Oysters, sand & wine

The short breaks are just as important as the long ones. Never under-estimate the re-set power of just one night away!
We did just that last weekend, our first break since our Honeymoon in September- can you believe it! That’s what happens when you’re knee deep in IVF and trying to buy and sell houses!  Seeing as we were in serious need of a little ‘couple headspace’ we tacked a night in the Médoc wine region on to our Bordeaux trip to see the inlaws.

An hours drive west from Bordeaux we found ourselves in Cap Ferret for lunch at L’escale, a perfectly beachy seafood restaurant which was novel coming from the wintery grey of London. The restaurant is sat behind a small wall, looking out onto the view across the Arcachon Bay and the enormous Dune du Pilat, which I am reliably informed by the husband is Europe’s tallest sand dune!
L’escale serves fish so fresh and simple that you’re totally happy to have a single piece of grilled cod on your plate (plus chips and a glass of rose to the side!).
After we took a walk along Belisaire Pier where you can see a seabed covered in sticks for oyster farming, something I’ve never seen before or really thought about as a process. But there you are – sticks and little seaweed covered beds for the oysters.
The surrounding streets are ridiculously picturesque full of shops, beach houses, and cafes. A little train runs up and down the boutiques full of baskets, scarves and those amazing vintage finds you’ll only get in a French village.
We left the next day and headed East to the red wine region of Médoc along the banks of the Gironde estuary. If it was down to me I would have picked a white region – it is very much the husband that loves the red – it was still just as spacious and beautiful either way.
I would tell you about the hotel but we spent about half an hour discussing how the room could be better. We also got the breakfast time wrong so missed out totally and ended up with just a (very small) coffee and a croissant. Suffice to say it’s probably not going to make the cut.  Also, the one place I would have taken pictures I was too busy looking at the view. The estuary and it’s evening swallows had me hooked. I spent a good hour spotting beavers with a hot tea in my hand and a dressing gown on that didn’t have a pocket big enough for a camera. It did have it’s plus points, I just didn’t manage to capture them.
Instead, we have this picture of me taken along the route to lunch when we stopped to look at this stunning ‘water treescape’. I can assure you, even though I look grumpy with my trusty BRF (B*tch resting face) I was actually in an alright mood! Note to self – perfect a smile…

I can tell you more about Cafe Lavinal in Bages. We stopped here for lunch after a long drive through winding vineyards with majestic houses at every turn, all buttery stone, turrets, long high windows and grey slate roofs. Probably all with wine cellars I’d be jealous of too!
By the time we got to Cafe Lavinal we were starving and the warmth and bustle of the restaurant, with it’s dark wood and blue tiled floor was the perfect stop off. We listened to the animated hubbub and chicking of glasses, I managed to ask the waiter where to toilets were in French (I really need to get back on my Rosetta Stone!) and had the Plat-du-jour, luckily something I can say with ease. The ‘plate of the day’ turned out to be hake with a mint bearnaise and broccoli. I am afraid this is something else I have no pictures off – we were far too hungry.
The flight home only took an hour which is three times faster than the journey to my parents by car and because we left early in the morning and flew back late at night flights were CHEAP. It’s def one to keep in mine when you need a little RnR somewhere simply ‘different’.

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