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A picture of a building in the capitol square of Bordeaux.

Bonjour! This week I'll be taking you on a grape-fueled adventure through the heart of Bordeaux, France. My study abroad cohort and I uncorked the magic of Bordeaux, during our overnight excursion there with our Art History professors. Not only did we learn the history of the wine city, but we even sat in on a crash course on the art and science of winemaking.

We left Toulouse early Friday morning, and we arrived in Bordeaux two hours later via train. When we arrived we quickly dropped off our luggage at the nice hotel and started touring the city while our professors took us to specific architectural sites and historic churches like the Grand Théâtre and the Cathédrale Saint-André. After a lunch break, we visited the Beaux-Arts Museum which houses one of the most outstanding public collections in France. It features amazing paintings, sculptures, drawings and other art objects, ranging from the 15th century to the present day. 

A picture of me admiring some portraits!
Admiring some portraits!

We then had some free time to explore the city which I found to be very different from Toulouse (both architecturally and vibe-wise) but reminded me of my hometown city, Washington D.C. We ended the day with a nice dinner provided by Dartmouth at a restaurant where one of the professor's son's joined us as well as four of his friends. I really enjoyed talking to French students who are around our age, and we ended up talking and dining for almost three hours!

The next day, one of the highlights of our trip was definitely a visit to the City of Wine Museum. The museum has a very modern twist because you're handed an audio headset and touch screen to walk around with that provides an audio guide of the different exhibits. They chronicled the history of winemaking in Bordeaux, from the first vineyards to the modern innovations that shape the industry today. I loved how interactive many of the exhibits were. There were many simulations for the wine making process like an exhibit where we could "stomp" on grapes and another where we could smell the scents that go into different wines. 

A picture of me in the wine tasting exhibit at the museum.
The wine tasting exhibit!

However, our thirst for knowledge didn't end with the exhibits. Afterwards, we attended a wine class. It was led by a knowledgeable sommelier, who expanded our understanding of wine culture and had us try three different wines; dry white and red wines and a sweet white wine (my favorite). The class covered not only the basics of winemaking but also the nuances of wine etiquette. We learned the delicate art of swirling and smelling the wine, discovering how these rituals enhance the tasting experience. The sommelier even shared the interesting fact that about 20 bottles of wine from Bordeaux are drunk every second around the world!

Bordeaux is a city that effortlessly blends tradition with innovation, history with modernity. As the excursion came to an end, we left with many memories and a newfound appreciation for the artistry behind each bottle of wine. As the French say, santé!

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