Braless in Bordeaux
From furry sloth butts to braless escapades, my posts are getting SAUCIER by the minute. Before your mind runs wild with salacious thoughts, let me explain why I chose such a risqué topic to describe my annual birthday getaway.
After trekking through Costa Rican rainforests, I couldn't wait to swap dirt-encrusted clothing with French-inspired dresses and off-the-shoulder tops. As someone who typically dons no-frills clothing, I shook things up a bit by packing flirty ensembles worthy of my inner fashionista.
My Coco Chanel-like alter ego would have scoffed if unsightly bra straps peeked from underneath these très chic looks. So I purchased a strapless, self-adhesive "invisible" bra to avoid this ghastly faux pas.
With my clothing companion securely in place, I confidently channeled Audrey Hepburn's "Sabrina" while totally oblivious to the wardrobe malfunction that was about to go down. Literally.
Picture this. It's 92 degrees. Humid. And I'm sweating profusely at one of Bordeaux's trendy outdoor restaurants. As I savored my chilled wine, one of the silicone cups slowly detaches itself from my glistening skin. The horror! To secure the adhesive and prevent this rogue cup from creeping further down my shirt, I pressed my bust repeatedly against the table. Right on cue, the second one began its gravitational descent as well. Sacre Bleu!
I desperately wanted to bolt towards the restroom before both sweat-infused cups cascaded down my shellacked body. But since I was traveling solo, I didn't want my waiter to think I dined and dashed. So I reached underneath my shirt as a last ditch attempt to adjust them. I stopped midway since inquiring minds from neighboring tables noticed my newly deformed, asymmetrical chest.
Having no other option, I quickly paid my tab and FLED while both cups dangled precariously from my bosom. How the $&*@! did this happen?
Somehow I missed the website caveat that could have prevented accidental exposure:
This strapless bra is not suitable for use in high temperatures.
I'm a glutton for self-punishment and cringe every time I make one of my asinine Myra-isms. These hilarious episodes only add to my vast repetoire of silly travel antics, which I don't personally mind one bit.
Despite this unfortunate fashion snafu, I treasured every second of my 6-night retreat. I initially planned my visit around Bordeaux's primary tourist attraction (wine), but fell in love with the Parisian-inspired city just steps from my hotel.
Did you know that Bordeaux is commonly known as "little Paris" due to their architectural similarities? I had no idea until I oooohd and aaaahd my way through this Parisian-style mecca showcasing 18th-century buildings and plazas. My favorite spot? Port Cailhau, which served as a secondary city entrance during the Middle Ages.
This segment serves as a cursory introduction to many picturesque landmarks including the Napoleon-commissioned Pont De Pierre, Place Pey Berland, Place de la Bourse, Place de la Comedie, Jardin Public, Place Saint Michel, Place de la Victoire, and Place des Quinconces.
St. Emilion - Wine and Dine
As a staunch fan of exquisite vin (wine), I couldn't wait to tantalize my palate with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon blends. The "Best of Bordeaux" tour involved site exploration and tastings at 3 celebrated vineyards: Chateau Siaurac, Chateau la Dominique, and Chateau Reignac (pictured below).
Since we couldn't possibly drink that much wine on an empty stomach, we enjoyed a sumptuous 3-course meal at La Terrasse Rouge, Chateau la Dominique's gift to gourmands like me.
Chateau Corbin Manuel and Saint Emilion's Medieval Village
April 26th marked one of the most devastating events in the history of Bordeaux wine production. Frost destroyed thousands of hectares across the region, decimating roughly half of Bordeaux's 2017 wine vintage. Chateau Corbin Manuel, one of many frost victims, lost their entire 2017 lot. Quite demoralizing for a distinguished Grand Cru Classe chateau.
After our brief tour, we sampled their 2011 and 2013 blends - both worthy of this chateau's premier classification.
Fully satiated, we headed towards Saint Emilion's beguiling medieval village to navigate steep cobblestoned pathways leading down to the Monolithic Church, catacombs, and Romanesque buildings. Unfortunately, I made another fashion gaffe during this unforgettable, rain-soaked excursion. In a nutshell, don't pull a Myra by wearing flip flops and a form-fitting dress that clings mercilessly to your body during unexpected downpours.
I live less than 2 hours away from Napa Valley, so I grew accustomed to bold flavors and countless grape varietals. Medoc wines are not as complex, but I thoroughly enjoyed them nonetheless.
We toured 2 contrasting vineyards: Chateau Desmirail (classic) and Chateau Lamothe Bergeron (modern). The latter featured innovative vignettes projected onto stainless steel vats and clear glass partitions. This was hands down the coolest introduction to wine fermentation and blending EVER.
La Cite du Vin
What makes Cite du Vin unique? For starters, this relatively new museum pays tribute to all things wine with its permanent gallery, interactive installations, holographic images, and engaging kiosks.
I spent several hours touring this high-tech museum with my audio travel companion in tow. Once you're done with your self-guided tour, head up to the Belvedere to enjoy a complimentary glass of vin (included with admission) while admiring the exquisite glass bottle chandelier.
Garonne River Cruise
I capped off my gastronomic trip with a 3-course lunch cruise along Bordeaux's Garonne river. Watermelon amuse bouche, French sturgeon, and chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis? Oui oui, monsieur! Did I mention that French cuisine is my all-time favorite? Now you know.
Overall, I could not have asked for a better birthday getaway despite the initial hurdle. When I first arrived, I instantly connected with this glorious place often thinking the words, "I am home". I felt at ease zig-zagging aimlessly down unfamiliar pathways since there's plenty to discover inside this breathtaking city. Can you imagine sauntering past these post-card perfect buildings every day? I did, and it was tres magnifique.
Cafe Napoleon 3 - Place de la Comedie
Le Rohan - Place Pey Berland
Le Cafe Francais - Place Pey Berland
Le Grand Cafe - Place Gambetta
La Terrasse Rouge - Chateau la Dominique
Dessert and Coffee
Canele Baillardran - Place de la Comedie
1) If you're interested in group excursions, the Tourism Office (near Place de la Comedie) offers several options. I recommend the following wine excursions:
"Best of Bordeaux - Saint Emilion" - Best of Wine Tourism
"Medoc, Tradition & Modernite" - Bordeaux Wine Trails
"Saint Emilion, ds les pas du moine" - Bordeaux Wine Trails
2) Airport transportation options: I spent roughly 50 euros (including tip) from Bordeaux Mérignac Airport to Hotel ibis Bordeaux Centre Meriadeck. On my return, I took bus line 1 for only 1,50 euros. Plan accordingly since there will be numerous stops en route to Merignac.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”