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If you want to discover the Medoc area, one of France’s most famous wine routes, this is an excellent time for a visit.  On June 5-6, the Medoc wine region 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 many of the wineries of the Médoc region and taste a lot of wine.

If you want to discover this beautiful region beyond the wine, you can also read my article about a weekend in the Medoc region where I talk about beaches, beautiful villages, wineries, and all the other wonders of this part of Gironde.

Winery in Medoc, Bordeaux

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 80 wine châteaux from eight different AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) usually 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.

While wine is still at the heart of the event, today the various chateaux try to attract visitors with additional activities such as music, 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. Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the exhibitions displayed in every château.

Visiting with kids

Some châteaux try to make it a family-friendly event by proposing activities to entertain your kids while you are tasting 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.

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:

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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!