Fall Greetings from My Bordeaux Tours. As we live this pandemic together - I thought I would share a little about my immediate surroundings.
As most of you are aware, France began it's second lockdown of 2020 at the end of October. All restaurants were closed, all shops except for those that sold essential goods and all adults were to be working from home where possible. Similar to last Spring, we could only go out with an acceptable reason and with an official statement in hand (or generated on our phones) in case we were stopped. The main difference this time is that Preschool through middle school are still in school full-time and high school students are following a hybrid model of one week in school and on week on line.
The government still prioritized exercise and we were allowed 1 hour and a 1 Km radius around our house to walk, run or exercise each day. It's been a gift to explore and get to know my neighborhood a little more. I live in Pessac, an immediate suburb of the city of Bordeaux. We are in a residential area but also surrounded by a river, parks & vineyards. My Kilometer radius includes a small river - called Le Peugue with a walking trail, Chateau Pape Clement & it's vineyard along with an expansive residential area of homes and apartments. This Fall has provided some beautiful photos. (After a month of lockdown- France has begun to slowly lift some of the restrictions but we are still very much under caution to minimize our movements and interactions)
The small river or stream - Le Peugue actually runs both above and underground. Its is sourced on the other side of my town and flows East - even under the city of Bordeaux and eventually flows into the Garonne River.
Certain cold mornings & the frosty air provided some stunning Fall photos.
This panel indicates where a portion of the walking trail begins and the saying on the sigen - "Le Peugue a cache-cache" means Le Peugue plays hide and seek - referring to it's unique flow both above ground in some parts and below ground in other sections.
There is even an old water Mill located on a portion of the stream - "Le Moulin de Noes" . This beautifully designed limestone mill dates back to 1769 and represents the bourgeoise or wealthy architectural style of the period including 2 richly styled facades in the Orientale design. It is the last building from a property called La Ferme Experimentale - a working -teaching farm that harvested grains that existed in the late 1700's until the early 1800s when it was eventually closed down.
In the 1970's the old farm was divided and sold off for urbanization & building of residential homes. The mill was saved from destruction by a group of citizens due to it's historical and architectural significance. The building was declared an historic landmark in 1984 and is currently owned by the town. It now part of a small park where locals or anyone can come to picnic or sit and enjoy the surroundings along Le Peugue.
Walking along Le Peugue is the favorite part of my walk - feeling like nature is just a few steps away from my house. It's one of the things I love about my town and Bordeaux in general - lots of Parks and green spaces scattered throughout. One doesn't have to go too far to feel in touch with nature.
The other part of my walk that I love, being a passionate wine connoisseur is going by Chateau Pape Clement - fabulous producer of reds & whites in the Pessac-Leognan wine appellation.
Chateau Pape Clement is a beautiful vineyard with a vast wealth of history and is worthy of a visit to see the property, the chateau itself and their vines. I have been lucky enough to visit this property in the past and I'm thrilled to share it here.
Grapes have been grown on this property since 1252! In 1299 the property was bought by the Gaillard de Goth. The brother of Bertrand de Goth who was the Archbishop of Bordeaux and in 1305 became the first French Pope of the Catholic church and went by Pope Clement V. Upon the death of his brother in 1306, the estate was bequeathed to Pope Clement V who loved the cultivation of the vines and even as Pope took great interest in the property and the vineyard. Pope Clement V is also recognized to help the cultivation of vines in the Rhone Valley, especially around Avignon (The site of the Papacy) . It is in part thanks to him that the wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas & Beaumes de Venise compete widely with the best wines of Bordeaux. Wine continued to be produced by this property into the 20th century. The chateau on the property was built in 1864.
The vineyard suffered following a severe hail storm in 1937 but in 1939 - under new ownership - new vines were planted and the cellars were renovated - reinstalling Chateau Pape Clement reputation as excellent Bordeaux wine. The hard work paid off as in 1959, the property was classified a Grand Cru under the Graves Classification - validating the hard work of it's previous owners.
In the early 1980's the estate was bought by Bernard Magrez who in 1985 began selling this wine internationally further enhancing its already excellent reputation. Renovations in Vat processing and the barrel room were introduced in 2003. The estate practices plot separation, meaning grapes are harvested plot by plot and kept separate in Vats and barrels during the vinification process to allow for each plot & variety to individually develop before the final blending. This wine making style has ensured that the property continues to produce high quality red and white wines. 2009 marked a year that Chateau Pape Clement received a 100 out 100 by the wine critic Robert Parker for their White Chateau Pape Clement wine and also for their Chateau Pape Clement red wine.
From all this history, it's hard not to be awestruck as I walk around the edges of the property. This final photo was from my walk this early morning, the view never gets old.
I hope this little taste of my neighborhood gives you more insight to another aspect of Bordeaux. I'm anxious to return to guiding guests around, but in the mean time - I hope to share some unique perspectives via this blog. Until next time...
All my best,