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Great South West

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Central reservation office (United States)

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : CAZES

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Discover
the Routes
du Bonheur of...

Jean-Michel Cazes
View all the Routes du Bonheur

Owner of the Château Cordeillan-Bages
My Road to Happiness… in the Bordeaux region, taking in the vineyards and some of the most prestigious wines

I divided my youth between our home and the family’s vineyard. I love the Médoc more than any other place. For its wine, of course, but also for its landscapes. Here, pine forests border endless sandy beaches. Then there is the estuary and the ocean. There’s Bordeaux too. The route that I suggest winds through vineyards, taking in some of the most prestigious wines in the Bordeaux region. It takes you down into the Sauternes region before making a stopover in Saint-Émilion. Finally, as in any good meal, it follows the estuary and the vine-covered slopes of Bourg and Blaye to finish off with an excellent digestif. Cognac is right before you.

Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a four-night stay from €988*
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.

My Route du Bonheur
Stage 1: two days, one night

Château Cordeillan-Bages

The discovery of wine is a shared pleasure, a nice story, an emotion of the spirit and the senses
Château Cordeillan-Bages
It was in the late 1980s that we transformed this 18th century golden-stone mansion into a luxury hotel. The hotel is situated in the heart of Médoc’s wine country, set in countryside under the flightpath of migratory birds. Cordeillan-Bages has 28 elegant rooms and a two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Chef Jean-Luc Rocha’s fare is a surprising mixture of innovation and tradition…

Close to the property...

Bages village

This is the story of a rebirth. The small village which neighbours our family estate had lost most of its residents over the years. After successive purchases of surrounding vineyards, we realised that a large part of the village now belonged to us. Rather than tearing its houses down, we decided to restore them. Today, the village once again houses businesses and artists’ workshops. Obviously, I recommend a visit to the Lynch-Bages wine storehouses; the receptionists at Cordeillan-Bages will be pleased to organise an appointment for you.

www.villagedebages.com

My favourite place
Lunch on the Île de Patiras

This little island, opposite Pauillac, is one of my little secrets. With help from the French coastal protection agency, Philippe Lacourt has restored its beautiful white lighthouse and built a sleek and modern haven. Come here to listen to birdsong and the river in between two expertly-cooked dishes. The host also offers tasty picnics.

Reservation necessary. www.gensdestuaire.fr

On the route...

Cap Ferret - Bassin d’Arcachon

You must come to Cap Ferret and try a few oysters, washed down with a nice glass of wine. One possibility is the Hôtel de la Plage in L’Herbe village, which was recently taken over by some locals. I also like the atmosphere of the little port of Andernos-les-Bains at high tide. Pay a visit to Joël Lahaye at hut 20 on Quai Lahillon to eat oysters with your feet in the water. A real treat.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : CAZES

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Stage 2: one day, one night

Le Saint-James Bouliac

Architect-designed hotel in the heart of the vineyards
Le Saint-James Bouliac
This large and beautiful building, constructed of wood and glass, was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel, who was inspired by the old tobacco drying barns which were found in the region. From the hotel, owned by Marie Borgel, there is a splendid view of Bordeaux. The bedrooms are decorated with reproductions of furniture by Jacobsen, Prouvé and Le Corbusier. People come from miles around to sample the food of chef Nicolas Magie.

Close to the property...

Centre d’Arts plastiques contemporains (Contemporary visual arts centre)

I really like the CAPC. Situated in a former warehouse for colonial goods, this was one of the first museums in France to be entirely devoted to contemporary art. Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Buren, Christian Boltanski and Keith Haring have all had work exhibited here. The programme is really high quality.

www.capc-bordeaux.fr

The Millésima Wine Storehouses

The two-hundred-year-old storehouses belonging to this merchant are definitely the most beautiful in Bordeaux. Picture an 8000 m² storehouse, built entirely of freestone! Inside you will find 2.5 million bottles, 80% of which come from local vineyards.

Guided tour and wine tasting by reservation. www.millesima.com

The submarine base

Bordeaux’s submarine base is a must-see. This gigantic concrete structure was built to house a flotilla of German submarines during the Second World War. Today, part of the base plays host to living art shows and very fine photography exhibitions. An added bonus: if you fancy some oysters (I’m mad about them!), don’t miss Huître à Flot (basin 2), a rather strange and unexpected place.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : CAZES

Calling from another country ? Click here

Revenir en haut de page
Stage 3: one day, one night

Hostellerie de Plaisance

The masterpiece of Saint-Émilion
Hostellerie de Plaisance
This member of the Relais & Châteaux network, which was formerly a monastery, hospice and coaching inn, is an integral part of Saint-Émilion’s heritage. Its spacious rooms, elegantly decorated by Alberto Pinto, are spread over the heights of the village. Philippe Etchebest is the manager and also the (very talented) chef. The restaurant attracts people from far and wide, who come to discover his unique menu, which is different every day.

Close to the property...

Take a stroll in the streets of Saint-Émilion

Wandering the streets of Saint-Émilion is a real delight. Its World Heritage site status has made it possible to retain great uniformity. The variety of wine merchants and wine bars should be enough to please everyone’s taste buds. My favourite is still l’Envers du Décor (11, rue du Clocher).

Attend the Jurade

The Jurade, the guild of Saint-Émilion winemakers, was created in 1199 by the king of England. It was revived in 1948 by local winemakers, and every June and September it organises a parade of “jurats” who march up to the top of the Tour du Roy, dressed in their traditional red robes.

A wine cellar visit

The Château Villemaurine, located on the outskirts of the village, offers Saint-Émilion’s most creative guided tours. Lantern in hand, you can discover the superb underground quarries of this grand cru classé, through a sound and light show which combines history and legend.

www.villemaurine.com

On the route...

Corniche between Saint-André-de-Cubzac and Blaye

On this flower-lined cliff road, don’t miss the view over the Bec d’Ambès, where the Dordogne and Garonne meet, or the houses…

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : CAZES

Calling from another country ? Click here

Revenir en haut de page
Stage 4: one day, one night

Château de Mirambeau

A magical place, at the crossing of Cognac and Bordeaux vineyards
Château de Mirambeau
Finally, pay a visit to Frédéric Boivent at the Château de Mirambeau. This is a superb example of Renaissance architecture. The château was entirely renovated in 2002, and retains its sumptuous old furnishings. The house specialities are shellfish and fish from the estuary and the ocean, meats of Limousin or Aquitaine, snails of Charente... But the centrepiece is perhaps the “Cognathèque”, with its impressive collection of Cognacs. We have left the Bordeaux region behind and now we are in another world.

Close to the property...

Château du Bouilh (Saint-André-de-Cubzac)

Built by architect Victor Louis, the Château du Bouilh is a superb example of late 18th century neoclassical architecture. Owner Jean-Frédéric de La Tour du Pin was appointed minister of war by King Louis XVI… in 1789! This listed building, which was never completed, is a real film set.

www.chateaudubouilh.jimdo.com

Citatelle de Blaye

This impressive citadel, recognised as a World Heritage site, looks out over the Gironde estuary. The military complex, built under orders from Vauban, stretches over almost 38 hectares.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : CAZES

Calling from another country ? Click here

Texts : © Guides Gallimard