A short visit to view the city of Bordeaux, visit some Chateaux and enjoy great wine and food.
by artslover on October 14, 2010
Restaurant Jean-Marie Amat is located on the other side of the Garonne River across the Pont d’Aquitaine, up a hill in the renovated Chateau de Prince Noir. We tried to get there early to look at the Chateau before it got dark but we got stuck in traffic and arrived late after the sun had set. Oh well, the food more than made up for the effort to get to the restaurant.The interior is contemporary. Huge glass windows overlook an illuminated forest of trees, Richard Avedon photos and colourful contemporary paintings adorn the walls, Phillipe Starck furniture dots the room. Many well dressed people were seated at the widely spaced tables. Service was very professional.The menu was beautifully crafted and very seasonal. The chef has long been a star in Bordeaux. We started with artichokes in vegetables and broth, and a foie gras terrine. Mains were chicken and foie gras (because my dining companion could not get enough foie gras) and beef Bordelaise with marrow. We followed with a cheese course as we finished our wine from the wine list which mainly featured Bordeaux wines including some superstars with equally astronomical prices.While enjoying my beef, I questioned whether I was going to be able to eat it all, but our waiter told me just to go slowly and convinced me that not only could I finish, I was going to enjoy my dessert course as well. We finished with molten chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet and a cherry chocolate with cherry sorbet.We left very sated and happy.
We arranged for a private tour of two Médoc chateaus through Dewey Markham Jr., who runs DMJ Wineworks. We could not have had a better guide.As soon as we emailed Dewey, he asked about us, our preferences, what knowledge we had of wines, and what we wanted out of the trip. He then crafted an itinerary based on our responses plus his knowledge of the areas and the choices available. We went to two chateaux in the Médoc region, Chateau Lynch Bages and Chateau Rauzan Segla, where we saw how the wines were made, but also got an understanding about the different types of processes and the different types of businesses behind the product. Dewey picked us up at our hotel and as we drove, he explained the history the areas, the wineries and the nuances of the terriors. He is a fountain of knowledge about Bordeaux and you can feel his love for the area. During our tours he was able provide supplementary knowledge or explanations in addition to what our Chateau guide explained. He seems to be very well known and well liked by everyone we met including the owner of Chateau Lynch Bages, Jean Michel Cazes, who was introduced to us.Dewey joined us for lunch at a café of his suggestion, Café Lavinal in the village of Bages, just outside Chateau Lynch Bages. Lunch with Dewey was a pleasure. We learned a lot about French life and culture as we enjoyed Dewey’s interesting observations. As well, he gave us some tips about what else we might do for the remainder of our stay in Bordeaux.We would highly recommend a tour with Dewey.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux was officially established under the rule of Napoleon by a Consular Order in 1801 which intended that the works in France’s Museum Central be shared out among fifteen major provincial cities. The Bordeaux collection is one of the biggest outside of Paris.Through its collections of paintings, sculptures and drawings, the Musée offers a broad panorama of European art from the 16th to the 20th century. The collection highlights include artists such as Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyck, Delacroix, Picasso and a highly comprehensive holdings of 18th century Dutch paintings. Other artists such as Redon, Marquet and Lhote, provide a view of the Boreaux region’s artistic works.The museum is not large so whatever is on display is easily viewed during one visit. The location is in the central historic area, easily reached on foot if staying at a central hotel and outside, there are pleasant gardens.The quality of the collection and the pleasant setting makes this a very worthwhile attraction to visit.
This restaurant serves typical Bordelaise cuisine in a beautifully decorated 19th century building which faces the waterfront. We made our reservations through the restaurant website. This was a challenge. Despite having a button with the Union Jack, the website stubbornly remained in the French language so I had to put my rusty French skills to work. In any event, we succeeded in making a reservation. When we first arrived at 7:30 pm, no one else was in the restaurant, but by 8, it was full.Being so close to the Dordogne, my dinner companion had to start with foie gras. I had a raviole starter. Then Chateaubriand and noisette d’agneau (lamb) for mains. The food was very good. The wine list was very reasonably priced, although only Bordeaux wines were offered. The service was very friendly and patient as we stumbled our way along speaking French.The combination of food, wine, ambience and beautiful setting made for a lovely meal.
We spent four nights at the Hotel Majestic located in a beautiful 18th century building that offers modern amenities and comfort. Located in the history city center next to the Grand Theatre, this hotel is in an ideal location near the river front promenade, as well as many shops and restaurants.Every room comes equipped with free wireless internet access. Public areas also have this access. The hotel offers guests a daily buffet breakfast for €12 which we declined.The hotel offers guests a laundry service as well as room service available during certain hours of the day and a safe in the room. There is a bar and restaurant that serves breakfast daily.We had a queen superior room which was reasonably roomy for a continental European hotel. The bathroom was very compact but clean and modern looking. The room had air conditioning, a mini-bar, a television and a telephone. Decor was simple and warm style. The window in our room opened onto a very small interior courtyard. Our nights were very quiet.The staff was very knowledgeable and helpful.The hotel allows smoking in some rooms and we noticed the smell of cigarette smoke in the hallway sometimes but at least, none in our room.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009