Bordeaux was our departing point for the small trip along the Canal de Garonne. But this city deserves a separate post! We love Bordeaux ! Magnificent city in which we like simply everything. I would say that on the contrary to Paris or Marseille, Bordeaux is a real typical French city that corresponds to every stereotype about France. Relaxed atmosphere, useless scarves, gorgeous architecture, cosy cafés and chateaux in the city outskirts. Critics like to make acid remarks reminding that Bordeaux owes its « aristocratic and bourgeois spirit» to its slave-trade in XVIII century that used to considerably richen the local aristocrats. Lol, maybe that is a reason why Bordeaux is much less multi-ethnic city than any other one in France.
Another question aroused – where to leave our bags and tandem while walking in the city. Though Bordeaux is relatively safe but it’s still too common to find one’s bike without a saddle or a wheel to take a risk. The city proposes underground bike parkings but only if you get a special parking card for 15€ or if you are the owner of Bordeaux card, which permit to use parking on the railway station. After an hour of searching we finally got an idea to contact our WarmShowers host and left his bike at his place. Pity, that first we put our bags in the lockers. lol
5€ – lockers at the railway station
If you have only a day in Bordeaux, take your time hanging in the city centre and enjoying everything around. We’ll do without a sightseeing list, but here are several places that can be worth of your time.
Palais de la bourse – probably the most famous view of Bordeaux. In front of the palace there is a very funny thing – a small area on the quay every ten minutes changes its appearance. First it starts to be filled with water, then it calms down and the surface becomes a perfect mirror in which the reflection of the palace can be seen. Finally the water disappears and the area fills with mist. It is not just beautiful and extremely photogenic, but this attraction creates such a joyful atmosphere! Loads of kids are going crazy playing and running in the water. Non-stop feast. We spent an hour hypnotized by this life-fountain – perfect spot for pictures!
Monument aux Girondins on Place des Quinconces – one of the biggest squares of Bordeaux. No, we are not big fans of sculptures and statues, but this monument to the Terror victims is almost as mesmerizing as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Wherever stops you glance, you find again and again small details that hadn’t been noticed before. Even afterwards looking at the pictures I’ve found some. Isn’t it beautiful?
La tour Pey-Berland – 360° view on Bordeaux from a cathedral tower. Through the grill, naturally, but still it’s better than glass wall like on Montparnasse in Paris. The ascent is not recommended for people suffering from claustrophobia.
5€ – Enter to the tower. Free for students till 26 years old.
Rue Sainte-Catherine is also considered to be a local sight, but actually it’s just another shopping street which becomes too overcrowded and simply impossible to walk in the evening. So if you are not interested in the last H&M collection, the pleasure of taking it approaches to zero.
30€ – excellent lunch at the restaurant Bistro du Musée
13€ – the most disgusting « hot chocolate » which is actually only partially decomposed cacao with frozen quiche in a very sad parody of Starbucks – French Coffeeshop.
In the evening we met our hosts who, by happy accident, live in the very centre near the Grosse Cloche, one of the ancient gates to the old town.
And as they were perfect locals, they were closely connected with wine production. So we had an excellent workshop « how to distinguish the bad wine from good one » and further degustation. Least of all we expected sharing a bottle of red Lalande de Pomerolle of 1998 with two students without any particular reason. Oh là là.
We left Bordeaux with the feeling of incompleteness and decided immediately to come back as soon as it’ll be possible and to explore this area a bit closer. More to come in several months ! : )
And what are your favourite places in Bordeaux? ;)