24 hours in a Palace: Les Sources de Caudalie

Set between vines and forests at the gateway to Bordeaux, Les Sources de Caudalie has cultivated its totally unique identity in harmony with its environment for more than 20 years. The Palace has just reopened its doors, uncorking the ideal opportunity to get back to nature and indulge in some self-care. The two restaurants remain closed until further notice but the hotel has adapted its catering and offers picnic baskets to savor among the vines. On the menu: vegetables from the vegetable garden and regional products. Perfect to recharge your batteries!

8:30 am: Breakfast on the pontoon

This morning, the ducks and stately swans have yet to show themselves. From the pontoon where breakfast is served, everyone is on the lookout for them on the lake overlooked by the Tasting Tower. It’s the peaceful, rural, natural start to the day we all long for, far from the hustle and bustle of the world. And yet, Les Sources de Caudalie is only 20 minutes from the city of Bordeaux!

10 am: A room in La Grange au Bateau

Why here rather than any other room? Each of the 40 rooms and 7 suites at Les Sources de Caudalie holds the promise of a unique voyage. Divided between 6 houses, each characteristic of a distinctive feature of the region, they offer an immediate transition to a more gentle and relaxing world. La Grange au Bateau is a favorite, but La Bastide des Grands Crus, Le Comptoir des Indes, La maison du Lièvre, Le Village des Pêcheurs and the Ile aux Oiseaux also have their own wonderful stories to tell.

11 am: Exploring the estate

What has been created and developed here at the heart of the Graves vineyard is an entire ecosystem dedicated to the joy of living. Vines, of course, but also horses, the vegetable garden and the cooperage all play their part in a living entity that changes with the seasons and to which Les Sources de Caudalie loves to introduce its guests.

1 pm: Lunch at La Table du Lavoir

The old wash house in the centre of the room has been reconstructed stone-by-stone as a tribute to the winegrower’s wives who did their washing here in the 19th century. The roof structure was built using wood reclaimed from the cellars at Château Lafite-Rothschild, meat is roasted in the enormous fireplace, and the menus are presented on the wooden washing bats or battoirs once used by the women here. Welcome to La Table du Lavoir for a sophisticated ‘bistro’ lunch. In the summer months, the glazed wooden doors are opened for diners to enjoy the sheltered terrace.

3 pm: Let’s take a walk in the woods

To make the most of the natural world, the Château Le Thil park in the middle of the estate is populated with majestic century-old trees. Simpler but very appetising, the Jardin des Abeilles (Bee Garden) - the Les Sources de Caudalie vegetable garden - is also well worth a visit. It’s here that the organic vegetables, fruit and herbs used by the kitchen are grown for maximum freshness. There’s even a hen house to provide wonderful fresh eggs every morning!

5 pm: The spa here is unique!

A vinotherapy spa? The Les Sources de Caudalie spa is one-of-a-kind, so you have to try it! Presented as “unique in the world”, the treatments combine the virtues of naturally hot spring water rich in minerals and trace elements drawn from a depth of more than 540 meters, with the most recent scientific discoveries about the benefits of vines and grapes.

5:30 pm: Wines and divine treatments

Inevitably, it’s a-dor-able: the sophistication of the treatment rooms, subtle combination of wood and stone, and spaces reminiscent of old tobacco kilns. Everything has been carefully designed to harmonise with the surrounding vineyard landscapes. Good to know: Caudalie antioxidant and anti-ageing products are guaranteed 100% natural.

8 pm: Fine dining for two in the La Grand’Vigne restaurant

It’s in a beautiful former orangery at the edge of the lake at the foot of vine-clad hills that the 2 Michelin star La Grand’Vigne restaurant welcomes its diners. Could anyone dream of more sophisticated surroundings in which to discover the terroir-inspired cuisine of Chef Nicolas Masse? And then there are the wines of Pessac-Léognan and other superb vineyards selected and presented by sommelier Aurélien Farrouil!

10 pm: New discoveries for seasoned connoisseurs at the French Paradox Bar

The cellar of the French Paradox Bar boasts an inestimable collection totalling 1,200 bottles of old Armagnacs, Cognacs, Whiskies and other spirits! Find out more from the comfort of a superb leather club armchair.

9 am: Shop in the delicatessen

Le Rouge is primarily a relaxed wine bar in which to sample many of the finest delicacies and products of south-western France. But before leaving Les Sources de Caudalie, it’s also the go-to place to stock up with foie gras and traditional canned delicacies, wine jelly, Iberico ham and - of course - some excellent wines.

Getting to Bordeaux