Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bourdeaux Vineyards

As far as the eye could see there were vineyards everywhere, as we drove along.
There was really not much colour about, but after all, we were there in the winter time.
Here we are near Pauillac which is perhaps the most famous of all the Bordeaux wine producing appellations and perfect for the red wine that is made here.
Three of the famous vineyards are here ...Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Latour and Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

Pruning is done in the winter time when the vines are dormant and that is what we could see the workers doing out in the vineyards.
"Picasso and I"

Occasionally we could see workers in the distance in the middle of fields with plumes of blue smoke rising in the cold air as they burnt the vine clippings. We were reminded how cold - verging on bleak the French winter could be - but the place was always charming and the landscape so different and the people generally very nice that the cold didn't seem to matter a lot.

Apparently the 'Picasso' family have never been too happy with the famous artist's name being used on a car. However, Pablo apparently fathered a number of children outside of his formal marriage all with legitimate (although they weren't) claims to his name and one sold the right to put it a on a car to the Citroen company.

The car was surprisingly easy to drive albeit a six speed manual with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and changing gear for the first time using your right hand takes getting used to.

We haven't owned a manual car for 25 years so all these variables plus keeping your eye on our beloved Sat' Nav' "Claudette" made for interesting driving. By the end of the time with the Picasso we had gotten quite used to it and were sorry to see it go. They don't have an equivalent in New Zealand - but all in all a nice car.

The car was a diesel and in France diesel is called 'gazole' which creates confusion for us as we call diesel - diesel (which to make matters more entertaining was written on the side of the car) - so filling up with fuel was another little adventure. We thought gazole equated to gas or petrol . It apparently translates to mean fuel oil.

Driving around the country roads it appears that the more remote you get the smaller the road. passing through some rural villages was hair raising as the average French driver is a fearless individual convinced of his (or her) driving prowess and committed to the art of driving as fast as possible irregardless of driving conditions, width of road or oncoming cars. Few of the rural roads have shoulders - so pulling over to the let the average french lunatic driver pass was not always easy and we found ourselves joining in by speeding up to keep away from them.

I wish you all a happy weekend.


  1. Dearest Carolyn,

    We know this car, our friends in The Netherlands do have one. Oh, tell me about the hair rising passing. In Italy they know a thing or two about that. We always joke that most people living here in rural Georgia would not last for half an hour in that kind of trafic. They either would freak out completely and leave the vehicle or crash!
    But you managed well, driving in such rural vineyard areas of Bordeaux and off season. We drove once to Bordeaux from the South of Germany where we first attended an International Mushroom Science Congress. Funny how one sometimes in life can travel!
    Enjoy a great weekend and lots of love to you,


  2. Picasso . . wonder how he would have painted the car with his name on it!

    Egadds, there are crazy drivers everywhere!!

    This weekend is the (grape) "big crush" at the wineries. Not sure if we're going to go or not.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


  3. Wow, this is so interesting...what an amazing post!!! Have a wonderful weekend!!!

  4. Hi Carolyn. You're so brave to drive a different type of car with so many different features. I'm not sure I could do this.

    Neat things you're seeing.

    Hoping for a great week-end.
    May you have a terrific one!

  5. Hi Carolyn, I can imagine that it was quite an experience to drive on the wrong side of the street with a left-hand-drive car. The hot-blodded driving style in France, Italy etc. needs getting used to as well.
    Have a wonderful weekend :-)!

  6. Hhaahah!! what a lovely story !!...enjoy a happy weekend

  7. So exciting journey, so much you saw when you drove around. I´ve been drinking their wines, delicious.
    Happy weekend

  8. Good morning my precious Carolyn!

    Oh dearest, I woke up this morning thinking and feeling so badly that my technical difficulties post was a BIG DUD....but to see YOU and the other 28 commenters made me feel good to know that you all care so much about each other. I always want to bring you my heart in poetic style, but I LOST EVERYTHING and I was so tired....

    But today is a new day and to see your trip to France, to this fabulous region helps me remember there is MORE out there to cherish and behold. Have a fabulous day, Anita

  9. Carolyn,

    This is such an interesting post, it is more like an article I might read in a magazine. I never knew that a car was named after Picasso. As you describe driving along narrow roads in a "Six speed" OMG car, I cannot believe that you managed to drive at all. I would never have been able to drive without bucking down the road.

    I love your writing. Have a beautiful weekend.

  10. It sounds like you had quite an experience! Have a lovely weekend:)

  11. Bordeaux.. your pictures are beautiful, Carolyn. I have never been there yet but I hope to be there one fine day! I liked reading your today's post and getting to know a bit more on these facts.
    We are enjoying gorgeous Fall weather with lots of hot sunbeams on my face. Have a wonderful and joy-filled weekend, sweet friend xxxxx

  12. Ciao cara!

    Divertenete il tuo racconto!

    E' vero!

    Probabilmente in Nuova Zelanda le auto sono Italia oltre alle automatiche ci sono anche quelle come quella che avete guidato voi, con il cambio a "marce".


    Baci di cuore! NI

  13. How lovely is everything you share.
    Love you

  14. Dear Carolyn
    Wow.... this is really very interesting!
    I wish you a happy weekend with a lot of sun!
    Hugs Yvonne

  15. Boy Carolyn you have some expensive taste in wine!!!!!!! Love the Picasso..... How cute is that????????Looks like you're haveing a good time......;) Maryanne xo

  16. Dear Carolyn,

    I am chuckling happily as I read this post for, as you know of course, I live in a wine-growing area in France and everything you have written, especially about drivers (my French husband included) is true.

    I am constantly amazed by the magic of the vine. The knarled stumps one sees in winter look so unyielding and, let us admit it, dead. Come early spring they burst forth and within a few weeks there are 30cm of lush green foliage. Now, the grapes picked, I watch a little sadly how the leaves are swiftly turning yellow.

    The cycle begins again.

    Warmest wishes,


  17. º° ✿
    ♥ °
    Passei para uma visitinha.
    Bom fim de semana!
    Brasilº° ✿
    ✿♥ °


  18. A very enjoyable and interesting post.

  19. Oh yes France can be SO cold in the winter, at least the North and the mid. I made the error of going camping there in January, the craziness of youth!

    I just found your blog :-}
    Love your traditional bears.


  20. Hi Carolyn
    Loved this interesting post. You write such interesting details from your travels. I did not know there was a car named Picasso. I always learn something here on your blog. It is also amazing you managed so well to drive a standard shift after so many years. I guess it just comes back to you. I could never do it as I learned on an automatic.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Have a great week ahead and enjoy your beginning of Spring.
    XO Celestina Marie

  21. Oh my gosh. I didn't know Picasso was a philanderer! hahahha What an interesting fact to learn from your blog! Chateau Latour (Pauillac) is the wine my characters are drinking in my novella! Have I told you that already? Anyway, I have enjoyed this post! I think it must be my favorite post on your blog, ever since I began reading your blog!


  22. Been so busy these past few weeks - apologies for not stopping by earlier but do hope you've had a lovely weekend nonetheless!

    The automatic hand brake is what I found most uncomfortable to use during our last French trip through the Alps down to the Cote d'Azur this Summer! Those hair raising bends & lunatic drivers you mentioned!

    Have a lovely week ahead, dear Carolyn,

    XOXO Lola & Nora:)

  23. Hi sweety :o) - oh yes, driving in other countries is adventurous! (We experienced this in Jamaica, South Africa and so on - driving with automatic cars and "on the wrong side" ... *ggg*)
    O French wine - I arrived from France last Thursday - it was wonderful there, autumn sun, lots of wine, blue sky, pretty houses - I loved it very much!
    Warm autumn-or-spring-hugs from Traude

  24. Dear Carolyn-
    Seems you had a wonderful tour, even it was winter, and cold- but very interesting I can tell :)
    I`m happy that you are safe home- after the speedy way of driwing.

  25. Citroen Picasso is here a very popular car and lots of families have chosen it as it is really very comfortable
    You have lovely memories about your travel to France ,I only know Paris and I would like very much know more
    Happy Weekend

  26. Would love to visit that vineyard!


  27. Thanks for taking us along in your Picasso, Carolyn!!

    Hey, that weather sounds perfectionnez pour un verre de vin rouge!

    Hope the rest of your weekend is super!!


  28. It's beautiful round that area of France, but yes, not ideal to be driving there

  29. Hello Carolyn, I loved reading about your "misadventure" with your Picasso!
    Mmh, I'd like to read your impression about driving in Italy one day, LOL, we're such bad drivers!
    Have a great week!

  30. It sounds like you had quite an interesting experience!hope you had a nice weekend!

  31. Oh Carolyn this looks absolutely divine! I've always wanted to go to Bordeaux. I will get there one day :)

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend! xoxo

  32. What an enjoyable post!
    Thanks for your kind visit and for being a new follower on my blog!
    I have some catching up to do in exploring new blogs, but from what I've seen on yours so far, I'm going to have a lot of fun seeing your pictures.

    Hope you have a wonderful day,

  33. This is how the people drive in the south of Europe-no fear but actually, according to what I have seen, with less accidents than elsewere:)

  34. Hi Carolyn!!!! so amazing that we are celebrating all that fall has to offer and you are welcoming Spring!!!! I love that!!!

    Wishing you a wonderful day!!!

  35. Ehehehehhe! Here in Italy there are loads of crazy drivers, for us is pretty normal! ^^
    Exciting trip!
    But i had same problems when i went in London!

  36. I don't think I could ever get the hang of driving on the opposite side of the car/road. I am sure old habits would kick in and I would forget and crash for sure. Drivers here are awful. No drivers training, no common sense, no rules on the road. But I don't know what I would do if I couldn't drive. Your trip looks absolutely wonderful. We so enjoyed our time in beautiful Paris. Best wishes to you, Tammy P.S. I have a thing for wine. :)

  37. a visit to a vineyard has always been on my to do list... so jealous!

  38. The photos are beautiful. The driving sounds like a nightmare! Thanks for your very sweet visit.

  39. Thank you for another amazing post my friend...I grew up in an area where there is nothing but vineyards...xoxoxo Hugs

  40. Oh Carolyn,
    You brave soul you.. Driving with a different type of car on the other side of the road.. That alone would be a bit odd for me.
    Looks like you had a wonderful time.. Great photos...
    Thank you so much for your visit. I am so happy you enjoyed viewing my fae.

  41. Your post reminded me of the Tour de France that I watch every year.
    While the car looks absolutely stunning.

  42. I learned on a shift car but haven't driven one in years. I suppose I could manage, but not with speeding drivers all around! Takes courage, Carolyn! Good for you!
    What a wonderful trip to the Bordeaux wine producing district!

  43. Dear Carolyn, I have once vacationed near Bourdeax, in the area of Dordogne, near Sarlat, a beuatiful medieval city. But it was in the midst of summer.;)
    I enjoyed reading your recollections here and particularly the driving part.;)
    Have a lovely week,

  44. Interesting car! And the country side looks so serene, so quiet, so enchanting!! I just love such places...
    Lovely post.
    Have a fabulous week ahead:)

  45. I have only driven once in France which included the winding mountain roads into Gordes, but found it less terrifying than in the hills of Tuscany. My sister was driving up a mountain road with narrow hairpin turns when we saw two blurs and heard a quick zoom zoom. Turns out that it was two Maseratis chasing each other going the opposite direction... It gave us both a shudder!


  46. Hi Carolyn,
    Sounds like you had quite an adventure :-) Intresting story about the Picasso car. I had never heard of it before. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful day my dear friend.

    Hugs and Kisses,

  47. Love that post and your style Carolyn! Am a fond fan of Picasso - so, you couldn't have chosen a better name. Am living in a wine-region too, grapes now everywhere! Hugs for a happy wednesday!

  48. Dear Carolyn,

    It must be an exciting trip!!:)
    I`m sure that you saw so much in your holiday and got so much memories, funny, too;)
    I`m dreaming vacation in Provence, too. Maybe someday we are going to...:)
    I hope that there are good spring weather!
    Take care, my friend ♥

  49. Funny how you said it was odd to shift the car with your right hand. I can't imagine shifting with my left! hee,hee,hee.
    xx, shell

  50. Oh, I loved this post! We had the same car this summer in France, and my dear man drove it as I would never be so adventurous as to try a stick shift again. But he got used to it and quite liked it. Thank you so much for the interesting story of how it got its name. Didn't know that. [ But DID know about what a stud Picasso was!!!]
    Isn't driving in the French countryside the BEST???


Thank you so much for visiting Draffin Bears.
It always makes me happy to read your comments
and I look forward to visiting you.

Carolyn xx