Messina Hof VIP Bordeaux Cruise with AmaWaterways Travel Tips, August 2021
by Paul Vincent Bonarrigo, Co-Founder of Messina Hof Wine Cellars, Inc.
Bordeaux, France, was the first post Covid wine trip for our Messina Hof VIPs. It was exciting and anxious at the same time. It was wonderful to be traveling again and concerning because we did not know what COVID issues we would face.
Fortunately, AmaWaterways was the perfect partner for the adventure. The ship was clean and well-cared for; the staff was professional and accommodating; all attractions planned were open. They were so helpful in navigating the health rules of France. It was an amazing trip, and we were so glad we went.
If you get a chance to go, here are some tips from our travel.
- Check requirements for travel to the countries of destination. Rules change frequently. QR code Health passes are currently required in France. In addition, each country’s rules can be different. For instance, if you fly through Germany to get to France, you need to check on the rules for both countries.
- Make sure you are vaccinated as you must show proof to go to any restaurant, bar, or attraction.
- Go a couple of days in advance to get a feel for Bordeaux. We stayed at Best Western Grand Hotel Francais, 12 rue du Temple. It was comfortable and centrally located.
- Go for a tasting at Le Bar a Vin at Maison du Vin. Housed in the headquarters of the Bordeaux Wine Council, tastings of rotating wine selections are led by passionate sommeliers.
- This became a fun place to gather for wine and conversation. It is in the middle of town near the Opera House square.
- You can only get wine by the glass. There are no bottle sales.
- We had an experience of tasting a Chateau de Pressac and really enjoyed it but could not find it anywhere for sale. Imagine our surprise to realize that one of the first excursions on our AmaWaterways cruise was a tour of Chateau de Pressac!
- Get the tram pass and go on excursion on each line. It will take you to every part of Bordeaux. You can discover the areas where you want to explore more.
- On Tuesday and Thursday mornings there is a great market at St. Michel.
- Be sure to shop St. Catherine Street. It is full of wonderful shops.
- The hippodrome offered more shopping opportunities.
- Cite’ du Vin is a fabulous interactive wine museum. Allow at least four hours to really experience everything. Afterwards, go the top of the building where you can have a wine tasting and see a 360-degree view of Bordeaux.
- Be sure to taste Canelés – a small French rum pastry.
P.S. If you love castles, plan to go on the post cruise tour to the Loire Valley!