September in the Medoc was in-cre-di-ble… And as a bonus Mother Nature seems to be granting locals with quite a 2014 harvest. N2S, don’t change a thing for next year!
Chill in the picturesque village of Bages during the Marathon des Châteaux du Medoc. Only here can one catch the sole two-Michelin starred chef of the Bordeaux region (a.k.a. Jean-Luc Rocha, Meilleur Ouvrier de France) striking up a bbq to the sounds of a brass band as a classified growth is getting poured in cups for the 10 000+ costumed runners from all corners of the globe
Head to the beach town of Soulac (low tide is ideal with munchkins) on the tip of the peninsula as often as feasible. Not only is it alive with outdoor terraces, shops, fresh food markets and a low-key brasserie offering fresh fare and lounge chairs right on the silvery beach, it also boasts over 500 villas from the late 1800s of pink brick draped with pastel arabesques, lambrequins, marquises, and a UNESCO protected roman basilica.
Meander through local markets and “garage / attic sales”, such as Wednesdays in Saint-Vivien de Médoc where a bohemian vibe reigns
Enjoy a sunset dinner in the small harbor of Saint Vivien de Medoc (no lighting at dark so timing is of essence), and choose from two cabins and bars, each offering a style and setting of their own: crêpes in wooden surroundings with bar stools and barrels on gravel, or gambas/scallops/sardines à la plancha sitting on a porch with hamacs overlooking the preserved farms ahead or the fishing boats on the river below
Stop in to the antique shop in Saint Christoly de Medoc regularly to discover the latest buys/finds over three floors of a traditional stone house. At the end of the main street is a beautiful view of the Estuary and local carrelets.
Enjoy a big pot of mussels at Port de la Maréchale, and the tiny white shrimp from the Estuary prepared with aniseed for appetizers
Spend a day, or evening or more, in Bordeaux (during the Agora architecture and design show to discover tomorrow’s talents and urban living), and stroll through the quartier des chartons with its airs of Le Marais in Paris
Enjoy a bike ride through the pine forest circling the protected Hourtin lake (one of the largest in France), or take out a pedalo – windsurf – catamaran for a ride on the water. As a bonus, the merry-go-round in Carcans-Maubuisson is one of the best in the whole region for little ones – great churros nearby. The La Plage Café (below) packed with surfers at Hourtin beach is also a fave for a big burger followed by a siesta at the foot of the dune.
Buy the annual magazine issues “Spécial Foire aux Vins” to prepare your shopping list, catch the good wine deals and to start conversation with locals.
And as you repeatedly close the wood shutters at night overlooking lush vineyards and a pink sky, repeat to oneself: I do not regret Paris ;o)
Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.