Are you planning a visit to the Bordeaux region of France? If so, one of the first decisions you must make is what kind of vacation you hope to enjoy. Bordeaux offers many styles of accommodations, ranging from luxurious four-star hotel suites to clean, friendly inns that allow you a more intimate look at the region.
One remarkable and unusual Bed & Breakfast I stayed in during a visit of both the Côtes de Blaye and Côtes de Bourg was the charming Villa Premayac. Clean and remodeled, this palace-like structure is said to date back to Napoleon’s building of the Citadel (now a major tourist attraction).
Beyond its rich historical past, this inn is centrally located in the heart of Cote de Blaye’s ancient neighborhood, a five minute walk from the picturesque Gironde river with its famed Citadel, restaurants, parks, and shops. Built on a small hill, the streets are circular and curved – the better to dodge arrows and bullets of invading forces of the past. Indeed, walk the empty curving streets at midnight and you will feel yourself to be on a movie set – or perhaps reliving a past life.
So, you may be wondering, who owns it now? An heir from its centuries-old past? This inn is owned by former jet-set Parisians who, like many moving into region, want a simpler way of life. Madame Lea Golias is still the publisher of a popular French golf magazine, and her husband is a golf professional who has trained world-class athletes. The couple bought it many years ago and renovated it thoroughly to serve as their private residence and as an independent inn with five nicely decorated rooms.
Rooms are clean and functional with private baths, white provincial furniture with gold trim, and a television. Luxury appears in the form of an extra deep, triangular bathtub with shiny brass fixtures that make you wish you brought some perfumed bubble powder. A continental breakfast is included, served in the sunny central interior with red walls overlooking the private, walled garden below.
It was during breakfast that I met English-speaking Natalie Golias, the couple’s daughter, who now handles duties at the magazine. Natalie had been married to a winemaker in the region and knows everyone in the business. Sensing my interest in wine, she presented me a bottle of Fantasme 2005 from the region, created by the winemaker from her former Chateau.
To date, rooms start around 90 euros ($136 today). In addition to breakfast, the rate also includes maid service and, I sensed, advice on restaurants and directions if you happen to speak French. During our visit, we were the only guests on the first night, so I was rather surprised to see two other guests at breakfast the second morning. If we spoke French, it could have been a good opportunity to make friends or at the very least compare notes on wineries and attractions.
With its pretty garden and statuary, one can envision that in summer, it is quite a nice place to open a book and pretend you are an aristocrat from the distant past.
Au Sarment Rue Premayac
Tel : +33(0)5 57 42 27 39