Sometimes you get your vintage fix in the most unlikely sources. This time it was in Bordeaux, a city more renowned for its vintage wine than vintage finds. We had booked into a new B&B, Casa Blanca, a chance find on booking.com which was only open a few weeks and at that stage completely unreviewed. We got a feeling that it was our kind of place from the few pics we saw of the renovation work that had been taking place in the preceding months.
Our kind of place it was. From the stunning tiled hallway to the scandi-influenced rooms, this beautiful 200 year old building had been thoughtfully rejuvenated and given some serious care and attention by Hannah and Gildas, its guardians. A seriously cool haven from the 36 degree heat on our first day, we spent a week here and loved every second.
Perfect vintage treats were everywhere, from the Singer sewing machine stand wash-basin, to the use of beautifully stripped back pine doors as headboards and gorgeous old rugs. Obviously Hannah knew nothing of my vintage fashion obsession so to find a fine selection of fashion photography books, memoirs and magazines on the coffee table was serendipitous. They were frequently thumbed through over a glass of wine during our stay.
Hannah’s background in haute couture was quietly obvious everywhere – little hints to her love of design and style.
In my opinion, a love of vintage, a love of that which has come before and deserves protection, always hints towards a certain kind of person. A person who cares; who believes in legacy and heritage; who’s concerned about detail and quality. That just about sums Gildas and Hannah up. As hosts they couldn’t have done more – our holiday started with something of a mild stutter and without their kind help could have ended earlier than planned. Mr GLV was already planning flights home. I witnessed fork lightning for the first time during a mental thunderstorm and again Gildas came to our rescue when cote de boeuf dinner plans were scuppered! One of our highlights during our week was dinner at Chez Boulan in Les Chartrons district – recommended by Gildas strangely enough. Turbot to die for, amazing oysters and service that supported rather than patronised our stuttering French.
It’s really, really refreshing, in a world where the corporate one-size-fits-all mentality is so prevalent to see a young business like this doing the opposite – going out of the way to help, to make your stay easy and simultaneously homely and interesting. The care that Hannah and Gildas have shown to restoring Casa Blanca was shown again and again to all of their guests. People who have a love of vintage are usually pretty lovely people – I know that all too well from the people I’ve met through the vintage community.
It’s not often I wax lyrical about anything other than vintage bags and brooches here, but I genuinely believe that exceptional moments deserve a mention. Just so happens that our exceptional moment was a week long in a very special place! Look forward to making a return visit some day soon.
PS If you’re planning a visit to beautiful Bordeaux some day, just search Casa Blanca Bordeaux on booking.com