Bordeaux Beyond The Wine

As the Olympics descend upon Paris, international visitors crave to dip their toes in the sand further south. While many "ooo" and "ahh" at the prospect of a provincial escapade, the true French are breaking new habits on France’s South West coast.

Two hours from Paris, our European correspondent lands upon the windswept, tree-lined Atlantic coastline of France to explore the developing Bordeaux and greater Medoc region. Boasting over twenty Michelin restaurants, a growing wellness scene, and vineyards aplenty, we take you along for 72 hours in the region that has been evolving at a whisper.

Check In

Setting it straight as a true Bordelais, there is no other way to start and end your day than with a walk in the over 300-year-old ‘Le Jardin Publique’ of central Bordeaux. This is why we opted for the boutique hotel Villas Foch close to the Quai. Designed by local architect Joseph-Adolphe Thiac, this art deco pied a terre is perfect for a night in the city.

The Caffeine Fix

The young and the old rendezvous for a good gossip at the city’s classic, Miremont for espressos and a croissant. Expect many to linger until lunch, upon which they move next door to one of the neighbouring bistros on Place des Grands Hommes.

For those searching high and low in France for plant-based alternatives, L’Alchimiste makes a mean almond cortado (and turns wine bar by night).

View & Do

Taking the long-winded route to lunch via the Rive Garrone, pass through the charming flea markets for class ‘brocant’ hunting of vinyls, tableware to antiques. Just outside Basilique Saint-Michael, our favorite marché runs all weekend.

For a touch of the ‘woo woo’ brought by the budding student scene in town, head to Graduate Store 01, Coutume Store, and Au Sanglier de Russie for a melange of non-essential, essentials across fashion home and design. Passing a rainy day in the city? Head to Libraire Mollat for an endless supply of board games and international classic literature.

Drinks & Dining

A lunchtime counter spot at Au Bistrot, the ‘market fresh, comfort food’ restaurant dreamed up by chef Jacques In’In and sommelier Francois Pervillé is top of the list. For those wanting to dip even more Bordelais, we send you in the direction of La Tupina for your pan-fried foie gras. Looking for that panoramic moment just outside of the city? Head for a long lunch at Le Terrace Rouge and opt for the two-seater overlooking Pomerol.

Easing off the degustation in search of small plates and a lighter buzz? Head to natural wine bar ‘Soif’ a vins or La Pointe for bubbles and oysters.

The Road Trip

Would you assume the wine has gone to our heads if someone suggested a vineyard for your summer reset? From as little as 45 minutes from the city, new creative direction at the leading Grand Cru vineyards has farm-to-table tastings and locally sourced spa remedies to be indulged.

Starting just 45 minutes outside the city in Saint Emilion’s right bank, the degustation-and-detox journey begins at Chateau Troplong Mondot. Traversed by open-air vintage Land Rover, explore vintage Harvest and Grass Luncheon Picnics paired with tastings and seasonal forgery. Their team will take you behind the ‘Birth of a Vintage’ from pruning to blending in the gardens.

For an overnight experience, check in an hour north of the city at La Maison d’Estournel. This centuries-old property, amalgamating the original Cos and Pomys wine estates, features a soon-to-open massage yurt, farm-to-table cooking experience, and day boat trips to the local Arcachon (for re-tox over moules et frites).

More time to explore the west coast? Equidistant between Bordeaux and Biarritz, check in at the celebrated Les Prés d’Eugenie for that trifecta of Michelin-dining, spa sanctuary, and Le ‘Cuisine Detox’ Cooking Academy for that full 360 worth stretching out over a few days.

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