C'est Beaune

I moved to Paris with the idea that I would travel as much as I could to “get it out of my system.” The problem I've found with that theory is for each place I go, three more get added to the wish list.

Take Dijon. Michael and I went on a weekend trip there in August 2012 and have been wanting to revisit Bourgogne ever since. Like anywhere in France, it can be characterized by delicious food, as well as pretty towns and plenty of vineyards. 

All it took for us to plan a return trip was confirmation that Michael’s sister was coming to visit. She was hoping to go on a weekend trip that included a vineyard tour, and that was all we needed to go on. This time we would travel just south of Dijon, to Beaune. And unlike last time when we took a train to and from Paris, we rented a car to be able to explore more.

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The Loire Valley in a Weekend

My husband handmade a scrapbook to propose to me. There was dinner, dessert, flowers, a limo, the works. But the fact that he took a hobby of mine that I loved and created a scrapbook really touched me. Especially when I realized later that it had involved many evenings of scrapbooking, not exactly a popular college senior male pastime. (His friends graciously marathon-ed through some TV series so he could craft and still participate.)

That’s exactly the way I was touched this past weekend. Not only did my brother and his girlfriend choose to visit us on the precious little vacation time they had, but after the big surprise of their presence in Paris, they announced that that was only the beginning. Michael and David had planned a weekend to the Loire Valley for us four, completely on their own. I love travel planning but I well know all the work, time, and effort that goes into it. Needless to say, I was sincerely moved by their gift to me.

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Into the Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Planning a Trip to Bordeaux

So did the winemedieval village, and ocean convince you that a trip to Bordeaux is a good idea? If it did, here's what I recommend to pull the vacation together.

Make the city of Bordeaux your home-base during your stay. It is the largest city in the area and offers plenty of choices for accommodations, restaurants, and night life. 

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Uncorking Bordeaux

You know that sound of the pop of the cork, followed by gurgling and a splash hitting the glass? I thought planning a trip to Bordeaux would be that easy, as simple as opening a bottle of wine and making the first pour. Wine flows freely in France so I assumed it would not be hard to figure out where to do some tastings in perhaps the most well-known wine region in the country, Bordeaux. 

The decision to select Bordeaux as a destination for some of the wine enthusiasts coming to visit me was the easy part. I planned a long weekend with friends there last March, and then a quick overnight stop-off on en route to Dordogne with my parents. Beyond that though, figuring out where exactly to go took much more time. 

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Bordeaux's Little Sister: Saint-Émilion

Promises of medieval quaintness and beauty led me to Saint-Émilion the first time. The small family-run vineyards that surround the town will keep me coming back.

About a 40-minute drive east of Bordeaux lies the town of St. Émilion, covered in cobblestones and surrounded by miles of vineyards. The city of Bordeaux is perfect to make a home base for its central location and for more happenings going on, but it is essential to make a trip east to its little sister, the small town of Saint-Émilion.

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Le Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants is Coming!

Bon lundi!

Imagine a huge venue filled with about 1,000 stands featuring independent wine makers from all over France. Not just featuring, but staffed by the wine makers themselves. Offering a chance taste their products, as well as talk about each wine in more detail.

Insert my favorite semi-annual event here. Coming to Paris from Thursday, November 28 - Monday, December 2 is Le Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. For 6 euros, you get entrance and a wine glass for the free tastings. Not only do I love the fact that I don't have to blindly guess which wine I might like at a grocery store, but I can meet people who own or work at smaller vineyards and support them rather than big corporations. 

Bring a cart or caddy (rolling suitcases are also popular) and get ready for a wonderful event. I will be visiting Domaine Poulet et Fils (stand T-37) for some crémant (a sparkling wine) and Domaine de Cerbier (stand H-71) for red wine from the Corbières appellation, along with seeking out some potential new favorites. 

Barrels of wine at Château Desmirail (Margaux appellation of Bordeaux)

Le Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants

Porte de Versailles, Pavilion 7

Thursday-Sunday (11/28-12/1) from 10:00am-8:00pm; Monday (12/2) from 10:00am-6:00pm