One of the highlights of the year was my visit to France to attend the Bordeaux Fete du Vin.
Bordeaux is a beautiful city, in France, on the Garonne River. Its derelict warehouses and littered quays have been cleaned up and it has emerged out of it reputation as a gritty city. Futuristic trams whiz by and limestone facades, stone mansions and beautiful balconies make it a gorgeous city to walk through. Today it has one of the largest urban areas on the UNESCO List.
The Wine Festival had some quirky larger than life wine bottles designed by artists from Hongkong. There were more than 80 appellations that had stalls along a two kilometre stretch next to the river.
There were special tastings of the Grand Crus wines- the absolute Holy Grail of wines with a passport to note down the tastings. My kit had a glass and holder which you could take to each stall for a tasting.
Every night there was a fabulous fireworks display and a sound and light show which was projected on the buildings of the Place de la Bourse.
We explored the city and discovered some exquisite churches and grandiose buildings and parks. I loved these mascarons- faces in stone that you find above each door and windows of old buildings.
This is the attractive Esplanade des Quinconces, with statues of philosophers like Montaigne and an ornate fountain.
One of my favourite places in the city was the Le miroir d’eau, a shallow pool with water jets that reflected the classic Place de La Bourse with kids and pets splashing about in the puddle.
Another atmospheric place that I visited was the Cafe Utopia housed in a 17th century church. It is also a cinema and art complex which screens alternative cinema. They serve gargantuan platters of salads and baguettes.
Bordeaux has one of the finest flea markets in the shadow of the Saint Michel Church with vintage furniture, clothes and bric a brac. I spent a lovely morning browsing through the clutter.
On a completely different note I loved Rue Catherine, supposed to be one of the longest pedestrianised shopping streets in Europe full of boutiques and shops.
I also walked through a colourful food market beside the Garonne River where people stood in queues for oysters.