The premier cru vineyards and Bordeaux

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We left early without breakfast as the Hotel Neptune doesn’t serve le petit dejeuner until 9am – way too late for us. It was drizzly but we successfully dodged rain showers all day.

We started out on deserted roads through marshy farmlands. We stopped at Sophie’s cafe restaurant at about 8am but she wasn’t set up to sell breakfast. After we had ordered coffees she realised she could supply a baguette with butter and jam – better than nothing. It’s a mystery why she was open at that time without breakfast being part of her business plan.

We passed a number of small ports around muddy rivers leading to the Garonde estuary and could see the large Blayais nuclear power station on the far shore. The estuary is lined with many fishing huts on stilts with nets suspended over the water.

We soon arrived in the vineyards of the Medoc. Unlike our previous days in France, the villages had almost no commercial activity: no bakeries, not even a tabac. We noticed the same in the Champagne district in 2010. Perhaps the wine industry squeezes out normal rural life.

We finally got some lunch at a bakery in Pauillac and there noticed a small van fitted with a large and empty (except for breadcrumbs) wooden bread bin. It had just finished doing the run around the aforementioned villages. We rode on into the famous wine estates around Pauillac including Château Latour and Château Margaux.

The cycling conditions were not ideal as we approached Bordeaux – roads and traffic converged and we struggled to find alternative routes.

Bordeaux lays on quite an arrival experience. After battling the traffic and threading through the suburbs on a meandering cycle route we reached the river front with its stunning vista. To the left, another triumph of French engineers, the modern, opening Pont d’Aquitane; in front of us the broad expanse of the Garonde River; and to the right kilometres of grand, 4-5 story, 18th century, mansard-roofed buildings separated from the waterfront by a wide stone-paved concourse.

Trams run along the waterfront and through the historical area without overhead cables by drawing power from specially developed in-ground system.

We are currently sheltering from a cold afternoon shower in a cozy but noisy hipster cafe called Karl. The waiters are continually asking us whether we’re finished and trying to take away the remnants of our provencale platter. Grrrr!

One Response to “The premier cru vineyards and Bordeaux”

  1. Linepark Abroad (text by BP, photos by RL) Says:

    Grrr and brrr. Hope the red cape is protecting you Rosalie from rain and traffic.

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