Over the years…

we’ve become quite familiar with the périphérique ring roads that encircle the Cities of Paris and Bordeaux – similar to London’s M25.  But this time we travelled just 30 km from Bordeaux before squirting off to the left again and cruising through some of the most famous vineyards in the world. Through the town of Cadillac – where we’re going to spend a couple of nights with friends…

David wanted us to know, “This part of the Aquitaine region once came under English control… with the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II in 1152. The border with France was fortified by Henry II and his successors, leaving ancient castles and fortified medieval towns across the landscape and overlooking the Gironde river. It was returned to France in 1453 after the Hundred Years War”. Obviously, if David had been around in 1453, the hand-back might never have happened – and he (not Richard) would have been hosting our visit!

You may get the impression from the photos that I was quite enchanted by the statue of the Troubadour (I think I recognised him!) in the garden. And delighted to learn that the sculptor was coming to dinner with us that night…

A Day in Saint-Emilion…

Saint Émilion is 35km north east of Bordeaux, in the Gironde department (in the Aquitaine region of south-west France). It is renowned world-wide for the vineyards which surround the town. One of the four Bordeaux red wine regions, and a very attractive town. It’s history dates back about 2000 years when the Romans planted vineyards in the 2nd century AD. The town itself dates from the 8th century when Émilion, a Breton Monk, settled in a hermitage carved into the rock.

Steep narrow streets, beautiful buildings, open squares. Built from, or hacked out of, the local yellow limestone, Saint Émilion is centred around a large square with a church on one side – cut into the the rock face. The steps inside the 13th century bell tower sit on the square above and lead to stunning views across the rooftops and countryside. The town has avoided modern ‘tourism’ development, and now Saint Émilion (and the surrounding region) is a listed UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site’.

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More on The Third Trip – 2012…

1. Brisbane to Bordeaux
2. A Chateau somewhere
3. Together again… Aude, Pays Cathare
4. John & Keith, Unsupervised

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