Unless you are pretty lucky, It is not really everyday that you wake up in the middle of South of France.
I was lucky enough to spend the end of my holidays traveling through Provence and exploring all those little scenic villages that I used to dream about when watching Le Tour de France on TV.
From Carcassonne we drove to Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge that crosses the Gard River in southern France. This is where we slowed down and started enjoying some priceless time in touch with nature: the smell of fig blossoms everywhere, the most ancient and largest olive trees that I’ve ever seen and a remarkable day swimming in a river with the picturesque aqueduct as the background.
The only thing that made us leave that 30°C day and move to our next destination was basically the fact that we had no food in our pack and we were getting hungry. Yes, I was very hungry but instead of the usual bad mood that I will be on in situations like that, I was feeling extremely energised.
And just when I couldn’t hope for more, we passed by these huge cherry fields that looked like a painting.
I’m sure I could do a bit of foraging here If I wish but this is one of those places that deserves respect. We stopped by a small stand at the end of the field and we found this lovely French lady selling the cherries per 3€ a kilo. Are you serious ?????? Je voudrais un kilo de cerises s’il vous plaît?
This was truly one of those unforgettable days that is worth to write about….and I can’t wait to see what comes next!
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Down to the Bordeaux region, the holidays couldn’t get better: on top of all the (wine driven) planning, we got to Saint Emilion during the “Saint-Emilion Portes ouvertes” event, the only weekend of the year where many chateaux open their doors for wine tasting and to show off their cellars.
This was a really special gift as most of the wine estates are either closed to the public or it can only be visited by appointment.
Saint Emilion itself is quite a special place: this medieval village dated from the 8th century is surrounded by vineyards, it has lots of underground galleries that work as caves for some of the best wines in the world and it is an UNESCO World Heritage site.
Walking through these ancient stone streets, exploring some tiny shops, bakeries or historical sites, the smell from the macaroon factories, the taste of the traditional dishes such as roast rabbit or duck and all the amazing wines that we tried were truly remarkable.
Small village around Bordeaux
At Le Comptoir de Genès wine bar, there is no wine list: the wines are displayed in wooden boxes all over the restaurant and you can pick your own bottle.
It is really exciting going around and reading about the wines, the Chateau and the winemakers but in case you feel lost, the staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and they will proudly assist you on the choice.
It is like going to a candy shop !!!
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From Paris, we headed by train to Loire Valley, region famous for its wines and historical castles.
The two days in this region felt like being in a fairytale!
We started the day with a tour in the Chateau de Chambord, the largest chateau in the Loire Valley.
The castle was built from 1519 to 1547 to serve as a hunting lodge for the king François I.
The afternoon was dedicated to the tiny village of Amboise and the Chateau de Amboise, built between the 15th and 16th century as royal residence during the reigns of Kings Charles VIII and François I.
In it’s chapel is buried Leonardo da Vinci, who lived in Amboise and as many other artists stayed at the Court of Amboise invited by the king.
We finished the day with dinner at Chez Bruno in Amboise. The wine bar is owned by a local wine maker and there was no better way of enjoying local food and wine.
Day 2 started at Chateau de Chenonceau, built in 1513.
Our last tour was to the stunning gardens of the ChÃ¢teau de Villandry.
The vegetable and flower gardens are masterpieces that I will never forget.
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