This summer, I had the chance to go on the trip of a lifetime – exploring the Bordeaux-Aquitaine region of France as part of an exciting project with Atout France, the French Tourism Office located in the U.S. This project, hashtagged #VisitFrenchWine, explored the dynamic and exciting relationship France has to the global wine market.
I’ve been a wine enthusiast for quite a few years now and have almost always found myself drawn to French wine (Côtes du Rhône and Bordeaux are among my favorites). When Atout France offered me the chance at a little grape education, I pounced on the opportunity!
Arriving in Bordeaux was a whirlwind. I dropped my luggage off at the modern Seeko’o Hotel and hopped into Désirée, a bright yellow vintage French 2cv6 car born in 1976, for an immersive tour of Bordeaux’s fantastic sights. If you visit Bordeaux, you absolutely must take this tour – it was marvelous!
The following morning, I took a biking tour of some of the more alternative and artistic places the city had to offer. My guide, Véronique Baggio, was an absolute dream – so informed and enthusiastic! Among the spots we saw, the Garage Moderne was my favorite; it’s a community-based mechanical workshop where “students” at any level can learn how to fix anything on wheels! Afterward, I noshed on lunch and an expansive view of the city from the rooftop restaurant at Mama Shelter Hotel followed by a trip to the Cité Du Vin, Bordeaux’s fabulous new venue to showcase global wines and educate consumers along the way!
My last day in Bordeaux proper was a blast – with visits to Bernard Magrez Cultural Institiue, a flight simulation with the cool guys over at Aviasim, and dinner at one of the coolest cocktail bars I’ve ever been to – Point Rouge! They have over 100 references, a total must visist!
The next 36 hours of my trip were spent in Saint-Emilion, the medieval town surrounded by epic chateaux and vast vineyards. In addition to the town itself, the Saint-Emilion winegrowing area has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, encompassing the surrounding villages, which are able to include “Saint-Emilion” in the names of their wines.
I took a tour of the 30-acre Château de Candale, operated by the cooper Jean-Louis Vicard. The property even boasts a bistro-style restaurant – L’Atelier de Candale – that offered stunning views of the property.
While in Saint-Emilion, I had the incredible opportunity to lodge with the Duffau family who run the famed Château La Mothe du Barry. Monsieur and madame Duffau took me on a tour of their massive vineyard and hosted me for a tasting and dinner at their beautiful estate.
The next morning, I traveled by car to the coastal town of Arcachon where the style, charm, and beauty of the Belle Epoche reign supreme. I spent the day touring the oyster beds (with real oyster farmers!) in the Bay of Arcachon and checked out the lighthouse at Cap-Ferret!
I can’t thank Atout France enough for giving me this incredible opportunity and allowing me the chance to explore some of highlights of the Bordeaux-Aquitaine region. I would very highly suggest to any one (wine enthusiasts, especially) to consider Bordeaux, Saint-Emilion, and Arcachon for your next trip!
Scout Sixteen is a lifestyle blog from Justin Livingston. Justin grew up in Mississippi but relocated to New York City in 2008. On Scout Sixteen, Justin shares his passion in fashion, travel, food and drink, and mental wellness.