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Let's start with architecture. In France, the city of Bordeaux itself is second only to Paris for historical buildings. For many years, it was a city of contrasts with some areas being quite dodgy. Recently Bordeaux has undergone an amazing renovation with la Cité du Vin being the most iconic example and the waterfront, especially the water mirror in front of the 18th century Place de la Bourse, one of the most photographed shots in the city. The city and its surroundings are built mainly out of the local limestone, which has a wonderful warm colour that lends itself so well to photography, changing in hue throughout the day. That same limestone has been used to build many of the chateaux of the region, but with a wonderful blend of old and new - often on the same site.
Classified growth Château Kirwan is an 18th century property at the heart of Margaux. It is surrounded by spectacular gardens, designed by Camille Godard, which have been awarded 'Best of' status several times over the years. Here is your first instagram opportunity; especially throughout the spring and summer when the corridor of roses blooms. Behind the chateau is the brand new cellar, opened in 2017 with photo opportunities inside and out. A magnificent steel sculpture by Kinga and Anatoly Stolnikoff adorns the front. It appears to be a stainless steel representation of a vine but zoom in and you will see that is made up of thousands of words that explain and describe the vines, the wine making and most importantly the tasting.
Another fusion of old and new is Château Pedesclaux. You can't miss this 'Glass Château'. The new owners asked architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte to enclosed the chateau and its dovecote inside an enormous glass box, bringing the 18th century Chateau very much into the 21st century.
If your preference is for art call in at Chateau d'Arsac, in Margaux. You don't even have to get too close; you can already see some of the sculpture that is installed throughout the vineyard from the road. There are so many selfie and photo opportunities here, although my favourite is probably the owl house.
Some architecture is better seen from the inside. Château Pape Clement has lots of instagram opportunities from the chateau itself, to the tomb of the Pope Clement V in the cellars and the Gustave Eiffel built orangery. But if you are lucky enough to stay over in the Château - try and get in the tiny boudoir room over the entrance - lying on this bed feels like a princess moment. Other luxurious rooms worth a shot are found close by at Château le Pape. The recent renovation of this chateau into a guesthouse respected its heritage but also added the visual symmetry of a second tower. The result is as photo worthy as the surrounding park, gardens, deck and pool.
Then there are the views. In Saint Julien climb the new tower of Chateau Gruaud Larose (there is a lift!). There was already an elegant tower next to the chateau but this new, 21-metre high tower is the perfect place for a bird's eye view of the Northern Medoc and across the estuary.
On the right bank of the Dordogne and the Garonne, the undulating limestone hillsides that favour the vines offer so many photo-worthy views. The terrace of Château de La Rivière has to be one of the best spots for a photo looking down over the beautiful Dordogne Valley.
Or go across to Saint- Emilion. The landscape here may be flatter but the view from the 'Terrace Rouge' restaurant above the cellars of Chateau La Dominique, offers a view over some of the most famous vineyards of the region, as well as the amazing floor made up of red glass pebbles that represent the berries in the vats below.
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