Bordeaux, France

The cheese board at Le Pavillon des Boulevards

Bordeaux’s Restaurant Le Pavillon des Boulevards offers lamb de Pauillac style for 180 French francs or about US$30.

A Bordeaux garden

Musee des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux

The park in the middle of Place Gambett

The pedestrian way along Place Gambett

Zara International, which offers inexpensive stylish clothes, uses price tags listing the cost in 26 currencies.

4 December 1999 – While walking a pedestrian street, I found a store called Zara International, where sales tags are priced in 22 currencies. Store packed with trendy, stylish clothes costing very little, no matter the currency.

Le Pavillon des Boulevards, operated by Nelly and Denis Franc, rates a one star from Michelin. Service and food were top-notch. I began with foie gras (140 FF, US$23) prepared over capers and onions, over red cabbage with an Asian flavor and over parsley. Jim ate Liegeois de caviar (180 FF, US$29) served in a parfait glass with lobster in cream topped with caviar on the crown. Then for me, wild mallard (150FF, US$24) filled with white turnips and for Jim, lamb de Pauillac style (180FF, US$29) with stuffed red peppers. We then devoured an out of this world complimentary mini chocolate soufflé before completing our meal with Roquefort so unbelievably strong and delicious we ordered another serving.

Our experience with the wine, in one of the world’s premier wine regions, was not so good. First we drank a delicious, semi-full-bodied 1995 Chateau Lady Langoa (390 FF, US$65). Then for the real treat, we splurged on a half bottle of 1983 Mouton Rothschild (600 FF, US$100). Yesterday, we visited the Chateau where Mouton Rothschild is grown, cultivated and bottled, and have talked non-stop of tasting this wine ever since. Sadly, the aroma and taste disappointed me. Doubting my newfound wine-tasting skill, especially since I knew this should be delicious, I urged Jim to taste and he agreed, pointing out too that the wine was cold and the cork was dry.

Pierre, the sommelier, insisted nothing was wrong with the wine so I invited him to sample. “Delicious as it should be,” he told us. Still, we refused the wine knowing it was not up to standard. Pierre suggested another half bottle of 1996 Chateau Haut-Marbuzet, a newer wine since he deemed our taste buds undeveloped. This wine was no where near as tantalizing as our first wine, Lady Langoa.

Our check arrived and Pierre had charged us for the refused half-bottle of Mouton Rothschild. “We will not pay for wine that was not acceptable,” Jim exclaimed in a polite rage. Certainly Pierre is still bad-mouthing the horrible Americans who know nothing about wine!


  Bordeaux, the city, and the wine region (Jim)
  Bordeaux - historic city (Jim)
  The wine country and Mouton Rothschild (Jim)