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Archive for May, 2011

I love traveling by train in France, and, in my opinion, if you are traveling to the city centre rather than the airport the TGV is the best way to travel between Bordeaux and Paris. Libourne is even easier if you are visiting the right bank. A warning though keep the luggage light as the time allowed for alighting and unloading can be tight.

The only problem with using the train in Bordeaux has, up until now, been the station. Bad enough that it is situated in the crummiest part of town, the station itself also left a lot to be desired.

After having spent a fortune on the very efficient tramway the town is turning it’s attention to the mainline station.

The work should be completed by later this year and the new counters are temptingly under wraps to welcome almost 12 million passengers that pass through each year. There will be new waiting rooms and new services all in preparation when Bordeaux will soon be only a 2 hour trip from Paris. To learn more and organise your way through the station check out the web site Gares en movement which also gives you live train times and platform numbers.

The bakery chain Paul have already installed an eat in (as well as take out) in the front of the station and have managed to keep the elegant original decor that dates back to 1898. Not quite worth missing your train for but it certainly makes the wait easier

Elegant snacking at Paul in Bordeaux St Jean Station.

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Jean-Paul Gautier is no stranger to designing bottles; his perfume bottles are collectors items. But it’s not just about perfume or his signature striped T- shirts that were last summer’s fashion statement. He knows sex sells and not just perfume either. He has just put his talents to work for the Champagne house Piper Heidsieck to create a very sexy limited edition bottle draped in a alluring fishnet stocking.

The launch was celebrated in Hollywood style as befits an event in the midst of the Cannes film festival. Anne-Charlotte Amory, CEO of Piper Heidsieck and Jean-Paul Gautier received 150 guests in the Forville market in Cannes transformed for the evening.
Sadly only available in the exclusive Nikki Beach in Cannes and La Maison Blanche in Paris, you’ll just have to fly over here to share the glamour

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The Saint Julien is a favorite restaurant in the Medoc, see my previous post even more so with this fabulous weather when the chef, Claude Broussard’s talents are at play on the enormous barbecue. The new layout means you can sit up the bar and watch your langoustines or steak being grilled to perfection right in front of you. New also is Madame Broussard’s Julius flower shop. In face more than just a beautiful flower shop it is full of fun gifts and tablewares in including the famous house soap!

Mme Broussard in her new store Julius

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Bordeaux is the first town in France to have franchise of the famous Fauchon fine food emporium opened at the end of last year in partnership with Bordeaux caterers Elodie and Olivier Boyer. On the glamorous site opposite the Grand Theatre and in the same building as the Grand Hotel Regent 160 m2 of cakes and breads, ‘snacking chic’ and gifts including fine foods and teas will are on offer to the Bordelais.
The elegant wine cellar communicates directly with The Grand Hotel and every Thursday evening they hold tapas and wine tastings on different themes but be sure to book ahead.
Next door is their Comptoir Cuisine restaurant, a fun and dynamic place to enjoy the spring sunshine on the terrace or the ‘buzz’ inside. It is now THE place for a light lunch or informal dinner, with an all in lunch starting at 17 euros .

It is the first of an expansion plan through provincial France – once again you saw it first in Bordeaux

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You will know by now that ‘Women in Wine’ is one of my favourite themes – and there are more and more women making wine that really appeals to a wider audience. One of the dynamic groups of women wine makers in Bordeaux, and one of the first to launch joint wine tourism products, is ‘Les Medocaines’, a group of 4 wine makers and owners from the Medoc : Armelle Falcy-Cruze from Château Le Taillan, Martine Caseneuve from Château Paloumey, Marie-Laure Lurton from La Tour Besson and Florence Lafragette from Château Loudenne.

They organise regular joint events including days participating in the harvest, food and wine tastings, blending workshops, etc. As they work closely with the Bordeaux tourist office you can just hop on a bus and go explore their Medoc properties without giving a thought to driving home afterwards.
Two of them, Martine and Armelle, have now taken the feminine theme a step further with Palmoumey and Le Taillan organising wine and beauty workshops with local makeup artist Annie Lay. While sipping a glass of rosé guests will enjoy a make up class and then off to the cellars to discover the beauty of wine making with tasting from different terroirs of the properties and finally the beauty of serving wine with a special tasting about decanting and presenting wines.

Men are allowed but will be ushered off to the cellars for a blending workshop whilst the ladies sip their rosé.

Let’s hope Annie shares the secrets for disguising the damage the morning after !

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