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On September 12-13, Medoc will celebrate its open doors at chateaux weekend. This famous event hosted by the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac usually takes place around April but had to be postponed due to COVID 19. It’s an incredible event that allows you to visit most of the chateaux of the Médoc region and taste a lot of wine.
If you want to discover the beautiful region of Medoc you can also read my article about a weekend in the Medoc region where I talk about wineries, beaches, beautiful villages and all the other wonders of this area in Gironde. 

Chateaux Livran

Le Week-end Portes Ouvertes (open doors weekend) in Médoc is an annual event that officially starts the tourist season in the wine region of southwest France. The first time that vineyards have collectively decided to open their doors to the public was in 1991 and it was an immediate success. The Week-end Portes Ouvertes has seen tens of thousands of visitors and the open house tradition was copied to other chateaux in France. This tradition has grown so much that it became a challenge to pick the best chateaux to visit during this weekend.

Around 70 wine châteaux from eight different AOC (appellation d’origine contrôléeusually participate in the Portes Ouvertes weekend:  MEDOC, HAUT MEDOC, PAUILLAC, SAINT ESTEPHE,  SAINT JULIEN, LISTRAC, MOULIS and MARGAUX. The AOC is the French certification for geographical indications of agricultural products such as wine and cheeses. Click here to see which châteaux are participating in the event.

Although visiting the cellars and wine tastings are still at the heart of the event, today the various chateaux try to attract visitors with additional activities such as music, wine workshops, food, art expos and games for kids. If you don’t have a specific winery (château) in mind you can choose one according to the proposed activities. I gathered a list of activities to help you choose one:

Fine dining

Wines are not the only product the Médoc region does well, it is also famous for its gastronomic specialties, such as: l’agneau de Pauillac (Pauillac lamb), l’entrecôte cuite aux sarments (entrecote cooked with wine shoots), les chocolats de Mademoiselle de Margaux and more. In addition to in-house restaurants, some of the chateaux offer gourmet markets, food trucks and bars. So, besides tasting great wine you are guaranteed to have a great culinary experience.  Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the ones offering dining options.

Art in the Châteaux

Some of the châteaux will host exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and photographs of both local and international artists.

In Châteaux Saint Hilaire, for example, two Medoc artists will present their aquarelle paintings and photographs. Châteaux Ségur will host a paitig exhibitiojn and a music concert and in Châteaux Castera, one of the most ancient chateaux in the region, you could see the permanent sculpture exposition “Les bouteilles de vincent libecq”. 

Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the exhibitions displayed in every château.

castera chateaux
photo by: castera chateaux

Visiting with kids

Many people take the chance to make the châteaux visit a family trip, and rightly so as kids can also appreciate the charming châteaux and their gardens.  Nonetheless, having to look after your little kids while wine tasting can definitely undermine the experience. That is why some of the châteaux propose activities to entertain your kids while you are tasting wine. Also the Maison du vin in Pauillac will provide a fun booklet for kids over 6 years old.  Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the activities they propose.

Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the activities they propose.

Getting to know the wine world

Wine is a multi-faceted experience and many of the châteaux would like you to experience more than just wine tasting. Some organize workshops and activities revolving around the production of wine. 

Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the activities they propose.

Some of the châteaux require a prior reservation for the wine tastings and cellar tours, so if you found a château you would like to discover this weekend, hurry up and make a reservation by email or phone. Click here for the full program with all of the details, including the address, the activities proposed, the hours and contact details of every chateau.

If you’re coming to Bordeaux especially for this occasion, be sure to check up my list of recommended hotels in Bordeaux center.
If you want to get updates about the portes ouvertes, join my email list here and I’ll send up-to-date info closer to the event.

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

The weather may not be getting warmer but Bordeaux’s event calendar is definitely getting  hotter. Plenty of activities are waiting for us in May, festivals, concerts, cultural events, music and more; there is an event for everyone.  In this list I just want to give you a heads up on the 10 biggest events in and around Bordeaux this month, so that you could plan ahead and buy tickets if necessary. As usual weekly updates will be published in the following weeks to give you the full coverage of the events in Bordeaux.

Bordeaux Geek Festival

Comics, science fiction, video games, parallel worlds, creative industries – you’ll find all of these at the next Bordeaux Geek festival (BGF), that will take place May 19-21 at Parc des Expositions. The goal of this festival is to experience geek culture and share knowledge on topics that are at the heart of the Geek community 🙂 The BGF will bring together different players from these industries, among them: video artists, gamers, illustrators, designers, scientists, authors, comedians and more. The festival will also include four big contests where people can win quite impressive awards: BGF E-Sport, BGF Awards, BGF Makers and  BGF Comics.

For more details and tickets.

When: May 19-21
Where: Hall 3 and 1 – Parc des Expositions, 33000 Bordeaux

Take your picnic to the Vineyard

Wine activities and picnics are two favorite French activities, so why not combine them? Usually, the vines, owned by the different chateaux can only be visited as part of a guided tour in the chateau, however this month you have an opportunity to bring your picnic basket and spend a great day with your family and friends in the vineyards. The principle is quite simple: You bring your own picnic and the chateau will provide the wine and entertainment.

Around 400 different wine domains are participating in the event that will take place during the long weekend of May 19-21. More than 1000 activities are proposed to families by the participating chateaux, they will reflect the specialty of the chateaux and the area, among them: art workshops, concerts, bike tours and more.

There are 17 participating Chateaux in the Bordeaux area-  See the list
Find a chateaux in other areas in France click HERE. 
The places are limited so reserving a spot as soon as possible is recommended.

picnic between the vines of Bordeaux area

When:May 19-21

ODP Music Festival in Peixotto

This is the fourth edition of the ODP Festival, whose objective is to raise funds for the orphans of firefighters that have died on duty. The festival will take place on the long weekend of Ascension, May 18-20, in Park Peixotto in the center of Talence. Here is a list of some of the acts that will perform at the festival: NTM, alt-J, Ibeyi, Coeur de Pirate, BALOJI, Dätcha Mandala, Laurent Lamarca, Da silva officiel, Gauvain Sers, Les Négresses Vertes

The prices go from 35€ to 45€  for a day ticket, 60€ to 70€  for a two days pass and  100 € for a 3 days pass – see tickets.

For more details and tickets go to the website of the festival and the facebook page.

ODP festival peixotto 2018

When: May 18- 20
Where: Parc du Château Peixotto, 33400 Talence

The Medieval Festival of South Gironde

The Medieval Festival of Gironde will take place in the Cabiros forest in Landiras (about 40 min south of Bordeaux) on May 12-13. This unique site, at the heart of the forest, creates a perfect atmosphere for this festival giving you the feeling that you have been transported to medieval times. The medieval village, the costumes and the sword fighting are only part of the activities that will help you discover the history and habits of those ancient times. A free fire show will be offered on Saturday night!

The ticket price for the whole festival is 10 and it’s free to kids under 12.  For more info check out the website of the festival.

When: May 12-13
Where: Landiras, 33720

Go to a secret event at the Festival de Caves

Festival de Caves (Cellars festival) is an underground theater festival, gathering a small number of spectators in cellars and other underground places throughout the city. In Bordeaux, the festival will take place on May 16-27 and will run the whole month of May in different cities in France.  So where are those city cellars we are talking about you ask? Well that’s the whole idea, these events are being kept secret and the locations will be revealed to those who reserved their spot only on the day of the shows. The launching of the festival will take place on May 16 (7pm) at the Marché des Douves. The event is free and will include a concert, a buffet and the presentation of the artists taking part in the festival.  

Check out the full program on the website of the event. For more details click here.

festival-de-caves-theatre-souterrain
photo by: Compagnie Gbouillon

When:May 16-27
Where: locations are secret for now 🙂 , the lauching event: Marché des Douves. 4 Rue des Douves, 33800 Bordeaux
How much: full price is 12€/ reduced price is 10€. The launching event is free of charge.

Banzai Lab- an independent music festival

This is the 10th edition of the Banzai – Lab, the independent music festival of Bordeaux that takes place in Le Rocher de Palmer in Cenon on May 4-5. To celebrate its anniversary le Rocher de Palmer invites you to two full days of concerts of different genres: Hip-hop, Electro, Dub and more.

See the full program, the prices and buy tickets here.

For more info about the artists see the website of the festival.

When:May 4-5
Where:1 Rue Aristide Briand, 33152 Cenon

Learn how to dance at the Bordeaux Tango Festival

The 6th edition of the Bordeaux Tango Festival will take place May 8-13. This hot festival connects Bordeaux and the place where Tango was born, Buenos Aires. A variety of activities will be offered to celebrate the link between these two cities, such as music, art, cinema, literature and of course dance. Most of the event will take place in Espace St. Remi, except the events on Friday which will take place at the Rocher de Palmer in Cenon.

See the program of the festival.

When:May 8-13
Where: 4 Rue Jouannet, 33000 Bordeaux

Let your kids discover the art of circus at the Festival Jubil’à Jongle

The 12th edition of the festival will start with an inauguration evening on May 25, which will include magic and fire shows, different activities for kids and even a rock concert. The second day (May 26) of the festival will allow you and your kids to discover the art of circus and street entertainment through shows of Juggling, magic, games and introductory workshops. The festival will take place at the Parc de Fongravey in Blanquefort.

For more info click here.

Flyer_programme_Jubil_2018

When: May 25-26
Where:Parc de Fongravey in Blanquefort

 

Last chance to see the Digital Abysses expo 

If you still didn’t go to the incredible Base sous- Marine to see the currently running exhibition, this is your last chance. The Digital Abysses exhibition, by the digital artist Miguel Chevalier, will be presented until May 20, so hurry up.  His fantastic work of art explores nature through underwater plants and wildlife. The characteristics of this unique place with the combination of fixed works and interactive digital installations makes it a special experience.

See more details.

base sous marine
photo by: Ira Szmuk

Address:  Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 Bordeaux

Brocante des Quinconces

The big brocante of Bordeaux is hosted twice a year at place des Quinconces with 200 antique dealers, horticulturists, restaurants and craftsmen. This spring is the 100th edition of the brocante and it will take place from April 20 to May 8.

When: April 20 – May 8
Where: Place des Quinconces

Hope the sun will soon be back with us!

If you know of any other interesting events in Bordeaux and the area, please let me know in the comments below and I will be sure to add them to my weekly list of things to do in Bordeaux.

If you are living in France or just passing by and you wish to discover one of its most important regions, now is an excellent time to be heading to Médoc, one of the most famous wine growing regions in the world, located in the Gironde department, north of Bordeaux.  To celebrate the beginning of the spring the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac will hold an open doors weekend on April 7-8, where you will be able to visit all the chateaux of the Médoc region and do a lot of wine tasting.

Le Week-end Portes Ouvertes (open doors weekend) in Médoc is an annual event that officially starts the tourist season in the wine region of South west France. The first time that vineyards have collectively decided to open their doors to the public was in 1991 and it was an immediate success. Starting its third edition, the  Week-end Portes Ouvertes has seen tens of thousands of visitors and the tradition of the open house was copied to other chateaux in France. This tradition has grown so much that it became a challenge to pickthe best chateaux to visit during that weekend.

Sixty three châteaux (Château Clarke will eventually not be participating in the open house weekend) from eight different AOC (appellation d’origine contrôléewill participate in the Portes Ouvertes weekend:  MEDOC, HAUT MEDOC NORD, PAUILLAC, SAINT ESTEPHE,  SAINT JULIEN, LISTRAC, MOULIS, MARGAUX. The AOC is the French certification for geographical indications for agricultural products such as wine and cheeses. To see what châteaux are participating in the event, see the full list and the map below.

Although visiting the cellars and wine tastings are still at the heart of the event, today the various chateaux try to attract visitors with additional attractions such as the restaurant of the chateau, music, games, art expos and activities for kids. If you don’t have a specific chateaux in mind you can choose one according to the proposed activities . What follows is a listing of chateaux according to their proposed activities:

Fine dining

Wines are not the only product the Médoc region does well, it is also famous for some of its gastronomic specialties, such as: l’agneau de Pauillac (Pauillac lamb), l’entrecôte cuite aux sarments (entrecote cooked with vine shoots), les chocolats de Mademoiselle de Margaux and more. In addition to in house restaurants, some of the chateaux offer gourmet markets, food trucks and bars. So, besides tasting great wine you are guaranteed to have a great culinary experience.

See the plan of the participating ChâteauxSaint-Hilaire – Saint-Christoly – Chantelys – Castera – Tour des Termes –Tronquoy Lalande – St-Estèphe – Le Crock – La Rose Pauillac – Julia – Hourtin Ducasse – Cassana – La Tour Carnet – Lanessan – Lauga –Lamothe Bergeron – Malescasse – Reverdi – Baudan – Vignerons associés Grand Listrac – Fonréaud – Chasse Spleen – Meyre – Bellevue de Tayac  – Haut-Breton Larigaudière – Ferrière – Lascombes – Marquis de Terme –  Prieuré Lichine – Desmirail – Dauzac – Larrieu-Terrefort – Belle-Vue – Clos la Bohème –  Maucamps – Paloumey – Agassac – Ségur – Saint Ahon – Taillan

chateaux desmiral

Art in the Chateaux

Some of the châteaux will host exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and photography of both local and international artists.

in Châteaux Saint Hilaire, for example, two Medoc artists will present their aquarelle paintings  and photographs. Châteaux Lanessan will give visitors the opportunity to see the family’s carriage collection, dated to the 19th century. And in Châteaux Castera, one of the most ancient chateaux of the region, you could see the permanent sculpture exposition “Les bouteilles de vincent libecq”. Follow the list of the participating chateaux to see the kind of art  on display.

castera chateaux
photo by: castera chateaux

See the plan of the participating ChâteauxSaint-Hilaire – La Tour de By – Saint-Christoly – Chantelys – Castera – Tour des Termes – Tour Sieujean – Lanessan – Moulin Rouge – Granins Grand Poujeaux – Chasse Spleen – Bellevue de Tayac – Clos La Bohème – Cantemerle – Paloumey – Ségur – Saint Ahon – Magnol

Visiting with kids

Many people take the chance to  make the chateaux visit a family trip, and rightly so as kids can appreciate the charming chateaux and their gardens.  Nonetheless, having to look after your little kids while wine tasting can definitely undermine the experience. That is why some of the chateaux propose activities to entertain your kids while you are tasting wine.

For example: Château Lamothe Bergeron will hold creative workshops as well as grape juice tasting for kids,  Château Hourtin-Ducasse will entertain your kids with activities like coloring, ping pong and comics; and Château Ségur  will hold an egg hunt and a mask coloring workshop.

See the plan of the participating ChâteauxSaint-Hilaire – Saint-Christoly – Livran – Lilian-Ladouys – Julia– Hourtin-Ducasse – Lanessan – Lamothe Bergeron – Fonréaud – Haut-Breton Larigaudière – Marquis de Terme – Prieuré Lichine – Clos La Bohème – Paloumey – Agassac – Ségur – Saint Ahon – du Taillan – Magnol

 

Getting to know the wine world

The world of wine is a huge body  of knowledge and many of the châteaux would like to see you experience more than just wine tasting. Some of them organize workshops and activities revolving around the production of wine. Those can come in the form of a demonstration of the different tractors they use (Château Maucamps), discovering your sensors in blind wine tasting (Château Ségur), a vines workshop (Château Chantelys) and more.

See the plan of the participating ChâteauxChantelys – Lilian-Ladouys – Hourtin-Ducasse – Lamothe Bergeron – Haut-Breton Larigaudière – Prieuré Lichine – La Tour de Bessan – Dauzac – Maucamps – Paloumey – Ségur – Saint Ahon

A Map of all the Châteaux participation in the Portes ouvertes weekend:

 

Most of the Chateaux require prior reservation to the wine tasting and cellar tours, so if you found a chateaux you would like to discover this weekend, hurry up and make a reservation by email or phone. All the details, including the address, the activities proposed, the hours and the contact details appear in the link of the participating chateaux above. For more info, go to the site of the event.

Enjoy your glass of wine and the official beginning of Spring in the region!