I was holidaying recently in the south of France, so I took the opportunity to do a wine tasting tour in the Saint Emilion region while I was staying in Bordeaux. The area is the most prestigious and exclusive for wine making, but with over 800 châteaux, and its own class superiority system, I hadn’t a clue where to start! I signed up for one of the top rated tours on TripAdvisor, with the hope they would show us a good time as well as some fine wines, but also some good photo opportunities for wedding venue inspo.
The tour consisted of 2 châteaux visits, a visit to a specialist wine sommelier at his atelier-come-museum-come-shop, and a short tour of the quaint village of Saint Emilion – including wine tastings at each different part. I’m always so inspired by travelling, and can usually manage to put a wedding spin on most things, but I didn’t have to angle much here! The wine tastings certainly helped romanticise the picturesque villages, vineyards and châteaux, but even those with little imagination would be able to see the fairy tale beauty of this charming area surrounding Bordeaux. The whole tour was totally picture perfect, and would make the most utterly stunning wedding setting.
With beautiful vineyard backdrops and the best red wine on tap, what more could you want from a venue? The added bonus is fabulous local produce for your wedding feast (think rustic bread, rich cheeses, cured ham and boeuf et frites), and a wine tour thrown in for your guests while you’re getting your photos done.
The first visit was Château de Pressac, a grand 600-year-old property bought in 1997 by Jean Francois Quenin, the former owner of Darty (one of Europe’s largest electrical retailers). It was the perfect introduction on our tour, and we were all completely in awe. Despite portraying the image of a sleepy chateau I have no doubt this is a slick operation – the vineyard produces over 12,000 case of wine a year, and we weren’t allowed anywhere near touching distance of the grapes.
Visits: Can be arranged by appointment only.
The second visit was on a much smaller scale, and family owned and run. Actually, the whole operation was run by one man who packed in his day job as a lawyer in Paris to run his chateau in the south and learn about wine. This was a much more intimate property, but no less stunning in its own way. Despite the grounds being much more modest (compared to Château de Pressac, but still about 20 times the size of my tiny one bed flat in London), there would still be ample room to hold an intimate wedding.
Visits: Chateau Saint-Esprit is one of the few Grand Cru de Saint Emilion châteaux to be open every day without appointment.
These are just examples of two châteaux that inspired me during my time day dreaming and drinking wine in the south of France, but with over 800 in the Saint Emilion region alone (the prettiest region in the whole of France in my opinion), you won’t be short on options. Just brush up on your French before your start negotiating for a wedding – none advertise weddings, but I’ve heard on the grapevine (no pun intended!) that it does happen. You may have to buy a few dozen cases of wine first though!
If a destination wedding isn’t your thing, why not book for your honeymoon? This would make the ideal honeymoon for foodies, anyone who loves cheese, anyone who loves wine, or just anyone who would like to be romanced.
I went to Bordeaux with Easyjet from London Luton for £127 one way at the end of July. I stayed in a duplex apartment for 4 nights (based on 2 people sharing) for £252 via Housetrip. I did the Famous Monk Tour in Saint Emilion with Rustic Vines at €89 pp.
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