The last of our trip in France ::: Days 6, 7, 8

 Wednesday, Day 6 ::: Bordeaux

The problem with staying up until the middle of the night and drinking copious amounts of wine is that you wake up with an aggressive hangover.

We tried to sleep it off, have a pretty bad and greasy lunch, a few cups of coffee and then decided to have a little hair of the dog.

We had booked a half day wine tour through Bordovino (through the tourist office) and it left downtown Bordeaux at 1:30pm.The tour was 3 couples and 1 guide, which we felt was small enough to not feel like we were on a chartered, commercial tour which is what we wanted to avoid.

The first Chateau we went to was Chateau du Sales in St. Emilion, about an hour from Bordeaux.

When we got out of the van at the Chateau , we met the wine maker and were introduced to his family Chateau . His 90-year old Step-mom still lives in the house in the above picture, but all of the kids still work for the vineyard and gather there for holidays.

The Chateau had beautiful grounds, but the rain started to pour down so our outside tour was a little shorter then normal.

After we toured the barrel room we went up to their tasting room to taste two of their first quality wines. We learned a lot about Bordeaux wines, what the colors mean, what good legs should look like, and how to pull aromas out of the wine.

We actually played a little game that the tour guide had brought to help us develop a better nose. She had these little bottles of aromas and we had to guess what kind of smell it was (there are 110 aromas found in wine). I got 1 out 4, Joel with 2 - but it was actually so much fun to see what I thought was vanilla was actually smoke, or so on. Sommeliers at the Bordeaux school need to be able to label every aroma correctly in order to graduate.

After our tasting we went to downtown St. Emilion for a short walking tour. The little town was picturesque and one of the oldest towns I've ever been to.


All of the roads were still cobblestone, and not wide enough to let cars travel on, but it was so cool to visit. If you ever find yourself in Bordeaux, you absolutely must make a trip to St. Emilion.

They are also famous for their macaroons - but different from the Paris macaroons, and actually better. I didn't take a picture but they were seriously one of the best cookies I've ever had in my life.

The second, and last Chateau we went to was Chateau Soutard. Unlike the first Chateau, this was a much more corporately run winery, with a much larger budget for everything; labeling, bottling, marketing, decorating, etc.

The rain had paused for a moment, so we got a chance to check out the vines and grapes which were just starting to bloom. The most popular varietals in Bordeaux are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvigon, and Cabernet Franc.

The estate had built a tasting room about 3 or 4 floors underground in a glass elevator so that you could see the limestone they have in the ground. It didn't photograph well, but it was a very James Bond kind of moment. 

We tasted their wines, had some snacks, and just enjoyed being in the little cave that they had built just a few months ago. It was a really cool wine tasting experience.

We hit traffic on our way back to Bordeaux, so my the time we got back to the hotel, it was almost 9pm. We were both pretty hungry by this point, so we wanted to find a restaurant closer to the hotel.

There was a line out the door at this little Italian cafe, so we decided that must be a good sign. We stood in line for 20 minutes and were taken to our table.

When we got to our table, we were waiting for our wine order to be taken, when finally the waitor stopped to explain that we had to go downstairs into their cave to pick it out ourselves. 

Their cave was basically never ending and had thousands of bottles from Italy - and some drying meats and cheeses. 

It was actually so much fun to go down there, pick out our wine - and just added to the overall experience of dining at Peppone. If I had a restaurant, I would totally add this little feature in. 

We had the waiter order dinner for us with his favorites - and he did not disappoint. We started with their dried meats and shaved cheese, and then split a flatbread pizza and homemade pasta. It was divine. 

Thursday, Day 7 ::: Bordeaux

Our last day in Bordeaux we had this grand plan to pack a picnic and rent bikes throughout the city until we found the perfect spot to relax, have lunch, and just enjoy.

We brought our backpack and decided to go to the best shops all through the city to get the goods for our picnic.

Our first stop: fromagerie

Along our walk, we stopped into a wine store and found a mini-bottle of red wine that would be perfect for our little picnic. The workers at the shop spoke English so we asked them the best place in Bordeaux to get a baguette.

They sent us on a wild goose chase, but by the time we found the little shop, we were so excited - and the baguette was the best one we had our entire time in France. 


Then, our last stop, it was finally time to rent bikes. Joel had gone for a run that morning and said that the rental bike machine was super easy to figure out.

We clicked the buttons to rent the bikes for a few hours, inserted the card, and nothing happened. We had literally walked for two hours collecting our picnic goods and we were going on the damn bike ride. 

We asked like 3 people for help, and they couldn't figure out why the machine wasn't accepting our card. Finally, a student told us to walk to the main transportation office and they would be able to take the card without having to use the machine.

We walked another mile to the main office, determined to not let this wreck our plans, and by the time we got there - the damn office was freaking closed. We later learned that it was a Bank Holiday and for some reason "turned off" the credit card machines.

So - no bike adventure for us, but on Joel's run he had found a gated park and decided it would be the perfect place for us to walk to and picnic. 

The Bordeaux Gardens was similar to the Luxembourg gardens - but more lush - and was the perfect place to settle in and relax for a bit.

We played cards for a while and nibbled on the goodies we had collected earlier in the day.

Oh, and the only cups the wine store had were the size of my thumb.


Which meant I had like 17 glasses of wine before 5pm ;) 

The other class we had signed up for was a 2 hour wine and cheese class that was hosted at a local restaurant in Bordeaux. 

Again, the group met at the tourist office and walked over to the restaurant with the guide.


We went over a lot of the same wine tasting tips that we had the first day, but it was fun to get to practice the skills we had learned from the day before.

For the cheese part of the class, we went down to their cheese room in the basement were there were probably 200 types of cheeses just hanging out.

The room was wet, cold, and drippy - perfect cheese conditions, and one of the wildest things I had ever seen.  We were reallllly in our happy place.

When the class was over we were just about done with wine and cheese - which I know, is a sin to say. We decided to sneak into a bar for a beer and watch a little French Open.

After that, we skipped dinner went straight for the good stuff.

Since it was our last night in Bordeaux, we finished the night off in our hotel's cozy little restaurant with our favorite sommelier Martin. 

Our entire time in Bordeaux was absolutely perfect. We had heard a few mixed opinions about spending our time there during our trip. We found Bordeaux to be amazing. It's a slower pace, so you have to be ready to accept that and find ways to busy your time. Wine tours, bike tours, and classes were really fun - and we didn't do anything like that in Paris - so it was actually kind of nice to be led for a few days. I don't think I would spend more than 3 days there, but it's a beautiful city with great people, food, and amazing wine and if you have the time, I would put it on your list.

Friday, Day 8 ::: Paris

We left Bordeaux early to catch our train back to Paris. The Montparnasse train station in Paris is also connected to the metro, so when the train arrived, we jumped on the metro and headed to our hotel for our last night.

We cashed in points at the Hyatt Regency Madeleine on the right bank, very near the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysee.

When we got to the hotel at 1pm, our room wasn't ready. They said it would be 45 minutes, so we left our luggage and walked across the street to grab a quick lunch. It wasn't ready by the time we got back, and we ended up having to wait another hour in the lobby. Joel and I were not happy campers and we found the staff to be anything but helpful and simply rude. I wouldn't stay there again - the room wasn't all that nice either - and I much preferred St. Germain as well.

Once we freshened up and hit the road, it was closer to 4pm. I had wanted to do a little look-see of the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysee if for nothing else to say that I've been to both.

So, Champs-Elysees is crazy wild. It's basically like Michigan Avenue on steroids and it was overwhelming and packed. Not my favorite.

Thankfully though, once you escape the madness, you are reminded that you are still in this beautiful city.

Since it was our last night in Paris - we wanted to go back to our favorite places, so we walked back to St. Germain and revisited our old friends.

Our first stop was La Cabone for Oysters and champagne to say goodbye to our friend Pascal and cheers to one of the best trips we've ever taken.

We walked around "our" little neighborhood, pretended for one last time that we lived there, and soaked in as much of it as we could. 

We had dinner at Chez Fernand, the same place we had dinner our first night in France. 

We went out with a bang and ordered whatever our little hearts desired; escargot, pasta, wine, and scrumptious beef bourguignon that would've brought tears to your eyes - and I don't even like beef bourguignon!

We took a cab back to our hotel with a bottle of wine that we bought from the restaurant and went back to the room to wash are sorrows away that our trip had some how come to a close.


Our time in Paris was beyond precious. The trip grounded Joel and I - reconnected us to each other, to what we want in life, and reminded us how and who we want to be.  It was really ten of the best days of my entire life.


  1. Such a sweet post and trip! I love and miss Paris so much!!!

  2. I love trips that make you feel even more refreshed than before you left home.

  3. Ooh that last part brought tears to my eyes. Reminded me of our dinner and just talking about the first year of marriage and figuring out what comes next as a team. I am so glad you two had a trip of a lifetime - can't wait to hear about the next one :)

  4. Aw, sounds wonderful!! Trips are such a fun way to re-connect.

  5. Perfect final recap to your trip! It's amazing how well a trip with your partner can seriously remind you how much fun you have together and what is most important in life. We all get so busy at home in our everyday lives and sometimes those things get put aside. The trip looked absolutely perfect and you and Joel are so adorable!!! Thanks for letting us feel like we were a part of it!

  6. I am cracking up at those wine "glasses"! haha!!!

    And definitely remembering all of your European tips and recommendations. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. And now I'm crying. I'm just so happy that you had this experience and everything went just as well as i could have imagined. xoxo

  8. Beautifully said at the end - so sweet Tess!

    I absolutely love that you got to go pick out your wine at the Italian restaurant. So clever!

    If I ever go over there, I'll have to remember all you did. :)

  9. This makes me weep!! What a wonderful trip!! What a dream come true.

  10. I am sad your recaps are over! I felt like I went to France with you. What an amazing time :)

  11. Now I want to go back to Paris!!!!