Bordeaux and Beyond for the Bon Vivants

"Once is not enough.…When it is a visit to Bordeaux, the wine capital of the world, this is true", says Ruma Singh. Set in the balmy south west of France, Bordeaux is under 3 hours by train from Paris and a gateway to some of the most famous châteaux in the world.

On a Discovery Trail

There is something for everyone in this historic UNESCO World Heritage city, instantly recognizable in its images of its centuries-old Place de La Bourse reflected in its Mirroir d’Eau or water mirror. A culturally-inclined visitor might want to explore the city, chock-full of music (Grand-Théâtre), museums of art (Musée des Beaux-Arts) and indeed the world’s most famous museum to wine: the literally shining golden spire of La Cite du Vin, where €20 will literally take you on a whirlwind tour of all things wine, ending in its sweeping 8th floor tasting room Belvedere, with its 1000-bottle chandelier with a glass of wine as you gaze over the city.

A Meal Done Right

Then there is food. Don’t leave Bordeaux without a fine meal, be it Arcachon oysters, suckling lamb from Paulillac, confit of duck or its famous mushrooms (cèpes), to be found in bistros and restaurants dotting the city, from Gordon Ramsay’s Le Pressoir d’Argent at the Grand, to Michelin star chef Pierre Gagnaire’s tasting menu at La Grande Maison (owned by billionaire wine magnate Bernard Magrez), and at casual eateries owned by talented young hipster chefs.

Beyond Bordeaux

Each time there is magic to be experienced; my first visit to Bordeaux consisted of meandering, leisurely drives around chateaux of Haut-Médoc, tasting sessions of Grand Cru wines, people watching while dining at Bordeaux’s many bustling terrasse restaurants and moonlit wanderings among the vines.

The next time was a memorable visit to the historic medieval town of Saint-Émilion with its steep cobbled streets and bell-tower, a fine dinner at the newly-crowned Michelin-starred Logis de la Cadene, drives around charming Fronsac and al fresco sundowners in sun-dappled vineyards.

Whether a wine worshipper, food lover or culture enthusiast, Bordeaux demands many repeated visits. I can’t wait to return again.