Vinotheraphy at a French Caudalie wine spa
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How about a wine spa or vinotherapie, suggested my beau?
I was at first suspicious. Sorry but call me a stuck in the mud Brit but wine is for drinking, right? Not for slathering over your body.
Wouldn't we end up smelling like a brewery?
Would our skin be stained purple like teeth do after an evening drinking Bordeaux?
What is Caudalie or Vinotherapie?My beau reassured me the 'soins' were made of crushed grape seeds. Apparently a wine grower had discovered the beauty-enhancing effects of the simple grape and opened a spa within his vineyard.
This then spawned a range of beauty products - Caudalie. There is now even a Caudalie spa in New York at the Plaza.
A 'Caudalie' is in fact the measure of the intensity of the wine in the mouth. I am a massive vino fan but the jury was still out. Would it work on the skin? I was prepared to give it a slug....
The wine spa hotelSo we set off for Les Etangs de Corot and their Caudalie wine spa. It's only 20 mins drive from Paris but you would never know it. It's set in beautiful Versailles - the original Vinotherapie spa was founded in les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux (hence the name) - a location that has inspired famous painters and poets for centuries. It was a feast for your body, sight and taste buds.
The hotel is quite heavenly - none of the usual French poncey decor and snobby service. The gardens were filled with English herbaceous borders and there were so many Chesterfield sofas I thought I was in Liberty furniture department.
The gastronomic dinner was surprisingly light and classy - oak smoked salmon, tender filet of beef and a mouth exploding concoction of meringue, cocoa sorbet and panna cotta.
The wines were a surprise. A nice unusual touch. A beautiful unoaked Chardonnay followed by a heady red.
Needless to say we slept like babies.
The true meaning of R&RI never get up early on a Sunday - what ridiculous idea - especially if I have been out all night boogying - unless of course I am woken up by the chirruping of birds and the cool morning breeze off the lakes.
I felt like I was in Bambi and was all but ready to skip down to the thicket. If this was not relaxing enough we then reached new levels of Zen as we glided down to the spa in our bathrobes. They also had the first EVER pair of comfy hotel slippers I have encountered in a hotel or spa. Not the usual terrycloth but velvety spongy version in an elegant shade of burgundy.
My vinotherapy experienceWe were about to set off on our first vinotherapy journey. Starting with a red wine bath together, orange juice dripped on our bodies and head massage at the same time.
It was like sangria for your soul. We both then went for our Cabernet gommage. I couldn’t resist giggling when my beau put on his disposable knickers. It was like something out of Tarzan!
The scrub had been made that morning - literally a body smoothie made of honey, crushed grapes and grape seeds. It was delicious and I was very tempted to lick the scrub off my arm.
The facial then used hot and cold stones to even out the skin tone. A warm stone was placed in each hand and my feet were massaged whilst a deep cleansing did its work.
It was one of the most nurturing experiences ever. We then sat outside in the picturesque gardens and we zoned out of the usual whirring of the mind. My skin was also zinging. As the creator of the vinotherapy said - when 'one of the vines sheds a tear of water another face lights up with beauty'. I was sold.
Nature, beauty and hedonism - I mused as I sipped my delicious glass of pinotage. I wondered if its grapes had been used on my body.
For the first time in a while I felt very connected to the land and earth rather than to a chemically proven skincare corporation. If it was good enough for the original grape pickers who crushed with their feet it was good enough for me!
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