Bordeaux is less than an hour-and-a-half from London by air. Take your tipple by the glass in a chic bar or by the bottle with local gastronomy in a side-street bistro. Whatever your pleasure, Bordeaux has something to whet every appetite and the region itself produces more than food and drink – there is so much to see and do in this tourist destination.
Here are a few happenings taking place in Bordeaux between April and June 2009:
Photography Festival (1st-30th April 2009)
Travel photographers exhibit at various venues open to the public around Bordeaux city, from galleries to bars. Ten photographers have travelled across the world to create these ‘works of art’. The festival exhibitions are free.
(t) 00 33 5 56 92 65 30 (w) www.itiphoto.com
La Nuit des Musées (16th May 2009)
All Bordeaux’s museums will be open until 1am for one night only and entrance is free. La Nuit des Musées offers a chance to whizz round the city’s finest temporary and permanent collections, as part of a European-wide cultural initiative. Many museums also mark the night with concerts.
(a) Tourist Office, 12 cours XXX Juillet (t) 00 33 5 56 00 66 00 (w) www.nuitdesmusees.culture.fr/
Union des Grands Crus Wine Weekend (16th-17th May 2009)
This is the fourth annual ‘Weekend des Grands Amateurs’ with over 100 Grand Cru châteaux owners getting together to offer wine lovers from all over the world the opportunity to sample an outstanding range of Grands Crus wines. It is a great way of unlocking the secrets of the great wines of Bordeaux, meeting the people who make them, and spending a weekend tasting Grands Crus wines like a professional, in the world capital of wine.
(t) 00 33 5 56 51 91 91 (e) firstname.lastname@example.org (w) www.ugcb.net (h) 9.00-12.30, 14.00-18.00
VTV (Velo Tout Vigne) Le Médocain (30th May 2009)
This bicycle race is held around Margaux and competitors cycle through châteaux properties that lay on tastings and festivities. This event is the southern Médoc’s version of Pauillac’s Marathon, which is run through the vines. The race has three circuits between 25km and 75km, all departing from the town of Arsac.
Bordeaux Danse Musique (20th-21st June 2009)
A new event for 2009 baptised ‘Bordeaux Danse Musique’ – will take place just before the world’s largest wine fair Vinexpo at the Salon International. On the first day there will be dancing on the quays of Bordeaux and on the second day music will be celebrated with the ‘Fête de la Musique’.
Les Epicuriales (late June – July 2009)
This annual food fair provides something for the ears and the eyes as well as the palate. Approximately 30 restaurants offer dishes from around the world from stalls along the Allées de Tourny to the sounds of free concerts and street entertainment.
(t) 05 56 00 66 00
Guided Day Vineyard Excursions with the Bordeaux Office de Tourisme
These are just two tours (there are many more). They leave at 9.30am from the Office de Tourisme and returning at 6.30pm. Prices include guide, transport, visits, lunch and wine tastings.
Bordeaux, revealing the secrets of its great wines (Every Wednesday and Saturday 1st April to 15th November)
A day discovering Bordeaux’s vineyards starting with a visit to the historic ‘Les Chartrons’ area from where wines were originally sold and then on to see two châteaux in the prestigious wine growing areas of Saint-Emilion (Wednesdays) or the Médoc (Saturdays). 55 Euros.
Art & wine for enthusiasts in Médoc (Every Friday 15th May to 30th October)
A visit of three châteaux in the Médoc (Arsac, Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande and Lynch-Bages), with lunch at Café Lavinal in Pauillac and a tour around an art gallery. 75 Euros.
Portes Ouvertes (Open Door Weekends)
On these weekends the châteaux of different Bordeaux appellations literally open their doors and welcome visitors wishing to tour their properties and taste their wines.
• (4th-5th April) Printemps des Vins de Blaye: Each year, more than 10,000 visitors discover the Citadelle of Blaye and taste the wines of some 80 winemakers.
• (4th-5th April) Portes Ouvertes en Médoc: Along the road from Bordeaux to the Pointe de Grave, the traditional Médoc area opens to visitors and presents its wines and cuisine.
• (19th April) Portes Ouvertes à Pomerol: Pomerol produces plummy, generous, long lived red wines considered the equal of the classified first growths of the Médoc and Saint-Emilion.
• (25th-26th April) Portes Ouvertes à Lalande-de-Pomerol: Over 20 participating châteaux organise entertainment to encourage visitors.
• (1st-3rd May) Saint-Emilion – Les Châteaux ouvrent leurs portes: Over 50 properties open and offer winery tours, free tastings, amusements and exhibitions.
• (9th May) Marathon des 1ères Côtes de Blaye: This will be the sixth annual marathon where participants run through the châteaux grounds and taste wines with traditional macaroons.
• (9th-10th May) Portes Ouvertes en Côtes de Bourg: There is a programme of vineyard visits (on foot, on horseback, by car.) and wine tastings with exhibitions and picnics.
• (16th-17th May) Vayres la Vie! Vayres le Vin!: This region is situated on the left bank of the Dordogne, between Bordeaux and Libourne.
• (16th-17th May) Portes Ouvertes en Côtes de St Macaire: St-Macaire is a town across the River Garonne from Langon (in Graves). The appellation is known for sweet white wines.
• (13th-14th June) Sainte-Croix-du-Mont en 4 saisons: A fun tasting of food and wine matching at which the winemakers are divided into four groups, each representing a season.
• (19th-21st June) Fêtons Saint-Emilion!: Saint-Emilion is a World Heritage site, with fascinating Romanesque churches and ruins stretching all along steep and narrow streets.