.: Day 2 – Saint Emilion :.

As a wine lover I was really looking forward to explore Saint Emilion and visit the different châteaux, so for our weekend away in Bordeaux I had to ensure I would visit Saint Emilion. From Bordeaux is really easy to get there, just take the train from the main station, it takes around 45m to get there. Trouble is there are not that many trains available, so you better check online what is the schedule that will work for you.

Even though in the end I couldn’t drink, I still wanted to make my visit. It was a shame it was so cloudy and rainy later on.

It’s a shame also that most of the stores were closed, except for a few wine places. I would have enjoyed just exploring the region goods. More than half of the restaurants were closed as well.

You remember when I’ve said that the Caneles were disappointing to me? Well, not the Saint Emilion Macaroons! They were absolutely delicious! So much better than the macaroons! The flavour of almond, ahh so good. I should have bought boxes of them. I’m in love now, seriously!

We went for one of the only opened restaurants in the area: Le Bouchon and decided for the menu of the day, a warm soup and chicken with tomato sauce. It felt like food I would have at home and not necessarily at the restaurant, but was happy with that

As we left the restaurant it started to rain quite a lot and to be fair I was feeling so exhausted, so we’ve decided to take the train back rather than wait extra 2h30 for the next available one.

I think because of the combination of: me not drinking and feeling tired, low season and everything closed plus the weather we didn’t took the most out of it. I’m looking forward to be back at the high season (around September) to make the most of the vineyards

Here’s an inspired recipe

For dinner, I wanted to visit Le Chien de Pavlov as recommended by our host, but it was already fully booked! But they’ve recommended us their brand new restaurant Potato Head, also by chef Mary et Maxime. Again love the name! Was really excited to try out french fusion food.

Loved the space immediately

For starters we went for the potato risotto

12643036_10206577891220785_4403932058085749131_n

By looking into it, you have no idea on how good it’s going to taste, but oh boy, after the first bite I could feel all the flavours. Really good.

For the main I went for the iberian Pork with sweet potato (I love sweet potato)

12654484_10206577892460816_1071877331329297654_n

Again really lush! Loved the apple on the top. Perfectly cooked.

For dessert we went for the chocolaty one, and again quite a big portion

12631316_10206577892620820_8934594680063039285_n

Loved the whole meal and the whole experience. Service was really friendly and I would be back in a blink of the eye. I dare say, the best meal of the year so far!

Have a lovely Easter Break 🙂

Advertisements

.: Day 1 in Bordeaux :.

It feels it was ages ago now, but I didn’t had the energy to edit the photos from that weekend (oh life lately!). Bordeaux was our sister weekend away and now I wonder why didn’t we do it ages ago? It was brilliant to have some time together.

After checkin in the house and as I had some time left while my sister didn’t arrive from her flight, I went on a mission to get a nice lunch. I bumped into Le Petit Commerce, a favourite by the locals by it’s fresh fish. Considering I’ve arrived quite late, around 14h, it was still quite crowded. I had to wait a little bit for a sit, but it was so worth it.

I’ve decided for the day’s offer, fish soup. Ohh it was so marvellous! Even the bread was absolutely tasty. I had no idea I was craving for fish this badly.

12647357_10206569831139288_7432289310629775551_n

Then, in the table next to me, they’ve ordered cafe gourmand, which is pretty much coffee served with petits fours. Delicious!

12573730_10206569885340643_9184098539269441852_n

I left the restaurant feeling loads better than I was after my nap in the house. Ready to explore the city.

I loved the colours immediately, it felt like Paris meets Bath.

My sister eventually arrived and we’ve continued exploring the city

I wish I could buy all of these!

Don’t you just love the colours? Then we went to explore the famous canneles. Well I have to say this was a disappointment. They were not as good as I would expect them to be. It felt like biting a piece of rubber to be fair.

We went for a quick shower at the house before heading over for dinner. For dinner we’ve decided L’Entrecote. I knew about l’entrecote from the branch in London, so I knew I was going to love it. My sister was in love with the sauce as well. Being L’Entrecote, it means waiting a while. I think we’ve waited around 45m and we were one of the first in the queue.

12647351_10206571783508096_4000930986243414094_n

So good! I managed to finish it all, which was an improvement considering my previous month. Really worth a visit 🙂

Next stop: St-Emilion!

Btw, Feliz dia do Pai (Father’s day in Portugal)

.: AirBnB Bordeaux :.

Last weekend me and my sister went for a weekend away in Bordeaux. We’ve decided that, rather than give something each other for Christmas it would be a nicer idea to do a weekend away. We still bought something to each other so we would have something to unwrap and also the idea of doing a weekend just for the 2 of us sounded really tempting. It’s been almost 10 years since we’ve done something like this.

I’ve also decided that it would be finally the time to use AirBnB. I guess the reason why I was so behind in the game is that I end up booking big chain hotels to use the points, or then trying to find a cosy B&B like the one we had in North Wales. But I was keen on trying AirBnB this time. After doing a quick search I fell in love with the stone apartments in the centre of Bordeaux. This is how I found Antoine’s

The bed area

The decor is perfect for the style of the apartment. Absolutely beautiful!

Now let’s talk about location – I couldn’t ask it to be any better than it was

Yap that’s right, in the historical centre in the middle of all nice restaurants and bars. It was just perfect!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Antoine as he was waiting for me at the apartment and he gave me really good tips of which restaurants to try in the area and what to see and do.

Something I found really surprising was that, not only I can leave the review of my stay, but I get one back as a guest as well! This is really useful information for anyone renting out flats! Good idea guys!

So overall quite pleased with my AirBnB experience, which I’ll definitely be repeating again in Japan 🙂

Have you used AirBnB before? Any experience you would like to share?

.: Exploring Lille on a rainy day :.

Yap, it was raining cats & dogs. In fact it was even snowing on Saturday morning in Surrey, as we were leaving UK! While it has been snowing quite a lot in north of the island, not so much in the south, so we were quite surprised to see the snow. Surrey looks quite beautiful in white 🙂

Crapy photo from my phone

The journey from London to Lille wasn’t that bad actually. We drove all the way from home to Dover, which took us around 2h (there was a lot of traffic on the m25 after 3 accidents in a row!), but you can also use the Eurostart from London Kings Cross to Lille (roughly 1h). Then we took the ferry, which we’ve booked in advance. If you want to cross the channel by car check the Eurotunnel, if there’s nothing available you can check the ferrys here. If I had booked a bit in advance I could have saved £40. Oh well! It took us 1h30 by ferry, but… because you need to go through passport control and security (which is really really quick) and the boarding starts 30m prior to departure, means you need to reach the port roughly 40/45m before departure.

Once we’ve reached Calais was only 1h10 to reach our hotel (L’Hermitage Gartois – I’ll do a different post to review the hotel and our meals). After we left our car and the bags, we went for a walk into the city centre.

I have to say we were a bit unlucky as it was raining cats & dogs, seriously! We managed to take the first pictures and suddenly we had to go indoors somewhere. I almost managed to ruin my camera and some of the photos look really foggy.

You know what they say right? If a place looks beautiful in the rain, it will look even better if it was sunny. And I’ve really enjoyed my short stay in Lille. Oh, I have to mention the stores. Gosh, the stores are so beautiful and brilliantly decorated (Maybe I’ve been living for London for too long!) I wanted to buy everything!

Grand Palace – this area is so beautiful!!!

The first store we’ve visited was called La Chambreaux Confitures. Gorgeous and really unique! You can buy chocolate cream, marmalades, and different sauces for both meat, cheese and anything else you can imagine! They also have these gorgeous candles!

Sweet sauces for cheese! Can I have them all?

I love the fact that they have small bottles. It’s perfect for me as I tend not to finish the big ones.

Why don’t we have stores like this in UK? We do, but it’s hard to find them, overall the cities don’t have the same presentation as in Europe, especially in France

Next stop, Meert! Look at all these happy calories smiling at me

 

The Moelleaux au chocolat is their signature sweet

I didn’t manage to find a table at Meert. Even just to buy something there was a queue. But I was willing not go give up without my cake

Le Vin – We’ve actually returned to this store to buy some wine

Because it’s quite close to Belgium, it’s also very easy to find really good beer in Lille.

In the old part of the city, all the houses have these cute little doors

This is how dreams are made 🙂

Cathedral

A Vespa in the rain

Beautiful colour isn’t it?

 

Details

The old town is beautiful!

Lady in the rain

More details

Oui! J’adore le fromage!

More cheese

Looks so creamy and yummy!

Shopping: Wine, Cheese, Marmalades and a cake

Silhouette a la Sherlock in London 🙂

Something in the sky

Morning snack

Have you been in Lille before? Any thoughts you would like to share? What was your favourite place?

.: Wishlist for Lille :.

As some of you may know, we’ve really loved going to Brussels & Bruges. While we were still there I’ve decided that this year I would go to Lille and Ghent. Because it’s just a weekend, we had to abandon the Ghent idea, but really looking forward to meet Lille, after all it’s such a beautiful name 🙂

The best way to plan places to visit and where to eat is by visiting fellow bloggers, either local ones or people who have been there and have shared their experiences:

Want them all now!

Or Meert

Looks so yummy!

 

  • From the London Eater, that Lille has such a lovely old-city centre

So beautiful!

I’m also planning to take lots of photos, and buy some wine and belgium beer 😀

So yes, looking forward to go! I’m also using tripAdvisor to save all these places, so it’s easy to find them once I’m there.

How do you plan your next trip? Any ideas you would like to share?