Walk at Labarde (Medoc) : Thursday 22nd October


Chateau-Giscours

The instructions said follow the D2 until you get to the church in Labarde. Having been on the same road the day before in glorious sunshine for a round of golf at Margaux, I was doubting my sanity as the car wipers struggled to clear the rain so that I could see the Labarde church. The prospect of a 6km walk in such conditions was not filling me with enthusiasm but we are British and rain is never a problem – despite having a Dutch organizer ably assisted by an American.

However, by the time our group of 11 had gathered, the rain had moderated to drizzle and the sky was clearing. After setting off and walking a short distance along the road, we turned into a substantial forest. We were all reassured by our leader sporting a special ramblers GPS device round his neck, and the fact that his assistant had the instructions in a waterproof container. Any reason for concern was soon put to rest when it became clear that the route was very easy, consisting mainly of straight tracks through the forest. Also, the ‘assistant’ lived locally and frequently walked in the woods (and had never met the big bad wolf). Eventually, we emerged from the woods to find ourselves at the gates of Chateau Giscours and one of our fellow walkers commented that he had played cricket there and we were shown a splendid cricket pitch.

The leisurely and attractive 6 km walk returned us to the Labarde church, next door to our luncheon venue, the Auberge des Grands Vins. This venue proved to be cosy and warm with good food and friendly and efficient service at very reasonable prices. However, good as it was, the reason for recommending a visit is to see the murals. Every wall (and the ceiling) has been painted in a variety of styles. One wall depicts a modern day feast, possibly featuring local personalities. Other areas are painted with semi-classical scenes but depicting numerous attractive but poverty stricken young ladies who were clearly unable to afford clothing. (I must admit that there may have been similar pictures of young men but I cannot remember them).

I am convinced that the sun was shining when we left the restaurant but I was very glad that the early rain had not deterred me from the experience. Our thanks for that go to Piet de Bie and Elizabeth Maggiora, the assistant and organizer, or was it the other way around? Whatever, they made it very enjoyable and great fun.

Report and Photo by John B.