After a fabulous weekend in Sarlat, we woke up early to head back to Bordeaux. We drove straight there to make the most of the day before our flight out to London first thing in the morning the next day. Determined to make the most of it, we scheduled a tour of one of Bordeaux’s many vineyards, Chateau d’Agassac, and then headed into the city to take in the sights.
Technically speaking, we sort of visited Chateau d’Agassac by mistake. I had somehow found a vineyard with an incredible castle-looking chateau on the grounds, Chateau Pichon Baron. Enchanted by its beauty, I decided we should make the hour-plus drive and visit it. In trying to find it again to make a booking, I unknowingly found Chateau d’Agassac instead. Figuring I must have misremembered how far away the Chateau was and delighted to find it was so much closer, I booked us a tour on Monday morning.
Upon arriving, I realized my mistake.Chateau d’Agassac is not quite as grand as Chateau Pichon Baron, but we discovered then that it is well worth a visit! Only a half hour drive from Bordeaux, the chateau is fairytale-like with its pointed towers and moat.
We arrived a little early, so we wandered the grounds and admired the Chateau.
We even discovered swimming rodent things! Our tour guide didn’t know the name of these animals in English so if you know what they are please let me know in the comments, haha!
Given that we visited on a Monday morning at 11am, we were the only folks there for a tour and a tasting. This was awesome, since we essentially got a private tour and learned so much about Bordeaux and the chateau!
Our guide taught us more about the history of the chateau, which has been on the property for centuries, as well as the wines produced there. It was fascinating to learn how the winemakers used the different grape varieties and different soil types on the property to create complex and delicious Bordeaux wines.
After the tour and learning about the wines, we got to taste several of the different vintages and blends by Chateau d’Agassac. They were so good we couldn’t help but bring a couple home with us!
Just a short drive from Bordeaux city itself, we had a wonderful visit that felt very personal. I highly recommend making the stop if you’re in the area.
After our vineyard tour, we drove to our hotel for the night to drop off our stuff, the unremarkable Hotel ibis Bordeaux Aeroport. It was nothing special, but super cheap for a night before our early morning flight and did the job just fine. After dropping off our bags, we headed into Bordeaux’s city center to explore!
We traveled by bus, which took about forty-five minutes and was easy to figure out. A cab would cut that journey in half, but for us it was worth the savings. Once in the city, we wandered around its beautiful streets looking for lunch, which we grabbed at a Thai place we passed.
We wandered some more, taking in sights like Place de la Borse, the riverfront and the Monument aux Giordins.
With plenty of time to spare, we decided to take the light rail to the Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s wine museum. We were able to get tickets straight away and headed upstairs to the exhibits.
The museum was more globally focused than I was anticipating. There was a lot of information about wine in general without much on Bordeaux and its unique winemaking traditions. I was hoping for a more local perspective on wine and how the wine industry has shaped the area. The museum is probably the most high-tech museum we’ve visited, so that was neat to explore.
The highlight is the Belvedere, the bar at the top with views over Bordeaux and the river. The format of the museum definitely reminded us of the Guinness Factory in Dublin, complete with a drink ticket for the panaroma bar.
The bar offered wine pours from around the world, featuring a rotating set of wines. I opted for a Bordeaux-made sparkling rosé, curious to try something new from a region known for its delicious reds. To be honest, I didn’t finish it, but it was still pretty early in the day for a drink.
From the Cite du Vin, we headed back to the city center with a list of wine bars and restaurants to check out. Since it was a Monday afternoon, not much was open, so our options were narrowed down quickly.
Luckily for us, the delightful Au Bon Jaja had just opened and, as it turns out, had literally just reopened after the summer holidays.
We enjoyed the setting, a glass of wine and split a delicious starter of roasted eggplant with feta, coriander and rocket (writing down these ingredients so I can remember and recreate it!). It was a fabulous pre-dinner stop.
The beautiful summer day we had was the perfect weather to explore Bordeaux. Everyone was out enjoying the river views, sitting outside cafes with friends and family or walking the charming streets in the slowly fading light. We had passed Grand Bar Castan earlier in the day and returned to enjoy a drink and a snack outside, watching the foot traffic walk by with the river beyond.
In all of our French adventures, I had yet to try a galette, which is a naturally gluten-free French dish similar to a crepe. This was my chance!
I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was worth the wait!
After our snack, we headed back to our hotel for the evening. Though we did little planning outside book Chateau d’Agassac and reading the Swiss Air in-flight magazine feature on Bordeaux, we had a very relaxing Bank Holiday Monday in this beautiful city.