St Emilion – Day 1

After picking up Jan and Ken at the airport, we picked up our rental car from Avis (thank you UNIGLOBE for finding such a great deal) and off we went.  It’s a short drive of about 50 minutes and we have rented a 2 bedroom apartment right in the heart of St Emilion.  The trick is trying to drive through this medieval town to get to it.  Our GPS was of little use and after several attempts and driving the wrong way down a one way street, we got to within a block of it.  Park the car and walk!

The apartment was booked through Airbnb, the first time we have used this site and all worked out well.  It is a funky apartment over an Art Gallery and the location is perfect, right in the middle of St Emilion, exactly where we wanted to be.

This is the view right out our window…

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After a quick unpack, we are off to dinner at the restaurant Le Tertre and meet up with our good friends and fellow travellers Don, Diane, Pat and Shiela.  A fantastic meal and an extensive wine list accompanied with great fellowship made for a very memorable evening.  A little jet lag meant for an early night to get ready for tomorrow’s exploring!

 

Ed’s Journey to France, 2016

Welcome to the first blog posting of this amazing trip to France which will cover Bordeaux and more specifically, St. Emilion; a boat trip down the Midi Canal and finally, Burgundy!  With my experience as a travel agent, I will try to give useful advice, highlight some must do’s and add some interesting photos.  As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Our journey starts uneventfully with a connector from Saskatoon to Calgary with WestJet where we will pick up our British Airways flight.  We have enough points to fly Business Class from Calgary to Bordeaux.  About twice a year, BA runs a program that allows you to convert Avion points (my points program of choice) to BA Avios points at 1.5 times the value.  So converting 50,000 Avionics points gives me 75,000 Avios points, etc.  This really allows us to fly more Business Class than we normally could.

The rather long wait in Calgary is mitigated by being able to enjoy  Lounge privileges!  So nice to wait in comfort and be told when they are boarding.  The service in BA’s Business class cabin is really very good and we enjoy the amenities on our 8 hour flight to London.  In particular, the lie flat seats allow us to sleep on the flight, helping to reduce any jet lag.

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The only problem we had with this particular part of the trip was that we landed at London Heathrow and for the best option to Bordeaux, we needed to fly out of London Gatwick, about an hour away.  We used the services of Heathrow-Gatwick Transfers.  The cost was 55GBP but we had a private car that was like new, the driver was polite and well dressed plus he was right on time.  I would highly recommend them for anyone needing a car service.

We checked in and had a 6 hour wait until our flight but again, because we were in Business Class, we had access to a private lounge.  The quiet, comfortable atmosphere with good food, drink and wifi made the time pass quickly.

After a short 90 minute flight, we arrive in Bordeaux.  Since we are picking up our friends Ken and Jan the next day at the airport, we decide to stay at an airport hotel.  Thanks to our good friends at UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel, we score a great rate of $65CAD at the Campanile Bordeaux Ouest Merignac Airport.  The only problem we have was the taxi…and I know better.  As the hotel is fairly close to the airport, the taxi driver doesn’t turn on the metre and charges us a flat rate of 20 Euro after our 5 minute ride.  You should always ask how much the taxi will be before jumping in!

Not a big deal and I don’t begrudge the driver for giving up a better fare to take us to the hotel. We have arrived safely and now it is time for some shuteye.  Thanks for following along!