04 Sep Monday in France; Saint James Bouliac and Rail Europe to the Rescue
Hotel Saint James – Bouliac outdoor patio
Monday morning came around way too early for my liking, but we were eager to board our train from Montparnasse to Bordeaux. With our Rail Europe E-Ticket Confirmations in hand, we made our way to the station ready for an adventure. I knew I had some writing to do before checking into another terrific Relais & Chateaux property, the Hotel Saint James Bouliac but Rail Europe was there to the rescue. Our seats in class 1 had ample room for me to spread out and power outlets galore for my various devices. It made for a productive and comfortable ride!
Our arrival in Bordeaux St-Jean was on time and we proceeded to head into the center of town to meet our lovely guide Caroline at the Office of Tourisme. Caroline was energetic and enthusiastic about her adopted hometown and provided our small private group with an excellent overview of the city. Highlights included the fountains at Place des Quinconces’, Cathedral Saint-André de Bordeaux and the Opéra National de Bordeaux.
It is always fun to see what decorations are donning the façade of fun bistro Michel (15 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges, 33000 Bordeaux). The last time I was in town it was after Christmas and the homage to Noel was still visible.
Another Saint James (we stayed in the one in Paris the previous Saturday and Sunday) was in our future as we headed to Hotel Saint James in Bouliac (3 place Camille Hostein, 33270 BOULIAC). A modern lodge of distinction, the Saint James Bouliac is not only a hotel, but home to an extraordinary cooking school (Côté Cours) as well.
The main structure, once a farmhouse, is reminiscent of old tobacco farms. The architect’s goal was to create luxury accommodations that blend into the village well and take advantage of the vineyard landscape. Each room is bathed in natural light due to the abundance of large glass windows and doors incorporated into the design.
The Saint James’ commitment to the arts is huge! Currently, the hotel is hosting a rather large exhibition of the works of Jofo. Not only are his works in the public spaces, but some smaller pieces are inside the rooms as well.
Mr. Weekend In Paris and I enjoyed our contemporary suite overlooking the vineyards on one side and the pool and terraces on the other. Blackout shades were provided, but with twinkling views of Bordeaux across the river to look at, we opted to keep them open all night.
The refreshing pool sits on the plateau of the hill and it’s privacy is courtesy of the thriving vines chock full of luscious bunches of white grapes and their hearty green leaves.
Father Tucker’s room had a wonderful patio just in front of the vines; a meditative area perfect for him to celebrate an outdoor mass for us all. We knew it was special as the church bells in our backdrop began to ring during the service at all the right times. I truly felt one with nature and with God.
The three different levels of garden patios gave us choices of views and meant that we could be outside with other guests without feeling crowded. We sipped on an evening champagne cocktail and nibbled on adorable appetizers set atop a faux garden that were not as they seemed. The cherry tomato was candied on the outside providing an unexpected sweetness and crunch to the mini caprese salad.
The meal continued inside in the contemporary but elegant dining room where the chef delighted us with colorful and delicious food. Of course, we loved the extensive wine list and ordered a wonderful bottle from Saint-Emilion. We hated for the meal to end!
Thank you to the Bordeaux Tourism Office for the complimentary private tour, to Rail Europe for providing my transportation to Bordeaux via train and to the Hotel Saint James in Bouliac for the hospitality and private cooking class. It was certainly a Monday to remember!
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