A Renaissance in Bordeaux, France

by Richard Nahem
Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux is a breathtaking city where you can enjoy the French art de vivre and the simple pleasures of life. Great food, the best wines, peaceful nature, and a vibrant art scene.

Richard Nahem

Cruising on the Gironde River

A great way to extend your time in Bordeaux, and explore the region, is by booking a cruise on the Garonne River. The Tango (www.canalsoffrance.com) is a private, luxury barge with four bedrooms (all with en-suite bathrooms), a spacious kitchen, dining and entertainment room, a canopied dining terrace, and an outdoor jacuzzi, where you can sip a glass of wine, while viewing the majestic skyline of Bordeaux.

Gironde River in Bordeaux, France

Photo: S. Pech

The Franco-American owner Daniel Sak and his staff go beyond great service to provide guests with a truly memorable experience in an easygoing and friendly atmosphere.

All meals are included on your voyage and the chef prepares Provencal and Mediterranean specialties. A typical lunch or dinner menu includes yellow and red tomatoes with Burrata cheese and fresh herbs, tabbouleh salad, followed by an herb-scented roasted chicken with carrots, mushrooms, baby potatoes, roasted garlic, and red peppers, complemented with great regional wines.

Excursions off the boat can be customized and a typical cruise will include visits to the museum and factory of the famed aperitif, Lillet, a stroll through the charming village of Saint-Emilion, and tour and a wine tasting at a fifth-generation, privately owned vineyard that dates from 1855 and specializes in organic wine.

The Tango is available for private charter 6-night cruises, from Sunday to Saturday, for 4-8 people, from May 1 to the end of October. Three meals a day are included except for one lunch in a restaurant overlooking the river, which is included in the price.

An outpost of the hip and happening Mama Shelter brand (19 Rue Poquelin Molière, 33000 Tel. +33-(0)5-57-30-4545. www.mamashelter. com/fr/bordeaux), designed by Phillipe Starck, supplies Bordeaux a cool factor hotel. The spare but luxuriously appointed rooms are decorated in soothing, neutral colors, and have all white bed linens. A much-appreciated amenity is a little, cotton tote filled with the hotel’s own line of organic skin and bath products. The lively Mama Bar gives the city a much-needed shot in the arm of nighttime excitement with custom cocktails, and Michelin star chef Guy Savoy has executed a casual menu with sharing plates and familiar Mediterranean and French dishes.

Vineyards of Saint Emilion in Bordeaux, France

Vineyards of Saint Emilion
Photo: FreeProd33

If you are seeking understated luxury, Le Palais Gallien (144 Rue Abbé de l’Épée, 33000 Tel: +33(0)5-57-08-0127, www.hotel-palais-gallien-bordeaux.com) is where you want to stay. Once a private mansion, the building was constructed in 1895 for a well-to-do family. Rooms are designed in a clean, contemporary style and certain rooms have an outdoor heated terrace, free-standing bathtub, and walk-in shower with an aromatherapy setting. There’s also an outdoor swimming pool, a rarity in Bordeaux, along with a deck with padded, chaise lounges. Chef Younesse Bouakkaoui and Head Sommelier Mike Germon work in tandem at Le Table de Montaigne, bringing the best Bordeaux cuisine and wine together in a chic dining room and bar.

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