Friday, August 31, 2007

Fete de la Fleur, Bordeaux

Every 2 years a huge international wine exposition takes place in Bordeaux
The crowning event at the end of the expo is a grande soiree,
La Fete de la Fleur
Only the creme de la creme in the wine trade attend:
chateau owners, distributors, celebrities etc.
Each year it's held at a different grand chateau in the Medoc..
The year I went, it was at the lovely
Chateau Cantenac-Brown.
I wrangled an invite by suggesting I should take photographs
for Wine Enthusiast magazine. A tradition at the Fete is the prestigious awarding of new memberships intoLe Commanderie du Bon temps du MedocNew and old members get to parade about in claret red velvet robes..
Hugh Grant was a recipient, but alas, I did not get his picture. Here are the St. Emilion Bon Temps members parading.After Champagne and hors d'oeuvre on the grounds
there's a grand dinner inside. In 1997 it was held inside a tent in case of rain. Between courses there was Cirque du Soleil-style entertainment. Performers on stilts dressed up as Bon temps members paraded.
Acrobats decked out as corks flew through the air to keep us amused.
I did this party doodle after the Fete.
The dinner menu served was quite simple - just 5 courses.
After all there were 1500 guests attending!
But I was amazed to see the cheese course/fromages served to each guest individually by special cheese servers, rather than 6 cheese chunks sitting on a plate.
The piece de resistance was of course, the wine menu shown here.
13 wines served to go with the 5 courses!
I noticed while sitting at the Wine Enthusiast table,
quite a bit of tipping of the waiter to get very large glasses refilled
with some of the world's finest wines.
Here is the sad secret that has kept me from following in Ms. P. Hilton's footsteps.
My alcoholic capacity is about 2 THIMBLES FULL.
Anymore than my quota, say 3 thimbles full
and I am known to become dangerously flagrant or fall asleep a table.
Plus I suffer massive hangovers.
So I did not get to leave the soiree drunk and disorderly.
But I did get a very nice claret red umbrella (it started to rain)
with the insignia of Le Bon Temps Commanderie on it!
And the truly amazing fact is
I still have this umbrella 10 years later!


  1. Yay, Early morning treat! Thanks so much for your lovely posts. All that lovely wine. And Hugh Grant, too? There is a God.

  2. Great wine painting with the printing.Your talent seems to go beyond the art it also extends to getting invited to these cool events. ;-)

  3. Anonymous1:34 PM

    I remember you mentioning that umbrella before--I can understand why you'd keep that! Great photos and wonderful watercolors. I love your figure paintings--you should include more of 'em here and there. Likin' that watercolor of the wine glasses and boteille, too, Carol! I like being an armchair traveler on these jaunts, toots!;)) Thanks for taking me along!

  4. Oh Carol, this is such a treat! The first painting with the wine bottle and the glasses, I could hardly lift my eyes of it, so beautiful.
    There you were, in France again, and I was imagining you still back in Tuscany while driving through the vineyards of Burgenland to the Esterhazy Castle near Sopron, Hungary. Not a timble of wine all day, so I enjoyed the treat at your place immensely. Merci, you Magician with a paintbrush! :-)

  5. Anonymous5:03 PM

    I think your paintings of this came out wonderfully.
    By odd coincidence, I think I saw a program segment about this on one of the PBS channels just
    2 or 3 weeks ago.
    I realized I am confused about when you are in Paris and when not.
    Do you just hop back and forth frequently? If so I would appreciate your telling me how.
    My puppy's birthday was last Friday (24th) and my birthday was this week and I'm gonna celebrate
    With French champagne, of course!

  6. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Ms. P. Hilton could definitely take a page out of you book.
    Getting disorderly and drunk is not the way to go!

  7. what a satisfying story!


    if i still had
    the very same claret red umbrella,
    i might want it to rain
    more often...

  8. That's an amazing umbrella!

  9. Anonymous10:32 PM

    Yet another career credit! What a fantastic experience! And the umbrella --wonderful party favor...sad that you can't be more of a tippler. As for the headaches, my husband gets them too, from even a thimblefull of red wine and many whites: quelle domage!!! (sorry if my spelling desserts me but it has been 40 years!)

  10. I so want to be like you when I finally grow up!!
    I fell in love with my husband over a bottle of Saint Emilion...:)

  11. What a lovely experience,and a great story ... just the Hugh Grant bit would be 'fine and dandy' ;-)

    I love the first painting - the way you have painted the bottle and the wine in the glasses is just LUSHIOUS.

    (Thanks for giving me the name and web address for w/cols and binder. If I may ask one more question, which binder would you recommend? Thanks.)


  12. And TARTELETTE I want to be like you...
    LINDA you are correct, PBS did present a program on the Bordeaux Fete de la Fleur on the Jancis Robinson wine series. It rained on that event too.
    LOVEITALY the miracle is that I still have that umbrella! Not lost yet, but then I hardly use it, it's huge and I might lose it :(
    ELIZABETH it's the Gillot Watercolor Binder...

  13. A talented writer and artist! Glad I stumbled along thanks to a couple of your other fans, of course. I just love the part about the flying corks, they are adorable.

    I was just in Paris for the first time and cannot stop gushing. What a beautiful city!

  14. flying corks and red brollies, what a great sounding evening, save your thimbles for me Carol or better plan, next tiime you wangle such a trip as this I shall come as your official wine taster, there by saving you from yourself and doing justice to the wine...good plan eh?

  15. Anonymous12:29 AM

    I have enjoyed your blog very much. Your artwork is fantastic!


  16. Your water colors never cease to amaze me how you can paint what you experience! Wonderful!
    Like you my limit 2 thimblefull..well perhaps 'un verre de' hugs NG

  17. Love that you wrangled your way into this event by saying you'd take photo's, and then sharing them with us. Your watercolors never stop amazing a such a talented lady. Not only with your watercolors, but with you words as well.

  18. Anonymous5:58 PM

    It's fun traveling with you to on such extravagant adventures. Once again your work captures the soul of the places it a way I prefer to photos.

    Think it's time to turn in my old Chateau. I want one like yours! Now!

    On to this issue regarding thimbles full of wine! This is not a very nice problem. And certainly not fair!

  19. Not only do you have a gift to paint, and gather the details together to tell the story, You also have the gift of teaching us... What other secrets do you have up your sleeves?

  20. Anonymous5:20 PM

    Interesting! Where can we see your photos on the Wine Enthusiast link or in the magazine? Or did they use your water colors (now THAT would be clever!)? Or was that just a clever ruse to wrangle an invite (in which case can you wrangle an invite with a guest. You and I may become friends soon! heehee).

  21. highlights of Fête de la fleur, Bordeaux 2011 on vimeo



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