24 Sep 2014

Three Days in France with Courvoisier | Part 1



Along with 30+ total strangers, Buckets & Spades headed to France, in which turned out to be one of the most surreal weekends of my life. The only information we given by Courvoisier (myself + that chap Nik) was to meet at London Victoria Train Station at 9am, with a suitcase packed with enough clothes for three days. And don't forget your suit. So I set my alarm for an insane 3am the night before, and travelled down to London, to meet our new friends for the next few days.

The theme of the trip was #HeresToNow; celebrating the moment, thinking spontaneously and ceasing the day. Courvoiser's aim was to keep us in the dark about the whole trip but a sneaky Google search on the train down told me that it was likely we'd be headed to the swanky Le Chateau in Jarnac, south of France.

Along with a bunch of bloggers, press and competition winners we boarded the Gatwick Express, and each given a seal envelope that confused us all the more. Man, it was so early, but my intrigue was 100% piqued.



To France we go.

We drove through the picturesque region of Cognc, before arriving at the beautiful town of Jarnac. Stunning views and the warm weather made a perfect fit. After five minutes of peace by the river Charente (and ducks, Nik!) and perpetually forgetting everyone's names, we were ushered inside for a tour of Courvoisier's museum + cellars. We quickly became on first-name-terms with some of Courvoisier's finest cognac - we learnt about the Distillation, Aging and Blending. By this point we were itching to know what it tasted like.

We spend the afternoon wandering the historical cellars and "nosing" our way through a range of Courvoiser's finest; tasting their "XO" while blindfolded was quite a new experience too! All in the name of spontaneity right?
 

After setting up camp at Hotel Ligaro, our next instructions were brief - meet back at Le Chateau in own finest garb for dinner + drinks. Suits on and laces tied, we wondered down the cobbled streets of Jarnac to meet with our new friends. Already full to the brim with canapes, we were led up to the family dining room in Le Chateau, to have dinner with Courvoisier's "Master Blender" himself.

Three courses of food later most of which I'm not going to attempt to pronouce, but the dessert was immense and accompanying cognac to wash it down with, we all began to relax and enjoy new-found friendships which had been forged under such surreal circumstances. One minute I'm in Blackpool, the next I'm literally having dinner opposite one of the main men in the brandy world. We finished the evening with a tour around the private cellars; with our final surprise being an invitation to try some of Napoleon's own, "L'Essence" Cognac. Potent stuff, with a reputation as good as any.

11:30pm. Traveling by train, plane and automobile started to take its toll. A glance as my watch reminded me I'd been awake since 3am. We swiftly retired to our hotel rooms, checked emails and sank into our huge beds. There was so much going through my mind (and even more surreal dreams) that I hardly slept a wink - all I did know was that I had no idea what was going to happen next.


7am already. The next morning we loaded up on Nutella brioche and quickly found ourselves attending an official cocktail competition yes it's only 10am. Random, sure, but we'd come to expect no less. 12pm, fueled on canapes and the sun blazing hole through my cotton t-shirt, we managed to grab some much needed downtime by the river. Everyone was wondering what what we'd be doing next on this trip but no one could predict what the Courvoisier team had in store.

Competition winners were not all as they seemed....people were disappearing planted actors maybe? The only thing we did know is we were catching a train to Paris!

Part two of #HeresToNow with Courvoisier coming soon.

18 comments:

  1. Maria Fallon20:11

    This looks amazing, I definitely need to be more spontaneous,I am booked up until November :(


    Maria xxx

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  2. libys1103:57

    magnificent photos!! thanks for sharing these.. seems like an awesome experience! :D

    Animated Confessions

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  3. And that's only half of it! Thanks for commenting.

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  4. And after then, where are you going.....do it!

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  5. This sounds like a heck of an adventure! Great photos. Esp the one with you and Nik! Looking forward to hearing more.

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  6. You are seriously a trooper having got up that early, but still being such a delight that day, hopefully meet up again soon. X

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  7. Ha ha. Don't we just look like something from the Only Way Is Buckets? Watch out for our new show, appearing on ITV6+1 soon! ;-)

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  8. That would have been such a good surprise, haha. Don't even know much about cognac but I'm envious!

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  9. Oo how intriguing! Loving the sound of this adventure. Looking forward reading the next part already!

    Katrina Sophia

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  10. Cecily00:28

    Cognac and France. Well, I would be ready to go at 3am too!!! Cant wait to hear about the rest.

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  11. What a fun adventure!!! Cannot wait to read the rest of it!
    p.s I love the copper lights in the 1st picture

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  12. That was in the shop/museum, lovely place. Will share the rest soon!

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  13. It was hard work but of course worth it!

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  14. You love France as well too don't you. Was so fun, will share the rest soon.

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  15. I knew nothing about the trip, and nor did the rest of us. Super surprises

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  16. It was hard work, and I was shattered by 8pm but worth it. Lovely to meet you guys.

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  17. For me it was, Nik's well travelled and super cultured, so I'm trying to catch up.

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  18. that is amazing mat!

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