Bordeaux, Aquitaine, Gironde and the Dordogne –
Golf, Gourmet Meals, Sightseeing and Wine Tasting
Too many UK travellers the Bordeaux, Aquitaine, Gironde and Dordogne regions means fine quality wines and wonderful scenery. Indeed the British love for the Dordogne region has resulted in more living there than on the Costa del Sol. What most people don’t realise is these regions have an up and coming reputation for quality golf. Quality Golf Destinations Managing Director Neil Adams spent time re-acquainting himself with the region (and its wine) and also trying out the golf on offer at Chateau des Vigiers. This region is the perfect destination for a vacation taken in between April and October.
To visit the regions of Bordeaux, Aquitaine and the Dordogne you have two main choices. You can drive, using ferry crossings from Portsmouth to St. Malo/ Caen (most direct route downFrance), or you can use the cross channel services and head down from there. The drive from St. Malo/ Caen takes around 6 hours and the Auto routes are very good, (beware of speed traps and tolls). You can also fly into Bordeaux or Bergerac and hire a car from either.
Bordeaux is the sixth largest city in France with a population of over 250,000. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River. Bordeaux is the world’s major wine industry capital. It is home to the world’s main wine fair, Vinexpo, while the wine economy in the metro area moves 14.5 billion Euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the eighth century.
Bordeaux is a truly magnificent city with fantastic architecture and lots of café’s, restaurant and bars along the river side.
Bergerac is a commune and a sub-prefecture of the Dordogne department in south-westernFrance. With a population of around 30,000, Bergerac is most people’s idea of a regional French town. It is the centre of a very distinguished wine region and some of the most famous vineyards in France. These include: Bergerac, Côtes-de-Bergerac, Côtes de Montravel, Haut-Montravel, Saussignac, Monbazillac, Pécharmant and Rosette.
Château des Vigiers
Dating back to 1597, Château des Vigiers is an internationally renowned Hotel, Golf & Country Club situated in the Dordogne, South West France, just 20 minutes west of Bergerac Airport and an hour east of Bordeaux. Set in 450 acres of stunning countryside, in the heart of the wine districts of the Dordogne, Château des Vigiers offers an exceptional place in which to unwind and relax.
Having seen the web-site, www.vigiers.com I was really looking forward to visiting this golf complex set around a French Château. I flew from Birmingham to Bordeaux (really simple transfer of less than 2 hours), picking up my hire car and remembering to drive on the right side of the road! I arrived in Château des Vigiers in little over an hour and its pictures don’t lie. The Château looks stunning and the golf course holes that surround it just add to the splendour.
The Château forms the centrepiece of a spectacular 27 hole golf course designed by Donald Steel who is considered one of the very best “natural” golf course architects. The original 18 hole golf course opened in 1991 and is set amidst plum orchards, oak woods, lakes and vineyards. In 2008 a further 9 hole course was opened. It was also created by Donald Steel and was designed to integrate beautifully into the existing course. The result was three 9 hole loops which now combine to form three different 18 hole combinations. The three courses are the Valley, Lakes and Vines, all about the same length. I played the Valley and the Vines and had a tour of the Lakes course with the Golf Professional, Matthew Storm, who also showed me around the spacious practice facility and equally spacious pro shop.
My round was the usual mixed bag, but I consoled myself with the magnificent views and the prospect of a trip into Saint-Émilion later in the day!! Both courses were sufficiently tough off the back tees to challenge the best golfers but had generous fairways to suit us normal human beings.
The four star accommodation at Château des Vigiers is spread over three unique buildings. The historic Château was restored to its former glory in 1992 and offers 25 individually decorated rooms. “Les Dependances”, created in 1995, uses traditional materials and has a total of 22 rooms and suites. The “Relais des Vigiers”, built to strict “eco friendly” standards, offers 40 spacious rooms which were designed with golfers and families in mind. There are 3 restaurants on-site, plus a wonderful terrace by the club house that overlooks the Château and the closing holes on the Lakes & Vines courses.
I stayed in a room in the Relais and it was very comfortable and provided all the facilities to make my stay very welcoming.
The rooms in the main Château were everything the publicity said about them, really wonderful.
The Wine Experience
Wine was always going to play an important part of this trip. So when offered the opportunity to tour St Émilion I just couldn’t say no. I have no idea how long the journey takes, (probably less than 40 minutes), as I was lost in the beauty of the vineyards, cornfields and something I was surprised to see, the tobacco fields. Apparently tobacco was one of the major crops around this region and although little production remains, the legacy for us all to see is the tall wooden buildings dotted around the landscape. These buildings are of course tobacco drying barns, (most gradually decaying but some preserved and being used for all manner of different things).
Saint-Émilion is one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux along with the Médoc, Gravesand Pomerol. With a population of less than 3,000 it is the quintessential French town. Saint-Émilion wine obviously dominates the whole town and it’s the only place I have seen where you can buy Saint-Émilion Gran Cru by the glass! (Well I had to try it as it would be rude not to) I did a tour of the vineyards by train and it was fascinating to see all the famous Château names previously only seen on expensive bottles back home.
The visit was sadly over all too quickly and armed with a couple of named Gran Cru bottles it was back to Château Vigiers for dinner in the restaurant in the Château.
Château Vigiers offers a number of packages that include gourmet dinners, tours of Saint-Émilion and Monbazillac, coupled with golf and accommodation (bed & breakfast). All packages are based on self-drive (car hire & flights can be included in our packages).
For our latest deals at Chateau Vigiers – please click here.