Sunday, December 6, 2009

SOUTHWEST FRANCE... MY PLACE IN THE SUN

During my October trip home to visit my mother during her surgery, I took a few hours break every few days from my hospital vigil. Camera in hand I wandered through my native village of Clermont-Dessous and later, Bordeaux to show you this beautiful region that I call home.


Clermont-Dessous, my village in Lot et Garonne, where my family has lived for generations:

The view from my bedroom window


The 12th Century church where all my family going back many
generations were baptized, married and ultimately laid to rest.



Surrounding landscape of the rolling hills of Lot et Garonne


Welcome to Bordeaux



Bordeaux, one of the largest cities in France, is ideally located on the Garonne River Delta and the home of the most beautiful and famous vineyards in the world. Bordeaux is also very close to some of the most stunning beaches in Europe.


Bordeaux Riverfront

Miles of magnificent walkways along the banks of the Garonne


My father and my dear cousin Anne-Marie on the permanent artistic
and architectural installation Le Miroir D'Eau.



The Bordeaux "Water Mirror" is the largest water sculpture in the world.


A man needs a dog to be whole.


Medieval times meet contemporary architecture.


The "Palais de Justice" (Bordeaux Courthouse)





Le Grand Theatre


What would France be without its outdoor Cafes?








One of many Plazas spread around the city




Could the brilliant Catalan Architect Antonio Gaudi have
found some of his inspiration in Bordeaux?





Another Bordeaux Plaza Square


Bordeaux, A City for Children


A visit to "ENTREPOTS LAINE" is an absolute must


Bordeaux by night is a very romantic city

And, at last, that for which Bordeaux is best known throughout the world, its sacred Vineyards:

Chateau Haut-Brion
(Photo: Haut-Brion Catalog)


The Vat Room at Chateau Haut-Brion where the vineyard's
2009 Vintage now ferments.



Your Bordeaux Guide (Me, of course) sampling Chateau Haut-Brion's 2005 vintage


Chateau Petrus. Vintage 2004 now available at $1800/bottle. Ouch!!!


My Favorite Store in Bordeaux, L'Intendants...
The Ultimate Hotel for Wines





My favorite Spa, Les Sources de Caudalie, was just rated by Conde Nast as the best spa in the world. I stayed at the spa with my parents a few years ago on a short trip home.

Les Sources de Caudalie
Chateau Smith haut Lafite
Maisons
Cote Ouest/No. 84 Oct-Nov 2009
Story: Caroline Mesnil/Photos: Francois Goudier



All photos by Francine Gardner unless otherwise credited

18 comments:

  1. Wow, gorgeous! I must make a trip there, first off, Bordeaux is my favorite wine and the city is beautiful with great architecture. I never realized that Bordeaux was close to the beach? The "wine hotel", the water sculpture, I love the contrast between the architecture styles of the city. Hmmm, perhaps for your readers there will be a Francine Gardner hosted Bordeaux tour in the future;)

    Thanks for sharing,
    Jaime

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  2. I always thought of Bordeaux as a grey city compared to Toulouse.... But these pictures are beautiful! I love all your travel pictures. Can I be your "Dame de compagnie" in your travels?

    Fatou

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  3. Francince - I ask you, how could a person ever leave Bordeaux? In the eyes of a girl from a small country town in Washington State, Bordeaux seems like a place only dreams are made of. The architecture, the vineyards, the squares, all so spectacular. Were you and your husband married at the church as well? It looks magical. How is your mother since her surgery? I hope she is well and your father is doing fine? Your father resembles my father very much. Such a great photo of him & your cousin. Francine visiting your blog is such as education. You live the life that I so admire. Thank you for letting us take a peak into your world. I hope the holiday sales are robust at the show and your family is enjoying Dec. thus far? All the best to you x deb
    p.s.-thanks for reading Sunday's post. Jenny is an incredibly hilarious blogger. She says it like it is & with very colorful language. I could never write in that style but I admire that she can & not worry about what others think. Likely the reason why she's successful & I'm still struggling for my place!!

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  4. Share more of Clermont-Dessous, very interesting! Love the images.

    So glad you are looking forward to "nesting" at home this year, we are sure that slllooww quiet time will be very meaningful.

    Paul & Anita

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  5. Francine,

    Thanks for stopping by, great to read your comments! When you have the chance, you should definitely make a visit to Art Basel, truly amazing. In regards to Bordeaux...wouldn't that be fab, count me in!

    I hope all is well with your mother and you are enjoying the holiday season.

    All the best,
    Jaime

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  6. Just beautiful! Bordeaux is certainly my next stop in France. Last time, we covered Avignon and much of Provence. (though starting in Paris) I know who to ask for advice and suggestions when the time comes to return.

    That rooster is awesome! My Mother loves them, also. I'm looking for one like that but smaller for her home. Also, that store with the wine looks unbelievable.

    Thank you for sharing such great images...what memories! My heart longs to return to this place...I fit in so well and felt so at home...

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  7. Francine - your comment on Renee Finberg's blog today was such a tender memory of your dear mother. It brought tears to my eyes. She is in my prayers xx

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  8. Wow - what beautiful images. Thank you so much for taking us on this trip with you -such special, personal places (not to mention stunning!)
    xo

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  9. Francine - your posts about your travels are always a treat. Gorgeous gorgeous photos and views as always. What must that spa look like on the inside if it's ranked the best in the world? That VAT room at the winery is the cleanest and most pristine one I've ever seen - just gorgeous. I have a friend who is nuts about wine and so I must recommend that hotel with the spiraling wine racks to him.

    Gorgeous post! Thank you for sharing.

    Cheers,
    Karen Olivia

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  10. I'm with Deb- thanks ever so much for allowing us to see bits of your world. Bordeaux looks fantastic. I can't believe I have never been. Need to start planning!

    You've been in my thoughts and hope all is going OK.

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  11. Is this where you are right now? so beautiful!! Thanks for your comment and your support :)

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  12. How ideal...nice meating you Francine; your store is a feast for the eyes :)

    Best,
    Michelle

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  13. Was waiting for another post to reply, but I'll just post twice on this one! For bigger dog coats, they had quite a good selection online at the store I mentioned handsnpaws.com and Orvis has several as well!

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  14. Just beautiful. So happy I found you snice I'm planning a trip to Europe for my honeymoon!

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  15. Wow amazing photos, I just love the 12th century church. Your place is lovely, and you are a very lucky person, if you wake up in the morning and see that beautiful view, that was cool. Thanks

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  16. Vive la France ! Amazing and beautiful photos !
    XX

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