If I had to describe my stay at Les Sources de Caudalie in one word: idyllic.
But there’s also amazing, peaceful, beautiful, enchanting, picturesque and I-didn’t-want-to-leave.
If a petit romantic (ooh another adjective for you there) weekend away is something you want to surprise the other half with - or if you just fancy a completely magical break away solo/with friends - then read on pals, as this post’s a must read.
Or, simply, if you fancy a snoop around a Marie-Antoniette world, then this is for you too.
Les Sources de Caudalie - a stunning French hotel set within the beautiful grounds of a vine estate in Bordeaux. A postcard ready village in which the moment you arrive you are instantly soothed, relaxed and full of excitement*.
*Could be to do with the wine. Could be to do with the Vinothérapie spa.
And yes - the name might ring a bell to those with an extensive beauty cabinet, it’s also the birthplace of Caudalie whose grape-based beauty products are world-famous. Their Beauty Elixir will never not be within my grips.
A place that you can rest your head in between eating like a King, spa’ing like a Queen and… er… drinking like a Prince?
First things first, getting to Bordeaux and Les Sources de Caudalie. Less than a 2 hour flight from London and around a 30 minute French-speaking-only cab drive away - meaning you can be in Bordeaux just in time for a leisurely afternoon lunch and, more importantly, an acceptable drinking time regardless of the day.
My travel for this trip was kindly provided by Original Travel who are your one-stop travel shop. They will literally do all your holiday organisation and prep for you so that all you need do is pack, turn up the airport with passport in hand and fly. They not only offer the most dream-inducing itineraries to destinations across the world (see just some of the trips they offer you here) but can also tailor-make an itinerary, if you want a more personal-to-you experience. Now, I didn’t experience one of Original Travel’s bespoke itineraries as such but I’ve spent plenty of time stalking their website and drooling over some of their trips to make the call that these guys know what they’re talking about and if you fancy a fuss-free life (they even arrange airport transfers and travel throughout the trip which I think is great!) then I really think you should give them a look in.
For something like this trip in question - i.e a long weekend in Bordeaux and Versailles, with two nights at Les Sources de Caudalie and one night at Les Etangs de Corot - prices start from £1,280 per person. And this includes an international flight to Bordeaux, transfers and Eurostar back to London too.
Les Sources de Caudalie has 60 rooms, with 21 being suites. For the ultimate romantics, book the honeymoon suite or for your own damsel without the distress scene, stay in Le Pieonnier - a towered, two floor suite that truly feels like a Disney Princess’ abode.
There’s also plenty of facilities to keep you entertained. For starters, you need to wander the property thoroughly at least twice to take it all in, decide on your favourite spots and photograph them till you’ve exhausted the spot and move on.
There’s three pools and a hot tub for when things get a little stressful and you need some cooling off. The outdoor pool - my favourite - located by the spa provides a lovely tanning opportunity in the pouring French sun - though for this one you need to have a spa booking, so I guess you’ll just have to book in that facial after all. The spa itself is a beautiful retreat with a zen like feel all around it - you’ll need extra time before and after your treatment to lounge around like a lizard.
All this spa’ing around is hungry and thirsty work, but thankfully LSdC has you covered on both fronts.
For dining, you have three restaurants at your disposal. The two-Michelin starred La Grand’Vigne for fine-dining course after course, La Table du Lavoir for a more informal affair in an almost alpine looking setting or Rouge, for long wine-fuelled brunches and the sort.
To accompany your meal, pick some fine glasses of grapes from Château Smith Haut Lafitte winery, ideally located just a stumble away. During the day, take a tour of the estate and get well acquainted with its many barrels (and make sure you see the secret cellar - it’s amazing!).
Finally, if this sounds like your kinda place and you’re thinking about getting a big group together for that special occasion, then you absolutely must book le Château du Thil. A five minutes' drive away (or 10 minute cycle on the hotel’s complimentary bikes), this château is available to book exclusively and it is all kinds of French fabulous suitable entirely for a Marie-Antoniette style soirée.
Two days at Les Souces de Caudalie was certainly not enough, but it was all I was given so I took it greedily with both hands and held on till the very last second.
Thankfully, reality was still a day away so it made the leaving that bit less painful.
From Bordeaux, I took a train into Paris, followed shortly upon arrival into the station by a 20 minute or so journey out of the city to Versailles.
Feeling a million miles away from the capital, Les Etangs de Corot is located within a fairytale setting which inspired artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s paintings. A short stroll from the hotel will lead you to a beautiful pond surrounded by woodland which has inspired many an Impressionist painting.
The hotel itself is small, with 40 rooms and 3 suites. Each room is named after an artist who spent time in Ville-d’Avray and each has its own unique design and feel. The hotel invites guests to relax and unwind; whether that’s through a treatment in their Caudalie spa or through a tasting journey at their one Michelin-starred Le Corot Restaurant.
My visit to Les Etangs de Corot was short but sweet. Before I knew it I was waking up with bags packed and being driven to Gare du Nord.
My French fairytale finally coming to a close, but what a wonderful short story it was.