The Chinon Adventure

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Up early on a rainy Sunday, Tram C to Gare Saint-Jean, Chinon was waiting. Mark remained home working on a paper and oodles of statistical analysis. Wow, did I just call Bordeaux home?!? It takes 4 to 5 train-bus hours to get to Chinon from Bordeaux. (TGV or regular train to Tours  Centre or Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, then bus to Chinon). As… Read more »

Our New Neighbor

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Jeanne d’Arc, declared a national symbol of France in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte, and one of the nine patron saints of France, greets us daily as we come an go from our new apartment. We recently moved to this location: it’s cuts down Mark’s school commute by 10 minutes, and puts us closer to the main down town area of… Read more »

Carcassone Vins et Vinos Afternoon

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Vins et Vinos in Carcassonne

This is a continuation of our holiday Carcassonne adventure focusing on wine. After hiking and exploring, we were off to learn more about the wines of the Languedoc-Roussillion. Since we didn’t have a car, and we were smack in the middle of the holidays, visiting wineries was a bit harder. Research uncovered Vins et Vinos, a small wine shop in… Read more »

Day Trip to Arcachon

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My classmate Edward was born and raised in Bordeaux and offered to take us for a day-trip over to Arcachon, a small town about 1 hour west of here on the shores of Bassin d’Arcachon (actually a large sheltered bay connected to the Atlantic Ocean).  Our primary objective was oysters (‘huîtres’ in French), but we also wanted to check out… Read more »

Having Folks Over

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Once classes let out for the holidays, most of my classmates left town to go home.  But a few of us stayed around, and we had Gonzague (French) and Tasos (Greek) over for lunch one day.  Gonzague brought the baguettes and cheese (how French is that) and Tasos brought the fixings for (you guessed it) …a Greek salad! For Christmas… Read more »

Off to Carcassonne

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Carcassonne was a planned stop on our way home from Ille sur Tête. How could one not stop in such a town, so much history and wine?!? To set the stage, Carcassonne draws about 3 million visitors annually. People primarily come to see the Cité de Carcassonne, a  medieval fortress that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s basically a… Read more »

Visiting Ille-Sur-Têt

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Our friends Rick and Larry from Sacramento were visiting friends in a small town in southeast France called Ille-sur-Têt.    After Lynn finished her wine exam on Friday, we hopped on the train to pay them a visit!  They were staying with their friends Ann and Richard (also from Sacramento), who moved to Ille-sur-Têt about three years ago and are in… Read more »

Cooperage Visits

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So far, I’ve had opportunity to visit two barrel making operations (cooperages) in the Bordeaux area, of which there are dozens.  Depending on the style of red wine, after fermentation is complete, wines are often aged in oak barrels.  In some cases, such as in Bordeaux and Bourgogne (Burgundy), white wines are both fermented and aged in oak barrels.  Barrels… Read more »

Bordeaux Holiday Market

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Lights and tinsel, spirited gatherings and regional specialties– the Bordeaux holiday market comes alive in December and lasts up to the new year. Strolling through the isles marked with brilliant decorations whose intentions are to lure you in, it’s tempting to stop and mingle with every vendor, to learn the history and story behind his or her door.    … Read more »