Saturday, June 17, 2017

Best of Bordeaux

I loved the Bordeaux region of France. It was delightful to drive past miles and miles of vineyards and to see walls from medieval buildings. The gnarled grape vines were fascinating. Often we could see someone out tending to the vines.

This is a pigeon house, or a dovecote. The wealthy medieval Europeans would build structures with nesting cubbies for pigeons. 

In the distance is Chateau Yquem. They are known for their wines and a bottle could set you back 500€. My father loved this wine and named his first sailboat the Yquem. No one could pronounce it so boats that followed had more conventional names! The Chateau sits on land that provides the perfect temperatures for grape growing, and thus the fruit grown here is of the highest quality.

We traveled on the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, both of which appear very muddy due to the tides that sweep in and out, stirring up the silt at the mouth of the river and carrying it upriver. Along the banks of the river one sees many fishing huts. These are built on stilts and often have nets suspended above the water.

Image from the Internet. I know I took pictures of several of the fishing huts...
but I just couldn't find them.
There are also many sunken ships, reminders of WW II. Ships were intentionally sunk in the rivers to stop boats from coming upstream. Those that were in the channel have been removed, others lay where they were scuttled so many years ago. 

This riverfront building in Cadillac shows the height of the river at different times through the ages. (And yes, the automobile named the Cadillac owes its name to this village in France. The founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, took his name from this town in France and the car was named in his honor.)

And... there are old buildings! This is part of the fortress in Blaye. The original fortress was built in medieval times and the "new" structures were designed by Vauban and built for Louis XIV in the 17th century.

Back in the day, women would bring their laundry to this facility in Blaye. 

Blaye had lots of steep walkways and lots of steps. 

Then it was on to Bourg, and then to St. Émilion, where a Briton monk of that name fled religious persecution. It is also the site of a monolithic church, partially carved into the rock, dating from the 12th century. We had a tour of the church, but photos are not allowed. The structure is truly amazing!

Thugs os the gate that enters into the cave that St. Emilion lived in, and the entrance to the church.

This opening leads into part of the church.

And then there was wine! We tasted wine on several occasions. Here we had just completed a meal at the Château de Cazeneuve featuring three different sweet sauternes.

The Château was one of the homes of King Henry IV and Queen Margot.

And, another wine tasting! And there was another... 

and another... 

and another....
This was the cask room at Chateau Ambe Tour Pourret where we not only enjoyed their wine, but prepared (and consumed) a fantastic lunch with a French chef.

Some of the wines were good. Others were.... interesting! This is the mill race of a Château in L'isle, Abzec. Their rosé was not to my liking, but the tour and presentation by the wife of the owner was fascinating.

This is the entire mill buildings. The Château is in the background up on the hill. 

And finally, there were the markets. I mentioned that there was a market near where we were docked in Bordeaux. We also ran into markets in Blaye and later in the center of Bordeaux. Many of the vendors have unique trailers to transport and display their goods. Some of the trailers seemed to be in excess of 40 feet in length. (Mr. Dreamy who doesn't hesitate to drive our 40' motorhome commented that he wouldn't want to pull that trailer.)

This is one of the trailers. The seafood is in containers, all on ice. When the market is over, the "canopy" drops down and the trailer is taken home.

I loved the variety of things one could buy at the market. There were clothes, shoes, flowers, spinners (there were several tables of those new toys at each fair), hats, socks, bread, and all kinds of food. Take a walk through the market with me....


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