Bordeaux… Each Trip, Better Than The Last

I detailed my last trip to Bordeaux so I am not going to spend too much time going into a lot of detail here. The trip was really interesting and it was a lot of family time and a lot of time spent learning more details about my grandfather ( and the people who helped him during WWII. This trip was unique, though, in that it was with much of my family. My sister and brother in law, my mother and father, 2 of my cousins and my aunt all joined me on the journey and, seeing as it was there first time meeting all these great french individuals, it was quite special to be able to share that all with them.


A bunch of these photos are from my sister as I just didn’t carry my camera around all the much. So photo cred to Rachel Meyerowitz.


Food in France

The food throughout France was really good. I got spoiled down in Bordeaux and my hosts brought me to a couple really nice places. Le Entree Jardin and Cafe Lavinal (at the Lynch Bages Chateau) were both delicious.

My host (claudine) in bordeaux also cooked at least one meal for me just about everyday. We at everything (and drank a lot too). Between the saussison, and veal dishes, and soups… everything was GREAT!

My hosts in Paris cooked me homemade rabbit as well as sushi (one of my hosts was japanese). I also went to a place by the louvre and get a big hunk of steak tartar which was excellent (even though the waitress asked me three times if I was sure and if I understood that it was raw)

I went to Allen’s Market in Paris for thanksgiving dinner (read more in Paris Part 1)

Lastly, I got to eggs breakfast at the Park Hyatt (both of which ended up getting comped [good thing because the two added up to 75ish euros ($100 for two egg breakfasts lol) and they were OK. Not worth the cost.

Overall, french food (or the foods that I ate) was really good!! See some pictures below (they follow the descriptions above)

france-food-allens-market-scallops (more…)

Paris Part 2

The rest of paris beyond (part 1) was fun and interesting. I hit the Louvre and the Eifel tower (obviously). I also hit Arc de Triumph. All 3 were interesting locations and I think i got some decent photos. It was raining a bit each day which made the photo taking a bit of a chore. Constantly wiping the lens off and making sure the camera isn’t getting too wet is just part of the job.

Beyond the tourist sites, I was able to get together with two friends of friends that took me out for drinks and dinner (separately). I met the first women, Doro (a friend of my brother in law), over by my hotel for a couple drinks at a local bar. I met up with one of Patrick’s nephews, Pierre-Marie, at Inaro (38 Rue René Boulanger) for a drink and some apps and then over to Le Verre Volé (67 Rue de Lancry) for dinner.

The food, drinks and company were excellent all around. It was a real pleasure meeting people who are so friendly and willing to show a visited hospitality and a genuinely good time. Thanks Doro and Pierre!!

Below, I’ve included photos from around the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. I hope you enjoy!

paris-louvre-ferris-wheel-close-at-night (more…)

Paris Part 1

So there I was in Paris. Fresh off my visit with my great friends in Bordeaux, I was looking forward to the city of lights. I’d heard great things and was also getting more excited to wrap up my European part of the trip. I was also extremely excited to get to stay at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. This is a super high class hotel that I was staying at for free (rooms start at around $1,000/night) because of a signup/spending bonus on my Hyatt card from Chase (2 free nights at any hyatt in the world after reaching the required spend)

Anyway, I’ve detailed my stay at the Vendome in THIS POST so I won’t describe the stay in this one.

After landing at ORY airport, south of Paris, I headed to the metro/shuttle that would take me right into the heart of town. I was advise prior to arrival that taxi’s from the airport can run as much as 60-70 euros (almost $100) so I figured I’d find another option. The orlyval (think thats what it’s called) runs a shuttle from the airport to a local metro stop. Then, switch to the metro and get off about a 10 minute walk from my friends place. Easy as pie.

street musicians in paris along the river seine

I met with friends and we toured around town a bit. We picked up some rabbit to cook at home and other then the weather being a bit crappy, it was a nice ‘welcome’ to the city. We got into the subway and on a bus so it helped me get acclimated for the rest of the trip.


Park Hyatt Paris Vendome

Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome rooms are beautiful. I was able to get upgraded because of my hyatt status and have a king bed overlooking the Rue de la Paix.

The customer service here is great. I’ve been emailing with the concierge for about 3 weeks, figuring out rooming options, upgrade availability and even getting a list of places close by that might have some sort of thanksgiving menu for the holiday.

I just received a call from Melanie, one of the concierge women who I’ve been emailing with. She was not here when I checked in, but called me to make sure everything is ok. Thats true service!

The room is gorgeous. They have everything you need. Plenty of outlets, a big TV, really comfy bed, an actual ethernet cable to connect your laptop. They have a jbl iphone speaker with great sound.


Beautiful Bordeaux, Part 2

Monday was a big day for us. We got up bright and early and got ready to head out for our Chateau Tour of the Pauillac and Margaux wine regions of southwest France. Remember Patrick’s sister, Kiki, from my previous Bordeaux post? Well she was a wine exporter for 25+ years and got us hooked up with a few really top classification chateaus for the day. [note: there was a classification [wiki] of the wineries in France in 1855 or something]. We visited a few of the top classes and had a tasting at a number 2 and number 5 class.] This was a very special treat and we had a kind of ‘all-access’ pass to some of these places. It was great!

One of the really interesting things about the chateaus in Bordeaux and the classification into the different tiers is that on one side of the road you can have a First Classification wine and right on the other side (like a car lengths apart) you can have a chateau that isn’t ranked at all. I won’t get too technical about it, but apparently its all about the “terrior” or ground that the vines grow in. The ideal is clay and rock and sometimes, just on the other side of the street the ground can be more grass. It’s fascinating (at least to me)… that’s all for the wine mumbo jumbo… hopefully you’re not bored yet. I’ve included some photos of the interiors/exteriors of the different chateaus with my best attempt at remembering which is which.

Wine glasses at Lynch-Bages Chateau in Francewine tasting at lynch-bages chateau in pauillac france

Note about wine tasting: Technically you’re supposed to take a sip and spit after you’ve taken in the flavor and what not…. I did NOT spit. This was some of the best wine I will probably ever drink. Spit! no way… in fact, I’ll take seconds!

After we were done wine tasting for the day (which was some of the best wine ever) we went to visit a really special place that Patrick thought I would appreciate… he was right. (more…)

Beautiful Bordeaux

This was my second trip to Bordeaux and it did NOT disappoint. I will preface this post by saying I had some really really awesome hosts that showed me around and treated me completely like family. Your experience may be different because of this but I think you would still enjoy a trip here.  The last time I was in Bordeaux I was just discovering this story about my grandfather and the french resistance people who saved his life. It was a very emotional, but short, trip. I was so engulfed in the discovery process that I felt I needed to come back to really enjoy my visit in a more relaxed fashion. So that’s what I did. My hosts, Patrick and Claudine (and Patrick’s sister Kiki) rolled out the red carpet for sure.

[Photo Preview] The exterior of the Chateau in Cadillac, France

The Exterior of the cadillac chateau

I picked up my Enterprise rental car after arriving from Barcelona via Vueling airlines and headed over to Patrick and Clo’s place in Floirac about 25 minutes from the airport and just east of the river that runs through Bordeaux. They have a beautiful home with a large yard and garden, big trees and a nice little guest house (for me :) ). Claudine had lunched prepared (she is a great chef) and after we went to pick up a sim card for my phone and mifi (an adventure all its own). The rest of the day was fairly uneventful.