Snapshots from France | Bordeaux and Cognac

15430045672_84356a7495_cHappy Sunday from Kyoto ^-^

15243594379_7e96d08266_cI’ve been in Japan for the last week…though still have adventures to share from Krabi and Charleston (stay tuned :). For now, favorite bites from a quick trip to France.

15243802638_c60f911fe9_cBuckwheat, foie gras, and eggplant at Le Prince Noir in Bordeaux.

15243848497_4a1346473d_c…followed by local trout and brown butter…

15243848917_9fe682bc72_c…and celeriac and black truffles.

15407334436_3c03c91b18_cFor dessert, omelette á la norvégienne for two.

15427203781_bba777fb6c_cA tidy cube, flambéed with brandy and split tableside.

15243850277_5d51e7a897_cDefinitely putting this place on my need-to-return list.

15243754538_3b80decba4_cThe sweetest prawns and risotto at L’Atelier in Cognac…

15243817057_1f0dc28fa6_c…roast chicken with trumpet mushrooms at L’Yeuse.

15427168701_b05b85030f_cAnd Bordeaux poached pears with speculoos cream at Bistro de Claude.

P.S. Second photo from top: a wall of eau de vie in Cognac! Wish I had something like that at home ^-^

Cognac, France | Château de Bagnolet

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15243831817_8770931800_cShall we take a peek inside…

15243584669_f4194ea314_cChâteau de Bagnolet? ^-^

15430377025_40d9a15c0d_cYou can read more about the history here.

15243836477_33482758d3_cThe Château was purchased by the Hennessy family in 1840…

15243618049_632e07f85c_c…it was a gift from Auguste Hennessy to his wife, Irène d’Anthès.

15427192611_d890d60eae_cAnd today, the Château houses family and friends (much like Veuve Cliquot’s Hôtel du Marc).

15407328856_9d968b0b3c_cThere are 11 rooms…

15274150357_9cf5ed5d20_c…each one just a bit different from the other.

15243759658_3660798ab7_cThe dining room is my favorite room…

15243782248_a275069c1a_c…because that’s where you’ll find langoustines…

15430371575_a6daa733a5_c…and magret de canard with wild trumpet mushrooms…

15243827167_d3d7f1fdd9_c…and moelleux chaud oozing warm cognac-laced chocolate.

15243825777_b6ecea2716_cBreakfast is best enjoyed in the garden room…

15243778188_6062e22df6_c…with tea and croissants, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and yogurt.

15243784548_b01a3c9095_cThe estate covers over 100 hectares…

15429999142_725381fa2d_c…but I think it is most wonderful inside…

15243576569_aa6e668595_c…with a hot cup of tea and good book ^-^

Champagne, France | Hôtel du Marc: The Private Estate of Veuve Clicquot

A bit belated….

…but better late than never, no? 

The Veuve Clicquot cellars are located in Reims (a 45-minute TGV ride from Paris). It’s open to the public (and worth a visit if you’re in the area…make sure to stop by Le Jardin at Les Crayères afterwards for lunch). 

A 15-minute drive away from the champagne cellars is Hôtel du Marc, the label’s private estate.

Visits are by invitation only (though open to the public for one weekend each year) and I was lucky enough to take a peek inside the other month…

…come see!

Guests are greeted in the library room, which houses books from travels and tokens from past and current collaborations.

The name might say Hôtel, but it’s very much a private home (Madame Clicquot herself once lived here).

There are five guest rooms – one for each season of the year, and the fifth to represent harvest. 

How about this bathroom? Can you imagine bubble baths and company? Oh, the conversations!

The variation in color of the carpeting and walls leading up to the second floor emulate the three main grapes of Champagne: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, in addition to the chalky soils of the region. 

There are many mysterious halls and rooms to wander (include one that’s filled with curiosities)…

…and in the end, it’s all about the champagne. Ahhhh ^_^