01 May 2016

Road Trip - Bordeaux to Monaco

On the lame side ... another attempt to recapture fleeting and fleeing memories. One time we were guests at Château Loudenne, owned by a subsidiary of a friendly client (his client, not mine ). The chateau is one of many in the Médoc wine-growing region along the west side of the Gironde Estuary. We had a few days, mostly exploring the countryside Pauillac, Saint-Emilion, Margaux, St-Julien and of course numerous wine-tastings at these famed places we'd only known previously as labels on our red wine bottles. 

The historic pink chateau sits in one of the oldest (seventeenth century) Cru Bourgeois estates in beautiful grounds above the estuary. Loudenne vineyards occupy 154 acres. Besides the serious wine business, Loudenne caters to guests with "upscale quarters and fine dining" and is popular for wedding parties.[1]

Each evening as the only guests we had a semi-formal dinner with the chatelaine of the manor, feeling like aristocrats. The kitchen often offered fresh white asparagus, to be eaten by hand, dipping into a memorable hollandaise. We were loyal to Chateau Loudenne's products for many years while the LCBO carried them. Quite recently the chateau was sold to a Chinese company that continues its traditions but plans to expand guest accommodation and sell half its wine production in China.[2]

I do remember this!

We managed to see a little of the city of Bordeaux. Here's a historical postcard view:

From Bordeaux, we drove across country to the Mediterranean coast, passing Toulouse and the mediaeval fortress of Carcassonne. Having read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, the latter made me think of the Crusades and its mystical associations nearby with guardians of religious treasures ~ perhaps even the Holy Grail itself ~ my imagination working overtime. One photo did survive, regrettably damaged ...

I'm not sure now if it was a one-day drive, but it was late when we reached our next destination: Monte Carlo. We had tickets for the Monaco Grand Prix! Quelle spectacle! In our Formula B racing days we had met some Formula 1 drivers ... Denny Hulme, Jimmy Clark, and the like, but darned if I can remember a thing about the race itself or who won. How exciting is that. You know, something like below - the start of the course - with ear-splitting noise:

It was also a fortuitous opportunity to visit with an ex-pat friend living in nearby Villefranche-sur-Mer. Our old friend was working diligently on acquiring his third wife and consuming vast amounts of local plonk. Maybe that's why I recall so little of the entire trip. Eh?

Villefranche street

[1] www.chateau-loudenne.com.
[2] Jane Anson, 3 July 2013, "Chateau Loudenne's new Chinese owners planning luxury hotel," Decanter (http://www.decanter.com/wine-news/chateau-loudenne-s-new-chinese-owners-planning-luxury-hotel-17756/ : accessed 16 March 2016).

© 2016 Brenda Dougall Merriman

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