The entrance to Le Bac Estate, Paarl

We arrived at Le Bac Estate on stiflingly hot day … as hot as only Paarl can become. Luckily for me, I was dressed in my usual black pants and black t-shirt … wouldn’t want to reflect any of that blinding heat onto anyone else!

It was a relief to step into the cool, air conditioned room where the bride and bridesmaids were getting ready. From a photographic point of view, it was also good to discover that there was a beautiful old cupboard in the room, which was great for some still life pics of the dress and shoes, as well as some photographs of the little flower girl studying herself.

The rooms are furnished with beautiful wooden furniture. Little girls seem to find the wedding dress even more exciting than the bride does.

Checking her hair ornaments in the antique mirror.

The window light made for a good series of portraits.

The setting, as with probably any wine estate, is tranquil, and very beautiful. The problem with many of the estates, though, is that once you are in the reception area, or inside the restaurant or bar, you could be anywhere in the world. The venues are usually completely enclosed – probably to regulate the temperature – and visitors are cut of from the view outside. Unless you’re a smoker, chances are slim that you will get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery you’re paying for.

In this respect, Le Bac is different. Large doors open onto the vineyards and deck outside. Cool air wafts through the reception area, lifting the gossamer table cloths,  and the Cape light sparkles off the glasses and  suffuses the room. The design allows a comfortable flow from indoors to outdoors and one is constantly aware of the spectacular surroundings.

Large doors allow natural light and the summer breeze into the reception area.

A windless, summer's evening at Le Bac Estate, in Paarl.

A doorway from the reception area leads into the vineyards.

The decor is elegant and sumptuous. Large glass lanterns seem to drip from the high ceilings, their warm light reflecting from the tall mirrors, and painting the room with their amber hue. The burnished wooden floors and beams add a sense of homeliness. Enormous ice-filled silver bowls chill the white wine and the heavy white table cloths seem to glow.

The main reception area, 'Clementine', seats up to 40 guests.

The 'Oroval', the room adjoining the 'Clementine', provides ample dance space. Alternatively, it serves as a reception area for 100 guests.

The orchard lined garden provides a perfect, romantic setting for a wedding ceremony. I would suggest a canopy of some kind, though, as the bridal couple I photographed here were sweltering in their formal clothing under the merciless sun.

The orchard provides a sheltered setting for the service.

The service from the waiters was excellent, and the food superb – those perfect roast potatoes, oh my word! I couldn’t fault this venue.

For more information, contact details and directions, please take a look here.

The sun sets on another summer's day at Le Bac Estate.

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Comments
  1. The place and the photos look amazing

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