Of course, for clothes and virtually every sort of item, the great department store Les Galeries Lafayette displays top brands and the greatest variety of styles. At midday it was time for a pause in the hotel. What could be more French than to relax over a glass of local wine? I ordered Chateau Lynch-Bages' red, a Grand Cru Classe. That evening Bordeaux's Opera, a must on my list, fulfilled all of my expectations. The spectacle of the night at the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux in Place de la Comedie was also memorable.
Regretfully, it was time to depart this elegant city, but I looked forward to a wine-touring itinerary as I eased my Renault Clio through the traffic and took the road south to Martillac in the Graves (half an hour away) for one night in Les Sources des Caudalie, known for their outstanding grape and wine treatments in the spa. This exquisite hotel and spa overlooks a lake, and the stylish restaurant has a Michelin-starred chef. Next door, the winery Chateau Lynch-Bages offers informative tours and tasting.
Next on my itinerary lay north of Bordeaux in Pauillac in the Medoc, where I stayed in Chateau Cordeillan Bages. This charming 17th-century mansion offers cozy elegant rooms, and dining here is more than a delight. Chef Jean Luc Rochas, awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2007, studied under two-star Michelin Chef Thierry Marx, a master of his art whose innovative surprise treats (amuse-bouches) between courses entertained and refreshed diners' palates. This night's dinner included roast fillet of sea bass, root-vegetable millefeuille and aniseed butter emulsion — all washed down with Cordeillan Bages wine.
WHEN YOU GO
I stayed at the Grand Hotel Bordeaux, www.ghbordeaux.com. Other luxury hotels in the area include Chateau De Mirambeau, Hotel Chateau Grand Barrail, Relais De Margaux.
Baillardran and Le Noailles.
For museums and other activities: www.bordeaux.fr
Le Pressoir d'Argent: www.pressoir-argent.com
Chapon Fin: www.chapon-fin.com
For the Opera program: www.opera-bordeaux.com
In Martillac, Les Sources de Caudalie: www.sourcescaudalie.com
Chateau Lynch-Bages winery: www.lynchbages.com
Chateau Cordeillan-Bages in Pauillac: www.cordeillanbages.com. Here, at l'Ecole du Bordeaux, one- to five-day packages offer an immersion in wine and its culture in the Medoc, Graves and St.-Emilion.
Hotel Relais de Margaux, www.relais-margaux.fr
Patricia Woeber is a freelance writer. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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