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La Maison d'Estournel

Michel Reybier's new port of call in the Bordeaux region

A verdant landscape featuring slopes planted with some of the most famous vineyards in the world, the Médoc stretches languorously along the Gironde estuary, a mere one-hour drive from Bordeaux. Michel Reybier, owner of Château Cos d’Estournel, has transformed the house of Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel, founder of the estate, into a residence dedicated to the joy of relaxing in the heart of nature.


For a weekend or a short break, with its 14 elegant, warm rooms, La Maison d’Estournel welcomes city dwellers looking to unwind – whether as a couple, with family or friends. English designer Alex Michaelis has created a decor entirely in tune with the surroundings, with simplicity as the keynote. Here, time suddenly seems to slow down, giving way to a forgotten rhythm within a deliciously calm, unspoilt setting. The opportunity to indulge in a real urban detox, to renew a healthy and authentic lifestyle, far from any artifice and keeping up appearances. Infinitely restful and absolutely necessary in order to reconnect with oneself and those one loves.


The tone is set right from the start: guests are made to feel at home here. The huge open space on the ground floor is designed like that of a private house, where one can move smoothly between the cozy lounge with its spectacular fireplace and the dining room with its large convivial tables, as well as between the library and the kitchen – the latter being freely accessible to those wishing to discover the secrets of the chef at work. Ignoring the conventional codes of the traditional hotel industry, this is a place dedicated to an art of living in complete simplicity, where guests can even try their hand in the kitchen if the fancy takes them.


Accompanied by attentive but informal service, each stay is an opportunity to share different experiences and to forget everything, fully enjoying a relaxed break of the kind that is all too rare in everyday life. Spend an afternoon nestled in a soft cashmere blanket by the fire to indulge in the saga you’ve been longing to read...  Discover the wonders of the vegetable garden and chat with the gardener about tomatoes and zucchini... Laze in the sun on the terrace before getting lost in the grounds, where the giant redwood and cedars have seen more than one game of hide and seek... Between bike rides and golf, picnics in the vineyards and fishing, immersing yourself in the rich and wild terroir of the Médoc region is tinged with a sense of cheerful nostalgia. An authentic change of scenery in a charming residence, offering a forceful reminder that happiness is a fundamentally simple thing.


Powerfully inspired by the bucolic environment, designer Alex Michaelis has chosen noble and natural materials, in tune with the country home atmosphere desired by Michel Reybier. Spread over two floors built around an elegant stone and iron staircase, the 14 rooms and suites are divided into six categories. The entire residence features vintage-style solid oak floors and natural materials
such as raw linen or velvet, punctuated by discreet references to the world of the vine.


Often charmingly decorated with roses, the Médoc vineyards are the pride of the region and occupy every single available natural space...Owning five-hectare grounds with century-old trees is therefore a real privilege here. Nestled in the surrounding vineyards, the huge English-style garden created in the 19th century by Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel is large enough to stroll randomly and get lost in the greenery, enjoy lunch in the shade of majestic trees, have tea in a romantic grove or read quietly in a hammock in complete privacy. A careful look even reveals dolphins, a surprising symbol decorating one of the two splendid square towers made of ashlar masonry, set on either side of the house. A subtle reminder of the closeness of the ocean. It is indeed not uncommon to spot the silhouette of a boat appearing to sail over the vineyards... No, it is not a mirage, only the Gironde estuary that can be seen in the distance! Full of surprises, the grounds conceal a charming vegetable garden behind a bouquet of trees, complete with its scarecrow, a wooden cabin for the gardener’s tools and even a henhouse. This is where the Chef comes to get fresh eggs, fruit and vegetables. From terroir to table...


World famous for its wines, Bordeaux is also not to be outdone when it comes to food. In the heart of the southwest, the region is part of the Gascony region, a land inhabited by people who love the good things in life, and rich in excellent products, from the tradition of foie gras to the gathering of mushrooms and truffles, from strawberries to Sables des Landes asparagus... The chef of the hotel’s restaurant pays tribute to the treasures of this generous terroir with local seasonal cuisine, modernized with a view to maximizing lightness and simplicity. Thanks to the open kitchen concept, guests can sit around the counter and enjoy a glass of wine or have a front-row seat witnessing and even participating in meal preparation with the chef.


In the Bordeaux region, no mansion would be complete without a cellar... and here, once again, Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel had everything planned. The basement of his house conceals a superb vaulted cellar made entirely of stone, into which daylight streams through a dedicated window. The tasting area is devoted to the wines of Cos d’Estournel: Cos d’Estournel and Pagodes de Cos. Connoisseurs will recognize the carved elephants, the symbols of Cos d’Estournel, a property founded in 1791. Just next to the tasting area, recent work has unearthed a secret cellar that has been walled in for generations and is now used for conservation.


It is more than tempting to indulge in the sweetness of life in the Médoc, enjoying the pleasure of doing
virtually nothing, eyes lost in the blue sky or fascinated by the flames of the fireplace. However, even a long weekend would not be enough to exhaust the region’s resources...

Discovery trails
In pairs, as a group or as a family, there are boundless opportunities to explore the natural beauties of the surroundings: the Etang de Cousseau, the Dunes & Marais d’Hourtin Nature Reserve, the Logit and Perge marshes. Moving to a higher level and defying the ocean means following the Route des Phares de Médoc Atlantique, a route running through the forest between the Cordouan, Grave, Richard and Hourtin lighthouses. Higher still? Hot-air balloon rides in the Médoc offer a unique view of the vineyards, the Gironde Estuary and the Atlantic beaches stretching to infinity.

Natural sensations
Retreating to the Médoc also naturally involves getting involved in sport through a range of breathtaking activities: practicing your swing on the golf courses of Lacanau or Margaux, horse-riding in the forests or vineyards for the inland side of things; or else indulging in maritime pleasures such as surfing to your heart’s content in Carcans-Hourtin, kayaking down the Guâ canal from Saint-Vivien de Médoc or enjoying an adrenaline rush on a sand yacht at Montalivet.

Regional adventures
The cruise on the Gironde Estuary with a stopover on Patiras Island and its lighthouse is a classic trip full of surprises, with many events organized on-site during the season. Fishing enthusiasts will absolutely wish to try square-net fishing at the Phare de Richard, featuring the huts on stilts typical of the Médoc since the 19th century. For bar and mackerel, one can opt to set off aboard a speedboat from Port Médoc to go fishing at sea or in the Estuary. In season, a private hunting party can be organized on request near Naujac.

Route de Poumeys « Leyssac »
33180 Saint-Estèphe. France
T +33 (0)5 56 59 30 25

By Anne-Marie Clerc

© G. Gardette

© M. Bolton - MBA

© G. Gardette

© G. Gardette

© G. Gardette

© G. Gardette

© G. Gardette

© G. Gardette

© G. Gardette

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