Tag Archives: bordeaux

The Wine Bars of Bordeaux, Part I

Big Caveat: I have not yet been to every wine bar in Bordeaux. There is a wine bar on every corner, like Starbucks in Seattle, and (contrary to popular belief), I do go to school and don’t spend all my waking hours drinking wine (although I will admit that we do sometimes have wine at school).

These are three of the wine bars that I’ve found myself going back to, although there are still so many to discover!

  1. Quatre Coins du Vin: The first wine bar I went to, the very first day of classes in October, and the very first day that I knew I was going to love the people in my program. The concept is great: the wine-by-the-glass dispensers (so many of them in one room!) allow you to buy a taste, a half glass, or a full glass, so you can choose the kind of experience you want. Since they have 23 wines available for tasting, and we are (obviously) a group of wine geeks, we opted to taste. And oh, did we taste! From Argentina to South Africa to France, and even a Zinfandel from California, we tasted. The owners, Benjamin Bouet and Chloe Allano, are young, dynamic, love wine, and know their stuff. Would recommend to: anyone looking for a wide range of wines to try in one night. Wine nerds. 
  2. La Conserverie: So welcoming, and such a cozy atmosphere. The wine selection has a range of prices, and you can buy by the glass or grab a bottle from the shelf and drink it there for a small corkage fee. I have never had less than a stellar welcome there. The wine selection may not be huge, but it changes frequently, and I’ve had some really incredibly value wines. I’ve been here several times, both in a larger group and for a quiet drink. It doesn’t hurt that it’s on my favorite street in Bordeaux: Rue Notre Dame. Would recommend for: a glass of wine to unwind with friends after a long week, or date night (for wine nerds). 
  3. Verre O Vin: This is a quiet neighborhood joint that always seems to fill up just after I get there. This is the most versatile of the three, with an extensive list of wines by the bottles but also the cool wine-dispensing machines that make tasting so much fun! The walls are old stone, which is one of the things I love about France, that you can sit and have a drink in old buildings where people may or may not have been drinking wine for hundreds of years. They know their wine here, and can tell you something about every bottle. I’ve seen large parties here, as well as small groups of friends, and couples, so there really is something for everyone. Would recommend to: someone looking for a low-key evening, but who is also a wine nerd. 

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So, if you’re in Bordeaux, these are three not to miss, along with countless others (seriously, wine bars are the Starbucks of Bordeaux). If you have any suggestions for places to check out, let me know; I’m always on the lookout for somewhere new!


How to Apply to a French School

As you may have noticed, this blog has been on a very long hiatus as I’ve been figuring out where to go from here. And the answer has turned out to be…France!

In September, I will be headed back to Bordeaux for my third stay in France (after a study abroad in Paris and a year teaching English in Normandy), where I’ll be doing an MBA in wine marketing in the beautiful city (and wine destination!) of Bordeaux. The business school is INSEEC, and their Bordeaux campus offers a specific MBA in Wine Marketing. The program is two years, during which I’m hoping to learn a lot about French wines and wines from every region, travel as much as I can, and brush up on my French language skills.

Applying for a French school as an American is a process, and it helps to be very organized about it. The last two times I went to France, I was flying by the seat of my pants, getting on buses and hoping they were the right ones, learning as I went about French culture and etiquette. This time has been very different: checklists, schedules, paperwork, planning in advance.

If you’re thinking about going to school in France, here are the basic steps that I took to do it:

1. Before you apply directly to the French institution, you have to apply to CampusFrance, the branch of the French Embassy that facilitates international studies. Create a PASTEL account and start uploading all your documents: proof of previous studies, jobs, internships, language ability, etc.

2. Send a money order of $100 to CampusFrance for your application fee. This process has a lot of fees, and this is just the first. If people are interested, I’ll write a post on the cost of doing (and applying to!) a master’s program in France.

3. Once your money order has been received, you’ll get a CampusFrance representative to guide you through the process. I already had my application pretty much finished, but my rep was able to answer a few questions I had. Save both the receipt and the confirmation email. You’ll need these for the visa application.

4. Some French institutions are “connected”, and your CampusFrance application is your application to the university. Mine was “non-connected”, so I applied directly to the school, which meant another application form and essay questions.

5. I did a phone interview with my CampusFrance rep as well as a Skype interview with the business school.

6. If you get in, then the real fun begins! Send your acceptance letter to your CampusFrance rep, who will validate your acceptance in PASTEL and give you the go-ahead to apply to your visa! Save that email, too.

7. Time to start the visa application! For a French visa, you have to go in person to your nearest consulate, no sooner than 90 days, but at least 2-4 weeks before you leave. My closest consulate happens to be in San Francisco, so I will be making a whirlwind, one-night trip to SF this week. The consulate website will have a checklist of all the documents you’ll need for the visa application; bring them all, plus anything else that might seem useful.

8. Packing. My least favorite part, but I did a test run last week, and everything fits in a medium-sized suitcase, around 42 pounds, plus one box that I’ll have shipped!

This blog has been on my mind lately, and I’m hoping to revive it as a wine and travel blog. I started it as a way to focus my wine learning and my exploration of Walla Walla, and now it’s time for something new!


Photo by  www.travelbusy.com/gallery

All About Bordeaux: A Website

Wine Regions 1

Okay, I know we’ve already talked about Bordeaux, but I came across this beautiful website today, and I wanted to share it with all of you. It’s run by the Bordeaux Wine Counsel and is meant to provide a comprehensive introduction to Bordeaux wines. It has information on the different regions of Bordeaux, how to understand Bordeaux wines, how to taste and appreciate them, and where to buy them. My favorite part is this Bordeaux wine finder that’s rounded up a bunch of different Bordeaux wines from $10-55, and has links to where you can buy them. It makes me want to go back to Bordeaux!

I spent way too long poking around this site; it’s well organized, has lots of info, and is lovely in and of itself! 

Wine Regions: Bordeaux Style

Wine Regions 1

Okay, let’s talk about the most famous wine region of them all: Bordeaux. 

Where is it?

Bordeaux is a city and a surrounding wine region in the Southwest of France that extends out to the Atlantic Ocean. There are lots of sub-regions for wine within the region of Bordeaux, so it can get a little confusing. Here is a nice map to help you get an idea of where it is:

Based upon Image:Gironde_map_blank.svg created by Sting

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