LES SOURCES DE CAUDALIE
Two weeks ago Charles and I flew back to France to live an experience we will probably never forget – a couple of days in the luxurious yet bucolic Sources de Caudalie; a place known as one of the most visually stunning spa resorts in the world. Although I knew Bordeaux from previous trips, I never had the opportunity to travel beyond the city walls to its famous vineyards, and as Les Sources are situated next to the same family owned Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte we can definitely say that this trip covered all my desires. In this article you’ll find five reasons to jump in the next plane bound for Bordeaux – enjoy 🙂
THE COUNTRY CHARM
My first impression of Les Sources de Caudalie was that of a safe haven away from the business of the world: the hotel, established in 1999 was inspired by the “French Paradox” that was discovered over 20 years ago and which refers back to a study proving that the French diet and lifestyle, particularly in Southwest France, is a way of good health. As we arrived we got to cross the hotel grounds to get to our room – we passed by the lovely lake that sits at the centre of the property as well as the kitchen garden that immediately caught Charles attention for it abounded in mixed herbs he usually uses to cook. This little garden also supplies the hotel’s restaurants with fresh and organic vegetables and fruits – how extra is that? The architecture definitely plays a huge part in the immersion into this bucolic country charm: the architect that created this hotel from scratch used recycled local materials which are in tune with the surroundings. Later on the day of our arrival we decided to take the bicycles and have a ride through the property (which is quite big) – because I was then already six month pregnant we couldn’t explore sites such as the closest forest or neighboring chateaux, but we still managed our way to the small farm where, to my childish delight, there were ponies, chickens goats and swans.
The first time I heard about Caudalie’s famous spa was during the press trip I did with the brand something like one year ago, and ever since I’ve literally been dreaming of luxurious pampering and vinotherapy (the beauty treatment in which the residue of winemaking is rubbed into the skin). What makes the spa experience particularly special is that the story of Caudalie as a brand is entwined with the hotel’s vineyards. See, Mathilde Thomas, the founder of Caudalie, is the sister of Alice Tourbier, who owns the hotel with her husband – the catalyst for the Caudalie’s creation was the discovery of the potency of grapeseed, a waste product of the winemaking process, thus the brand’s amazing products make a natural addition to the spa.
Les Sources de Caudalie has outdoor and indoor pools, a spa pool and a great Barrel Bath that was my coup de coeur : not only is its water drawn from a natural hot spring, 540 meters beneath the earth, but this « outside jacuzzi » is also an absolutely photogenic Instagram spot.
On the afternoon of our second day there Charles and I each got treated with a signature massage, while my man enjoyed a Crushed Cabernet Scrub treatment I got to experience my very first prenatal massage (FYI as I obviously can’t lie on my belly while pregnant, finding a suitable massage position is quite challenging). Major shoutout to the lady that did my massage, I’ve seldom felt that satisfied after a treatment and having had three children herself she certainly knew which parts of my poor swollen body needed extra care – at the end of the massage she even told me that I still looked in shape, I almost shed a tear at that point (believe me, when you enter the third trimester every bit of compliment you manage to collect is a treasure worth cherishing). The whole relaxing experience was amplified by classical music, heated massage table and the natural scents of the used products. Talking of Caudalie products I also got to discover two fantastic gems : the oil and scrub from the Divine line, both made of a blend of oils (grape, hibiscus, sesame and argan) – I’m still wondering how I didn’t lay my hands on these before, as it is exactly what my skin was craving for.
Ah, where to begin? Food was a very important part of this experience – as some would say well being also comes through the stomach! Les Sources de Caudalie has three restaurants : a 2-Michelin star restaurant called La Grand’Vigne, a country-inn restaurant called La Table du Lavoir and a wine & tapas bar called Le Rouge. We lunched at Le Rouge as it was the perfect spot to get a quick meal in between activities – but careful, quick does not mean uninteresting; the tapas menu has a fine selection of local treats that reflect the Aquitaine region. Also the place has a wide Bordeaux wine selection displayed on the walls and these can either be purchased or enjoyed at the testing bar. For dinner we went to La Table du Lavoir, that I can definitely recommend if you’re into traditional French cuisine (I mean, who isn’t?) – this restaurant is an ode to the wine-grower’s wives who used to come to a washhouse on the site in the 19th century and everything, from the rustic decoration to menus written on antique laundry beaters, transports you to another time. I was impressed by the number of locals that came for dinner on both nights we stayed at the hotel, but actually it is not surprising as the food was an absolute delight and service was impeccable.
As I mentioned above, Les Sources de Caudalie is within rock-throwing distance from the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, making a wine tour absolutely mandatory. Thus right after breakfast on our second day we headed to the Chateau to discover its vineyards and winery. Charles was particularly thrilled as Bordeaux is his favorite wine category and the couple glasses of wine he had at La Table du Lavoir the evening before put him in the mood for more testing adventures. Yet testing only came at the end, before that we climbed the Chateau’s tower that offers an amazing panoramic view across the estate, wandered through the pristine wine cellars and visited the winery as well as the room where the cooperage makes the barrels. Yes wine-making is definitely a lengthy and strenuous task, but once you take a sip of the result of this hard labour (and yes I took a sip as I’m allowed one glass of wine/champagne per week), you know that it is really worth it.
Last but not least : Les Sources de Caudalie accommodations! I must say that I spend a lot of time in various hotel rooms, but it seldom feels like home, yet I could have prolonged our stay in Bordeaux just for the pleasure of staying in our lovely Suite Tribord a bit longer. This Suite was very spacious and decorated in typical French country style paired with tasteful modern furniture and carefully selected details. Tons of little treats were waiting for us when we arrived in the room: little Caudalie goodies in the bathroom, a basket filled with dry fruits, grapes and sweets on the table and a bottle of Les Hauts de Smith wine (guess who was the happiest? I made Charles promise to keep that one for after the baby’s birth, so that I can enjoy it to the fullest too). I had a huge crush on the wooden balcony that looked out over the vineyards, and when we woke up after our first night there we got served breakfast in our room (and what for a breakfast! Fresh and local specialities and warm baguette bread straight from the oven – yummm), I took a little moment to enjoy the sunrise with my cup of coffee on that balcony, such a blissful moment.
Pictures : Charles Legrand
Major thanks to Vesna and the Caudalie team for this great organisation!