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Life on a French vineyard

Listrac-Médoc is a wine-growing region in France, less than 40 kms from the city of Bordeaux. The landscape is simply stunning: lush and green, dominated by vineyards and populated with the most spectacular chateaux.

We stayed in a beautiful guesthouse on the site of a wine-producing estate: Les Cinq Sens du Chateau Mayne Laland. If you’re looking for peace and tranquility, then this is the place for you. It is located about 4kms from the nearest town so a car is a necessity. We were in heaven upon arrival. There was not a sound to be heard with the exception of bird song and a cacophony of crickets. The guesthouse itself is set on stunning grounds: each room opens out onto the garden and has a table and chairs for you to sit and while away the hours reading, writing, contemplating... Whatever floats your boat. 

As you can see, the guesthouse is so charming and typically French with its pale stone walls and shuttered doors and windows. There is also an outdoor swimming pool with loungers for guests to enjoy, and horses in the nearby field. The hospitable owner gave us a bottle of wine from his vineyard to enjoy. The weather was warm and we had nowhere to be and nothing to do but sip our wine and feel very content with our lot. Simple pleasures and all that.

Over the coming days we hired bikes and cycled around the vineyards in the area: Margaux is a short cycle from Listrac-Médoc and a bike is the perfect way to explore this lovely countryside. Also means you can sample a glass or two of the local produce as you make your way around. The roads are practically devoid of cars, even in July which was surprising. 

But fear not: there are some fantastic places to eat in the vicinity of the guesthouse. Our favourite was La Boule d’Or in Moulis-en-Médoc. We noticed it on our travels one day and found it difficult to get a table, even midweek, despite the fact the town is tiny and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It was filled with locals, always a good sign, so they managed to squeeze us in on one of the evenings. We loved it. We had a table outside on the terrace, and their three-course menu was to die for. I’d highly recommend the scallops and the chocolate fondant. And of course the local Médoc wines are divine. The staff were welcoming and friendly and the atmosphere was buzzing with conversation. We spent a blissful evening here and would highly recommend to anyone staying in the area. Booking is a must.

It’s a very sleepy part of France which may not be everyone’s cup of tea but we loved it. Bear in mind the three-hour siestas during the day where absolutely everything shuts down and the early closing of most establishments in the evening which can be a little frustrating, but once you get into the rhythm of life in this part of France, you’ll enjoy all it has to offer. 

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