Bordeaux and Saint Emilion-The region of Wine and Beauty
Updated: Jun 27, 2020
The city Bordeaux has stirred my curiosity long before I have been visiting it.What an exciting name is Bordeaux.This passionate colour has been always one of my favorites.It's also the colour of the wine symbolizing this city. It is clear for any amateur of that red vivid alcoholic drink, that he can't visit France without seeing Bordeaux and its Surroundings.
But not only because of the wine and its precious, exquisite qualities. There are a few good reasons why you should visit Bordeaux.
It is the "It City" to be. Renovated, electrifying ,and advanced. When arriving there, you can relax. Not only you discover an astonishing architectural beauty in every street corner, but you are also been carried away immediately in a lively city that proposes various options of entertainment. It makes you understand straight away that you have arrived in the right city.
"I have left Paris to restart my life in Bordeaux, "Tells me a young Parisian man. I have met him in one of the new fashionable, cozy coffee shops, where he was working. He was one of the staff members in another very nice cafe in Paris I have been going to for quite a while.
It was revealed in the weekend that Bordeaux is not only an ideal destination for wine lovers but also for high-quality coffee.)
"I moved to Bordeaux a few months ago. It's tough though to find an apartment.Its a very trendy city. My girlfriend and I are going from one Airbnb to another but we are not giving up, we will find it eventually." For the person who walks in its streets, has the feeling that he is being enveloped in a marvelous dress from the 18th century, embroidered with many layers.
One of the most remarkable squares is la"place Quinconces" in the heart of the city. You have to stop and look at it attentively. Inside was built a spectacular, royal monument from the 19th century.
However, it's the 18th century which related essentially to Bordeaux. Many of the buildings had been renovated at that period. It's the golden age. Philosophers and writers as Montesquieu, Montaigne, and Mauriac had settled down in Bordeaux. (the three M).Where some of their creations were yielded. Their names were tributed to some streets. There is a pretty square dedicated to those writers " La place des Grands Hommes" right next to a commercial center.
One of the places"the city's source of pride "is the Big Theater of Bordeaux" le Grand Theatre ".This magnificent Opera building was restored after it was massively burnt in the 18th century. The architect was Victor Louis. The renovated building was reopened with a premiere, the play "Athalie" of Racine. "Victor Louis is an influential figure who had contributed a lot to the great achievement of Bordeaux." explained me Laurent Croisier, the public relations theater director "I received a detailed and interesting explanation from him about the building's architecture. The transformations, it went through.
From outside it looks like a giant greek temple, with the white elegant statues standing online on the roof of the building.
"We host a lot of modern various dance companies, not just classic ones. Bat-Sheva assembly from Israel performed here more than once. We tend to invite companies from all over the world" He said, to conclude.
Inside the theater reminds a stunning ballroom. Every part looks as if it was thoroughly considered. Despite the illusion that the curtains are from cloth and the walls are made from marble, the structure is from wood tainted to red, gold, blue, and white. It was a pleasure to sit in a hall
so admirably decorated and listen to a rehearsal of cello's sounds from a performance that will be played soon.
When I have left the theater, the evening has coasted sleekly over the city. It was enlightened magically.
I was walking through the main street "Saint Catherine"
inside the quarter Saint Pierre. The historic heart of the city. The street is full of shops, Cafes, restaurants, and some impressive squares as "la place de la bourse".
You can become drunk only by the scent of the wine that follows you where ever you go.
Nearly towards the end of Saint- Catherine,there is an ancient big synagogue which blends in well with the city's architecture.
The previous mayor Alain Juppe, had contributed a lot to the expansion of Bordeaux. His name is mentioned among the residents with immense awe
"Which wine would you like to drink darling"?
said an American man to his wife in the lovely Brasserie l'Orleans
were we are having dinner.He is a businessman from Florida who imports French wine to some restaurants there.
Few times in a year he and his wife are coming to France to the wineries, in the region of Bordeaux as in Medoc and Saint Emilion. in order to choose seasonal wine.
I told them that tomorrow I would visit Saint Emilion.
"You will love it, you will see, you will be inside the kingdom of wine""
The wine that was recommended to me by the waiter was fruity and savory. I have enjoyed the hearty atmosphere in that restaurant as much as the flavourful dishes. (The solomon filet was delicious )The American man and his wife drank few wine glasses, coordinated with their meal, they stayed however pretty sober.
At night Bordeaux is full of life, all the wine bars are open, packed with people who sit outside. "Wine makes glad the heart of man" everyone looks so cheery.
Next of the Hotel Normandy where I stayed, there was a beautiful wine bar that looked like it was a museum. "La Maison de Vin" It is opened mainly in the early evening's hours.
The wine is engraved deeply in the roots of this city. So no wonder that even the next day Saturday at lunchtime, people are strolling next to the huge food market right beside the Garonne river offering a large display of delicious French delicacies. Oysters with lemon accompanied by red or rose wine. The city looked as if it was in a nonstop celebration. This combination of lightness and beauty is contagious.maybe instead of a usual late coffee morning I will have a glass of wine?
The village Saint Emilion
I have to separate from Bordeaux for a little while cause I am heading to the village Saint Emilion,40 minutes drive with a train.
"You have the luck not to be this Saturday afternoon in Bordeaux. The yellow jacket protesters will arrive and they are going to go wild as usual. It won't be pleasant" warned me one of the residents who indicates me the way to the train station.
The nearer I approached the village Saint Emilion, the more I have perceived green areas on the sideways.During the 15 minutes walk from the station to the village. I started to feel the serene countryside atmosphere, to hear the birds singing and in the background, to notice the ancient grey stone houses.
Saint Emilion an old village celebrates this year 20 years of joining the UNESCO Patrimoine due mainly to its historical, phenomenal sights. The village is like a concentrated, rich wine that carries its name Saint Emilion, which I tried just a small amount as a starter, in order, to keep my energies flowing.
Its picturesque beauty and because it's a wine trade (from the Middle-Ages the British have used to import it) have always attracted many tourists from all over the world. You can meet them walking along the paths, entering one of the many wine shops, that offers a big display . buying a few bottles.
A vineyard in the village called "Chateau".It is where the wine is produced Usually, it is reserved in big vessels
In the cool cellar. It is decorated with painting and etchings on the wall. When you enter inside, it feels like you go to a sacred place. Upstairs you can taste the different flavors and buy the wines.
One of the most important sites in the village. The main tourist attraction is the Monolithic church. Carved in a precipice between the 12th and the 15th century after the crusades. It is under the ground. The space is very vast. It has ancient remains from the middle ages as engravings and paintings. You can spot, angels and dragons in the obscurity. It has a haunting atmosphere and the comparison with the church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is unavoidable as the guide explained. There is a small part inside that served for the burial site. There are figures painted of saints that arise to the sky
When I stepped out, the smell of incense was replaced again with the tempting aroma of the wine. It was early evening and the small village was loaded gradually with the exhilarating fragrance of wine and spring.
The fine weather accompanies me on my way back to Bordeaux. I try to find out if the passage of the yellow jacket was violent, but apparently, the demonstration was under control. Many people were having delicious Sunday brunch in the Cafes and Restaurants, (it's very popular in Bordeaux)The places are packed, so you have sometimes to queue up for a while, but it's worth it.
I noticed a big poster on the "Grand Theatre" of a famous ballet company that will present the "4 tendencies" from mid-May. Maybe its a good excuse to visit again.
A group of tourists stands near me were gazing as well at the huge commercial publicity hanged above and then at the roof of the theater. Under the bright blue sky and the ravishing Rey of lights, it was as if Bacchus the God of Wine himself was sunbathing on the roof of the theater.
"It's a great city Bordeaux" commented admiringly in English one of them.
And you just have to agree with his words.
Pictures credit- Tourism office- Bordeaux and Saint Emilion