Ah, Bordeaux...you're one of several meccas for wine lovers and you did not disappoint. Two-thirds of the reason I booked a flight to Toulouse, aside from the low cost, was to go on a wine tasting tour with Bordovino in nearby Bordeaux. Bordeaux is one of the most famous and oldest wine-growing regions in the world and is full of delicious wine and gorgeous tasting rooms usually set in some magnificent castle or chateau. Early Sunday morning, I hopped on a train that passed through the French countryside and adorable old farmhouses and churches, which made the early start time worth it. After a yummy lunch at Comptoir of crab ravioli with green apple and wasabi cream and wild prawns with shitaki mushrooms and asparagus, it was time to meet up with my fellow wine lovers to head off on the tour.
I'm one of those rare people that has little interest in visiting France...or more specifically, Paris. To me, Paris seems very touristy and over-hyped. I know I'll eventually go since I'm so close to it, but it's way down on my list of "must-see" places in Europe. But, when I had a holiday weekend and found a $40 round-trip flight from Madrid to Toulouse (yay budget airlines!), I decided to take a baby step into France...or at least into southern France...and check it out. It was mostly an excuse to also take a day trip from Toulouse to the nearby Bordeaux region to spend a day on a wine tasting trip.
I had the week from hell leading up to the trip (cue dead laptop, among other things) and had zero time to do any research on Toulouse. All I knew was that it is the fourth largest city in France and is known as la Ville Rose (or, "the Pink City") due to the architecture being made of pinkish hued terracotta bricks. Because I had a 6am flight (and am a night owl), I foolishly decided to stay up all night rather than get up at 3am to head to the airport, which turned out to be a big mistake. I arrived in Toulouse before 8am, checked into my room, and immediately fell asleep until lunchtime missing out on some key sightseeing time. Once I woke up, and with no real plan (which is my favorite way to see a new city), I set off to explore Toulouse.