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Amsterdam to Rome Cruise Post #4 – ‘Le Verdon & Bordeaux: The City of Wine and Guillotines’

Plantation-style architecture on winery grounds - Le Verdon, France

Plantation-style home on winery grounds – Le Verdon, France

On a unseasonably sunny October day, we visited the Chateau Marquis de Terme vineyards and their winery, housed in ‘plantation’ architecture. We also toured their cellars and sampled some of their best wines. Following our ‘tasting of the vines,’ we headed from Le Verdon to Bordeaux, which is a UNESCO world heritage city. I soon discovered why…

Karen outside the Chateau Marquis de Terme vineyards

Karen outside the Chateau Marquis de Terme vineyards after a glass (or two) of their best wine

Victor Hugo described Bordeaux as, “Versailles plus Antwerp.” Conservative and refined, Bordeaux is an outstanding example of innovative classical and neoclassical architecture, and a melting pot of culture. The city is the world’s major wine industry capital. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century, with an annual production of approximately 960 million bottles – some of which, are the most expensive in the world… as an example, the Mouton-Rothschild wines.

The seven-metre-high work, entitled "Sanna," (Jaume Plensa, 2013), depicts a woman’s head.

The seven-metre-high work, entitled “Sanna,” (Jaume Plensa, 2013), depicts a woman’s head.

After lunch at a cozy French restaurant called Brasserie L’Orleans, we went on a guided walking tour. One of the magnificent buildings we saw was the Grande Theatre built by Victor Louis in 1773. It’s known as one of the most beautiful 18th Century theatres in Europe and is one of the oldest wooden-framed opera houses in the country. We passed by the infamous Place des Quinconces, where so many French men and women lost their heads to the guillotine during the French Revolution.

Grande Theatre built by Victor Louis in 1773

Grande Theatre built by Victor Louis in 1773

Next, I took a side trip to a block-long bookstore, the Librairie Mollat, packed to the rafters with customers. The French seem to devour their books as well as their wine!

Karen snapping a pic of the Place des Quinconces

Karen snapping a pic of the Square De La Bourse

A side note, regarding the French temperament: I witnessed a young gay man weeping after one of his peers violently tore his shirt and ran away. Immediately, strangers crowded around the boy, offering their help and sympathy. From the crowd, an angry-looking gentleman broke away and pursued the attacker. It was refreshing to see strangers helping one another, when most others would turn away. I also witnessed an altercation between a drunken man and his woman, which was quickly broken up by a chastising stranger, who took it upon himself to protect the woman. Viva la France!

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux, France

Photographs by Ryan Oksenberg

Comments

  1. Alan Mandell says:

    Love your blog. It’s been a few years since I was in Bordeaux. Performed a Reza Adoh piece called “The Hip Hop Waltz of Eurydice” The French loved it. Keep enjoying and sharing.
    Love,
    Alan

    the

  2. Alan, you are truly amazing…”The Hip Hop Waltz of Eurydice,” in Bordeaux–Have you started your Memoir yet?! Probably of anyone that I know personally, yours is the life and heart I would wish to read~

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