emilion, those in the ‘know’ can’t seem to decide who built the structure and why. But the views are fabulous - well worth the climb to the top for sure! The tower is used for annual celebrations of the Jurade. The Jurade has over 3000 members who act as ambassadors for the wines of Saint-Emilion throughout the world. IMG_0595.jpg

We had an appointment later in the afternoon at Chateau du Tailhas, the chateau at the southernmost point of the tiny Pomerol region of Bordeaux. There we joined 2 couples from the Netherlands on a tour. As most wines from Pomerol, theirs tend to be made mostly of Merlot, with some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to round out the blend. The niece of the current winemaker was our guide. She is part of the third generation of the family-owned chateau - she grew up in the winery and is very knowledgeable about their property and processes. The end part of the tour of course was a tasting - 2008 and 2001 Pomerol. The ’08 was still fairly young, nice smokiness and still good fresher fruit flavours. The ’01 was much more brick-red in colour, with softer tannins and more dried fruit on both the nose and the palate. Mmmm

Close to the town of Libourne, we ventured in and eventually found a large grocery store. Picked up some food for dinners and then made our way back to the Chateau. Lovely day, lovely wines and fabulous food!

After dinner, we managed to get a Wifi connection at the Chateau - however to do so, we had to go outside to the front of the building near the offices. Who know wifi would have a hard time getting through stone walls! But, the rains came down again,

A bientôt!

Mary Ann & Alena

Posted by otisandma 00:49 Archived in France Tagged monuments picnic Comments (0)

Travel Day

overcast 19 °C

PHEW! We made it to Saint-Emilion! Airplane, bus, high-speed train and car rental, 19 hours later, we’re at Chateau La Confession, in Saint Emilion. Flight was pretty good but we had to deplane away from the main terminal and get bussed over. However, that delay meant our luggage was ready on the belt when we got thru customs - piece of cake.
The bus ride from Charles de Gaulle airport normally should take about 55 minutes. We were almost 2 hours! There were three spots within the city with strikes happening. The French seem to be a strike-happy people. We got to Gare Montparnasse with moments to spare to get on the train to Bordeaux.

Once on the train, we found out that the earlier train that day had been cancelled due to strikes. It felt like we were in a scene from Harry Potter - the train was filled with Ireland supporters for the Euro Cup - a little rowdy but overall pretty good. The side had played Monday in Paris and their fans were travelling to Lyon for the next match. However, the TGV was jam-packed! We actually stood for the whole 3+ hours - but that was truly welcome after sitting so long on plane & bus.
Once in Bordeaux, it took awhile to find the car rental desks because the whole train station & area around are under construction. But we were set and made our way to the chateau. (Mary Ann is very fortunate with a part-time job - the owner of Megalomaniac is also part owner of this chateau and the guest suite was made available for our trip!)
A little exploring in the UNESCO-rated town - visit to a boulangerie, a boucherie & a grocery store for breakfast supplies, then dinner at a little spot in town - time to call it a night. We’ll explore the town and a few chateau’s tomorrow.
Strikes? Yes - they sure impacted our travel, but like contestants on the Amazing Race, we reached our final destination.
Wine? YES - a glass of rose with dinner and some generous Bordeaux at the chateau.

A bientôt!

Mary Ann & Alena

Posted by otisandma 00:41 Archived in France Tagged planes trains travel automobiles strikes Comments (0)

Eve of Departure

A year in the planning...

sunny 16 °C

Finally getting excited for our trip - and we leave tomorrow! Alena & I have been planning this mother-daughter trip for a year now. We're going to fly into Paris then (hopefully) travel South to the Bordeaux region where we'll spend 3 nights in Saint Emilion. After 1 night in the city of Bordeaux, we'll head back to Paris for 4 1/2 days.
On my wish list for this trip:

  • wine!
  • foie gras
  • fresh market foods
  • cabaret show at Moulin Rouge
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • a museum or 2
  • shopping
  • caramels, macarons & chocolates
  • possibly some more wine!

We're really hoping for smooth travels. We're booked but there are major transportation strikes happening in France right now - labour unrest is timed to coincide with Euro Cup soccer. ARRRGGGHH. I hope that Tuesday morning works out OK for us. Nevertheless, we'll be on vacation (we're both due!!) and we'll be in FRANCE!!!

a bientôt!
MA & Alena

Posted by otisandma 16:13 Archived in Canada Tagged wine Comments (0)

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