Local Knowledge: Bordeaux

Jérôme Tourbier, winemaker and hotelier, shares his local knowledge of Bordeaux, France.

I fell in love with Bordeaux and my future wife, Alice, when I moved here from Paris to study winemaking and management. My grandfather was a waiter at the famed Café de Flore in Paris, and his influence meant I was already passionate about wine and hospitality. When I married Alice, I also married her family estate, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a Bordeaux grand cru founded in 1365.

The city’s wine bars are marvellous, and my favourite is L’Univerre, with its contemporary look and exhaustive wine list – mostly Bordeaux but tremendous wines from other regions in France, too.

For buying wine L’Intendant is amazing, the biggest wine merchant in Bordeaux, with millions of bottles in its cellars. The shop is in a hôtel particulier from the same era as the Grand Theatre over the road, and customers ascend a 12-metre spiral staircase lined with thousands of bottles of the absolute best of Bordeaux.

Few people know about the treasures to be found in the tiny antique shops in the Saint Michel area. This is where we sourced much of the furniture for our hotel.

Don’t miss the new Cité du Vin, a unique cultural institution where the story of wine comes to life through an immersive, multi-sensory approach. It really has the potential to change the way people experience their next glass of wine.

For lunch with business contacts I like Garopapilles, which has only 20 seats. Wine is the focus. The dishes are created to suit the fabulous wine menu.

We love celebrating with friends at Hortense, a fish and oyster restaurant on Arcachon Bay, about an hour’s drive from Bordeaux.

A perfect country break but only 15 minutes’ drive south of the city is our estate Les Sources de Caudalie, a 61-room hotel and spa with three restaurants, surrounded by the vines of Château Smith Haut Lafitte. We built it in 1999, nine years after Alice’s family bought the estate. I particularly love swimming in our pool and seeing a work by French artist Mathilde de l’Ecotais on the bottom. Really magical.

Jérôme and Alice Tourbier manage Les Sources de Caudalie and Les Étangs de Corot at Ville-d’Avray, a luxury hotel on the outskirts of Paris.

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