When your best friend owns a vineyard in Bordeaux it would be rude not to pay her a visit, right? Well, last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited out to France with a group of friends to check out their stunning new abode!
Having made the envy-inducing move to the French countryside earlier in the year, I was really excited to see how Annie and Mark were getting on out there. I sensed that Mark – being a fluent French speaker – may find the transition a tad easier, but I was really happy to see that Annie was settling in there amazingly too and her ability to order a glass of white wine in French is now spot on (get the important stuff mastered first)! Jokes aside, I was really impressed to witness their new business blossoming. Looking back, who would have thought that my boozy bestie would one day be making a living out of her favourite thing (wine)?!
Chateau la Piolette
Nestled in the rolling French countryside just a short distance outside of Saint Macaire, Chateau la Piolette boasts 10 hectares of lush vineyard land and is nothing but idyllic. During my stay there I was lucky enough to witness some stunning uninterrupted sunsets across the fields. I was also woken up by a real life rooster one morning and if that isn’t the epitome of countryside living, I don’t know what is!
In addition to the main house, the property accommodates three newly renovated gites, which meant there was plenty of space for the seven of us visiting to crash out and enjoy a relaxing break with Annie and Mark. In a way, we served as their trial guests, because the day after we left they welcomed some of their first holiday makers since listing it on AirBnB. I’m sure the guests will have had a wonderful time, because (bar getting wrestled to the ground by Annie on a couple of occasions) the pair of them were faultless hosts.
One of my highlights of the weekend was meeting the neighbours’ playful little springer spaniel, which Annie has nicknamed ‘Freddie’ (she doesn’t know his real name). One of their worries when moving out there was that their energetic Border Collie, Mallie would miss having other dogs around, so having little Freddie around to play with works out perfectly and the two lovely pooches couldn’t get along better! It also meant I could enjoy some doggy snuggles while away from Cody!
And did I mention the pool?! I came home from France covered in bruises and scratches as a result of a couple of rather unruly games of ‘water polo’ and ‘flip the lilo’ (a few glasses of wine may have been consumed before hand). We were fortunate enough to visit on a gorgeous sunny weekend, so I spent a lot of our free time floating around the pool on the resident unicorn (frequently tipped upside down by someone who thought I looked far too relaxed for their liking).
Watersports at Lac De La Cadie
Setting off early on Sunday morning (oh the horror) we took a trip to Lac de la Cadie to have a go at some water sports (and hopefully wash away our hangovers)! It was a beautiful day and the lake glistening in the sunshine really was a sight for sore (tired) eyes. By 9am it had already reached the late twenties, so we couldn’t wait to get in the water to cool off. They offer a variety of water sports at the lake, ranging from adrenaline packed activities such as water skiing and fly boarding, to a relaxing pedalo ride. We decided to start with something we could enjoy together – A large inflatable mattress with four sets of handles, pulled along at high speeds by a speed boat (what were we thinking?!).
I’ve never gripped on to something so tightly in my life and despite my best effort, a sudden sharp turn was just too much for my increasingly-weak fingers and I went flying off into the water ever so gracefully (legs akimbo) – I’m convinced the driver was on a mission to get us all in! Props to the rest of the girls who managed to stay on the whole way round… unfortunately I can’t say the same for the boys.
That was enough excitement for us girls, but the guys all had a go at water skiing and unlike the inflatable ride, they did surprisingly well at standing up the whole way around the lake!
Nearby towns and villages
Located just a stone’s throw from the vineyard is the historical town of Langon, where most of the closest main amenities (supermarket, bank, etc.) are situated. The town is a prime representative of French tradition and its rich heritage lures tourists in from around the country and further afield. Though we didn’t spend much time in Langon, we did stop off at one of the local bars for a drink on our way from the airport and I amazed myself by delving into the dark depths of my mind to find the French words for “where is the toilet”, that I’d kept buried since my GCSE days. My French skills went down hill from there, resulting in a lot of “Frenglish” being uttered throughout the weekend like drunken jibberish.
Over the few days, we also enjoyed a couple of lovely meals in the nearby villages of Verdelais and Saint Macaire. If you’re looking for archetypal French architecture and quaint village scenery, you can do no better than these charming locations. From cobblestoned streets to picturesque old churches and antique markets, they really are wonderful to wander around on a laid back afternoon.
The weekend went far too quickly for my liking and I can’t wait to go out there for another visit soon!
Like the look of Chateau la Piolette? Well you can check it out for yourself, as their lovely Wine Cottage is for rent on AirBnB!