I’m in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. I think this is the most famous wine sector of Bordeaux, which means it’s the most famous and best wine region in all of France … and possibly the world. And galaxy.
That’s kind of cool … and I’m determined to see as much of it as I can. All 16,500 hectares.
That’s 63.7 square miles.
So, here’s today in five photos …
Began the day in Blaye, home of the citadel, this amazing and immense 17th Century walled fortress on the edge of the water. It’s so large that inside the walls there’s an entire city.
Hey wait, is that what citadel means?
It’s so immense and imposing, that it’s hard to get a photo that sums it up. This was my best one. The citadel was mobbed with tourists yesterday during the day, but by 9PM I had the place to myself. It was quiet and dark, a little spooky and totally cool. This is one of the highlights of the trip so far. Right up there with St-Emilion.
There’s a hotel inside the citadel, but it’s a little too pricey for me. Plus, it’s kind of hard to get your fully packed bike up the ramparts. Hey, the place was designed to keep invaders out.
Took the ferry from Blaye across the wide and muddy confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers … and chatted with several cyclists. The woman on the right, and her husband (he was in the loo when I took this) are Brits cycling from St Malo, all the way up north, all the way south to the Mediterranean. They said they weren’t really cyclists, but wanted a little adventure. Think they’re getting it.
The two guys in the middle are British university students and were heading back to Bordeaux (the city) and then home, as school is starting soon. The guy in the left only spoke French, so I don’t know his story.
Lots and lots of cyclists here … including several in tour groups. Working on a post about the pros and cons of cycling in a tour group vs. on your own. The answer/decision is complicated … stay tuned.
The ferry landed and I started riding north to Pauillac, where I have a hotel room for two nights. This was one of the first chateau I came upon: the Chateau Pichon Baron. It was one of the nicer ones.
Uh-oh … just noticed from this photo that the bar end on the right side of my bike has somehow fallen out and is lost forever. Oh well.
Rode past Chateau Lafite Rothschild. That’s really famous, right? Like one of the most famous names in all of wine, right? So, had to go in. It’s why I’m here. Rode around the vineyard and toward the buildings, but there didn’t seem to be a tasting room. Or a parking lot. Sat down to have a snack, shot this photo … and a security guard walked over and politely, yet firmly, told me this was private and to leave. I did.
Saw this scene as I rode from village to village, through endless square miles of vineyards. There are 9 Medoc classifications: Medoc, Haut-Medoc, Margaux, Moulis en Medoc, Listrac-Medoc, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estephe.
Since I’m staying in Pauillac, I’ll look for a bottle from here when I head out to the supermarche in a few minutes. You need to support the local farmers. But maybe not the ones at Lafite Rothschild.