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Culinary France

8 Activities to discover Bordeaux off the beaten track

Ophorus Blog - 8 Activities to discover Bordeaux off the beaten track
Only a short 2 hour train ride from Paris, Bordeaux is the perfect destination for a unique getaway. Surrounded by world famous vineyards, close by the Atlantic coast and its endless beaches, the vibrant city has a lot to offer.

Whether you are a culture and history enthusiast, a food and wine addict or a nature lover, you will find it all in Bordeaux and its region. Here are 10 unique activities that will definitely make your city break a memorable one.

1. RIDE A BIKE AND DISCOVER THE LESSER KNOWN PARTS OF THE CITY

Cycling is truly the perfect way to discover Bordeaux and its wonders at your own pace. Wander through small quiet streets, charming squares and quaint neighborhoods away from the crowd and take in the impressive 18th Century architecture. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has invested in the development of sustainable mobility.

The metropole offers 1182 km of cycle paths which makes it very easy and safe to bike around. To enhance your experience, join one of our bike tours conducted by a certified guide who will tell you all about the rich history of the city and of its famous landmarks. Bordeaux is also known for its gastronomy and “art de vivre”. Your guide will share with you his best tips on where to taste the finest local delicacies and in which wine bar to stop to enjoy an aperitif among the locals. 

2. Participate in a cooking class in a prestigious wine Chateau

A stay in Bordeaux would not be complete without a wine tour in one of its renowned vineyards. To get off the beaten track, why not combining food and wine by cooking your very own French menu in a prestigious wine Chateau?

You will begin your experience with a tour of the estate and learn about its history and wine making process. After the visit, share a most convivial moment and let yourself be guided by the advice of a professional Chef.

You will get to cook local and seasonal products behind your own cooktop and be initiated to the art of food and wine pairing. It will then be time for lunch! Enjoy the meal that you prepared and indulge with perfectly matching wines of the Château.

At the end of the class, recipes will be sent to you by email so that you will take home a little piece of your Bordeaux cooking class with you! This activity can be planned on Saint Emilion wine tour, Medoc wine tour or Graves & Sauternes wine tour as private day trips from Bordeaux.

3. Elaborate your very own Bordeaux wine

One of the most popular workshops in Bordeaux right now is the wine blending workshop that allows you to create your own Bordeaux wine. As you might not know, Bordeaux wines are blended wines which means that winemakers use several different types of grapes to obtain their final wines. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are the main grapes that are used for the blending.

Upon arrival at one of our selected partner Château Winery, begin your experience by tasting the different grape varieties that will make up your final blend. Using professional test tubes, begin selecting the percentage of each grape variety, mix them together, taste again and compare your different blends. Et voilà, your own Bordeaux wine has come to life. Bottle your wine, cork the bottle manually and create your own personalized label. A truly fun & informative workshop to better understand the making of Bordeaux wines.

4. Experience a unique Blind Tasting workshop

There are different methods used to wine taste but one of the most exciting ones is to taste wines without having a clue about what you are tasting. The goal here is to have no preconceived perceptions of a wine based on elements such as what type of wine it is, how good a label looks like, the vintage or the price of a bottle.

In one of our selected partner Château wineries, let yourself be guided by a professional hand and begin your bling tasting session. During this experience, it will be all about the color of the wines, the texture, aromas and what the wines taste like. What makes this experience so popular is that both novice and wine addicts can enjoy it as it all comes down to liking or not liking the wines tasted. At the end of the blind tasting, discover the selection of wines tasted and find out which wine was best adapted to your taste.

5. Learn how to pair food & wine

One of the frequent questions that we get from visitors is how to pair food & wine? To enhance the flavors of both food & wine for a great dining experience, there are some basics that can be easily learned. One of these basic elements is the “weight” which is the balance between the weight of the food (a heavy Cassoulet versus a light salad) and the weight “body” of the wine (a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon versus a delicate Merlot).

On a food & wine pairing workshop in Bordeaux, the most frequent foods that are paired with the local wines are cheeses, cold meats, chocolate and even caviar (coming from local fish farms). As you taste several wines of the Château, each one is paired with a sample of food that is made to match perfectly and bring out the best of both the wine and the food. A perfect experience for those of you who love French food & wine.

6. board a hot air balloon for an amazing view over the vines

In the twinkling lights of dawn or at sunset, drifting slowly above the picturesque countryside plains and rolling hills of the right bank wine producing region is surely an unforgettable thing to do!

The Saint Emilion wine region of Bordeaux is a fascinating destination especially when it comes to experiencing a hot air balloon flight. From above, admire some of the most beautiful villages of the Gironde, the Dordogne River, exclusive grand cru wine estates that awake in the morning light or watch the sun set over vineyards and witness a truly wonderful sight. To perfectly end this timeless moment, you will be served the traditional "toast of the Aéronautes" along with a brunch or aperitif.

Select among our different options the type of Hot Air Balloon flight that is best for you, your friends or your family.

7. Create your own Brandy in a famous Cognac House

Located northeast of Bordeaux in the Charente region, lies the lesser known vineyard of Cognac. It is where the so-called Brandy is produced, and it might not be as famous as the Bordeaux vineyards but it is definitely worth a visit. Make sure to take part in a tour of its distilleries, where you will be taught how the dry and acidic local wine is distilled, aged, and turned into a flavored high-end Cognac Brandy.

Go further and participate in a blending workshop to create your very own Cognac. You will realize how the specific terroir of the vines has a direct influence on the aromas of the ‘eaux de vies’ which are blunt precisely to obtain the final Brandy. This is an entertaining, informative and hands on way to experience another French specialty.

Continue your Cognac Wine Tour Private Day Trip from Bordeaux with a stop at the charming town of Cognac. At the end of the day, return to Bordeaux with a labeled bottle of your own Cognac!

8. cruise on a traditional boat in the bay of Arcachon

After a cultural visit of the city and a gastronomic tour to the vineyards, why not finish your city break to Bordeaux with a gateway to the coast? To relax, unwind and enjoy the fresh air of the seaside; the nearby Arcachon Bay is the place to go.

And the most intimate and exclusive way to discover its fine sandy beaches, typical “Tchanqués” huts built on wooden piles and numerous oyster farms is to take part in a private boat ride on a Pinasse boat. Those traditional embarkations were used by the fishermen as early as the 1500’s.

Your private cruise will take you around Birds Island and to small fishing villages, while your personal skipper will explain the history, fauna, and flora of this stunning environment. And to make your experience even more perfect and authentic, why not taste delicious fresh oysters while sipping on a glass of delicious white wine?

All these activities allow for a different and personalized discovery of the beautiful region of Bordeaux. Do not hesitate to contact us for other suggestions of unique experiences as we can tailor make your stay in France and adapt it to your wishes!

Constance, Trip Designer F.I.T's & MICE, France Travel Expert

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