Part 2: France and England

Bordeaux is the heart of wine country. It’s surrounded by fields of vineyards with chateaus that specialize in their specific wine. My first memory of Bordeaux was seeing a little vineyard in the airport itself. Normally, you find a grassy island surrounded by airport buildings and roads; here there were several lines of vines.

On Christmas day, we decided to venture out into the region to explore some of the local towns. Our first stop was St. Emillon. It’s actually an UNESCO World Heritage site because of its role in winemaking. It’s a wonderful perched village or a village on top of a hill. It has the most magnificent views of the countryside around. I’ve also never seen so many wine shops in my life. I remember looking at the prices for one particularly expensive wine, Petrus, and finding the cheapest bottle for 900 Euros. Cheapest.

Petrus wine prices
Petrus wine prices

This trip proved a little challenging since there was little open. It was Christmas day after all. We did venture into a cloister that led into an empty church. The Romanesque church had these faded murals that spoke of another time. It was a bit eerie how the church was so empty on this particular day. But we may have arrived after services were held.

View from St. Emillon
View from St. Emillon

We did have a Christmas miracle though. Two wine shops were open. Various bottles of wine that ranged from fairly cheap to terrifying expensive were on sale. I’m always astonished at the sheer number of wines available in places like this. So many wines from one area of France! Imagine all the different wines produced in France alone! We ended up procuring a single bottle of golden colored wine; allegedly, it wasn’t a dessert wine but it was really wonderful sweet, almost like honey.

Then we drove on to Castillon-la-Bataille. Again, the town seemed abandoned due to the holiday. We came here because this was where the 100 Years War was ended when the French defeated the British. It was a lot of fun to take my Anglophile fiancé. Teehee.

Then we ventured to Bergerac. We managed to find one restaurant that was open. We were disappointed to find out that their kitchen was closed but we managed to persuade them to serve us foie gras, which was absolutely splendid. We came to the town because of Cyrano de Bergerac. We found two statues depicting the character that were situated quite close together. One was a more realistic depiction of this man with his amazing nose while the other was a bit more stylized. Again, there wasn’t much open due to the holiday. But it was a pretty town near the river.

Dordogne River
Dordogne River

Cyrano

That’s all for now. Tomorrow onwards to Toulouse and Carcassonne!

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