Graves and Sauternes
To the south lie the origins of the Bordeaux vineyards, with Pessac-Léognan, Graves, Sauternes, Barsac, etc. The Graves and Sauternes appellations on the left bank of the Garonne River produce wine in three colours: red, white, and gold. Must do: Vinothérapie Spa at Les Sources de Caudalie in Martillac, for a heavenly, relaxing break.
Otherwise known as «the chateau trail», this 80 km trail through the Médoc vineyards, from Eysines to Saint-Vivien de Médoc, via Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, and Saint-Estèphe, offers views of the varied architecture of Bordeaux» best-known wine estates. In the heart of the Pauillac vineyards, the restored hamlet of Bages is a delightful place to stop, featuring Café Lavinal, a chic bistro, a bakery-gourmet food shop, and several boutiques.
Blaye and Bourg
Just across the estuary, on the right bank, the Côtes de Blaye and Bourg and its family properties. Extraordinary views over the estuary, Romanesque churches, Gallo-Roman archaeological sites, and even picturesque little harbours! At Prignac-and-Marcamps, Pair-non-Pair, one of the oldest decorated caves in the world (-30,000 years), displays extraordinary animal carvings.
In Saint Emilion-Pomerol- Fronsac
Saint-Emilion, on the right bank of the Dordogne River, known as the «hill of 1,000 Châteaux», is famous for its fine, elegant wines, as well as its medieval village, UNESCO World Heritage vineyards, almond macaroons, and the largest monolithic church in Europe, carved out of solid rock. Over 250 châteaux are on sale at cellar-door prices at the Maison du Vin.
The largest winemaking region in Bordeaux, sometimes compared to Tuscany, produces a multitude of red, rosé, and clairet wines and a wide variety of white wines. The area also boasts many picturesque villages and historic abbeys.
Places to visit: the Unesco World Heritage site of Sauve Majeure Abbey, and Château de Cadillac, a listed Historical Monument. There is a free easy-to-use application that you can download during your visit:
Bordeaux, gateway to the vineyards
Bordeaux also has its Route du Vin (Wine Trail). There are more than a hundred official «Vignobles & Découvertes» sites in the city and its surroundings (châteaux, events, restaurants, wine bars, cellars etc.). And there are more than 20 châteaux in the metropolitan area. Vines are never far away in Bordeaux! The Bordeaux tourist office offers numerous tours (sixty in the high season!) leaving from the city centre, with various themes such as wine and heritage, wine and gastronomy, wine cruises etc. 21 to 200 euros.