Classy and Fabulous: An all girls weekend (Part I)
A girl should be two things: Classy and Fabulous –Coco Chanel
There is nothing better than taking a weekend to do nothing but explore new cities, drink good wine, and talk about anything and everything with your girls. I mean, I would choose no other amazing group of people to travel the countryside of France with that this group of girls.
We started our girls weekend traveling to St. Emilion. This small town is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is most known for its vineyards and Roman fortifications (also main reasons for our visit). We started our journey to St. Emilion on a rainy Thursday morning, and the whole journey took us about 6 hours (including connections). The amazing thing about traveling by train is that well the chairs are definitely more comfortable than planes and also that you can easily get to small towns such as St. Emilion. And it was absolutely a tiny town. When we arrived at the train station, there was no machine, no ticket booth, and basically no sign of life besides the other group of people that also got off the train at the same time as us.
We quickly realized that while this might be a top destination during the spring, summer, and fall months, but it’s pretty much a deserted ghost town in the winter. As we walked the cobblestone streets of this small town, we kept looking for refuge from the rain. We finally came upon what seemed to be the only open restaurant in town. A small space with a great view of the town right next to the office of tourism. The restaurant had great prices for wine, however, had very little to offer for food choices. Nevertheless, we sat there, enjoyed a nice glass of wine and ate a panini while discussing the intricacies of lace and white. Once the rain passed we headed over to the Office of Tourism (a great starting point in any visit to a new town!) to get map and general layout of the town. While we were there, we inquired about ascending the bell tower of the Monolithic church located across the Office of Tourism. The entrance is 1.50 euros to go all the way to the top and have one of the best views in town, so of course we had to do it! We started the journey upwards and once we got to the top, the all girl photoshoot ensued. It was all that was promised, a view of the town, a breathtaking view of the surrounding vineyards, and most of all a quite time to ponder, something we all needed after a hectic holiday season. I could picture this small town, in a hot summer day, filled with people looking for the perfect wine, looking for the perfect spot, for the perfect view. And here I was, with the perfect view, perhaps not with the perfect life, but definitely in the perfect moment, with the most perfect group of people.
After breathing in the fresh air from the top of the tower. We headed to the other side of the town (a 5 minute walk) to the King’s tower. While the tower was closed, we were able to admire the beauty of the tower and the juxtaposition of it against the smaller houses in the background. Of course we had a little photoshoot here as well, and then we wandered the streets looking for some macaroons (famous and unique to this region). We also made our way to some wine cellars for some good old wine tasting. Our first stop was a wine cellar called Maison Galhaud, which advertises a free peek at their wine caves and free tastings (of course we were all about that). My friends bought a bottle and then we started wandering the streets again, this time looking for a place to eat dinner. This proved to be an almost impossible feat in a town that takes a whole month off for vacationing. We did manage to stumble into a wine shop where the owner (an australian native) was able to not only point us in the right direction, but also sold us a magnificent bottle of the French equivalent to Port. We took out souvenirs, and headed to the small restaurant, Chai Pascal, he had described to us (thank God it was open!) and ordered away some food. We ate and drank and laughed, but mostly we were happy to just be there, with each other. Another glass of wine later, with empty plates in front of us, we started to call taxi companies. Now here is something very interesting to know as well: because St. Emilion is such a small town they do not really have taxis just sitting around. Most taxis come from the surrounding towns and thus you have to pay the fair from the town to St. Emilion and then to wherever you are going, which in our case, it was only a ten minute ride from where we were. Of course, all the taxis turned us down and we started to panic (we were a little tired, and in my case, I was “tangry”). We reached out to the woman that was hosting us for the night, and she offered to come and pick us up (win). Now the place that we stayed at was absolutely beautiful: it is a small vineyard 10 minutes from the town center. The name of the vineyard is La Gomerie and it is owned by a young couple, who live right next door. The location offers a beautiful view, great ambiance, individual bathrooms per room and an included breakfast. That night we stayed there we opened a bottle of wine, played some music, pulled out some nail polish, ate some treats and talked for hours. Our girls weekend was in full swing.