Three very happy days were spent in Bordeaux at the end of June. The trip had been very ably organised by Martin. I had so much on my mind, and in a state of mind where I felt unable to plan anything, I knew little about Bordeaux other than that it is a city in France – seriously!
So, I got on the plane with few expectations. I’m happy to say Bordeaux won my heart, and I’d love to go again.
Here are seven reasons why you might love Bordeaux too…
1. Its laid back, relaxed atmosphere
The main part of Bordeaux is relatively small and contained, making it easy to wander around. It’s got lots of pretty, windy streets to wander around, with lovely surprises of little squares with bars and restaurants with outside space.
2. The Mirror, next to the river is a lovely place to hang out during the day or evening. It’s really laid back, and a pleasant place to watch the world go by.
3. It’s full of history
Bordeaux was the seat of the Dukes of Aquitaine – Eleanor of Aquitaine married the English king Henry II in the twelfth century. The remains of their feudal home are marked.
The Chartreuse cemetery is beautiful. We arrived in our hotel close to midnight, meaning we couldn’t see the view out of our window. The next morning I peered out and saw what appeared to be a miniature town – it took me a minute to realise that it is a cemetery.
Cemetery has been the home of Bordeaux’s families after they die since the early nineteenth century. Little chapels and vaults: while some are in disrepair, many are beautifully maintained.
One grave bears the remains of a man born 1750, and who lived until 1830s – he would have experienced the French Revolution.
The main bridge over the river – Pont de Pierre built in the Napoleonic era – is spectacular, especially at night.
Talking of the French Revolution, the memorial to the Girondins (a political group who campaigned for the end of the monarchy, but resisted the terror of the French Revolution and subsequently met the same end as the Louis and Marie Antoinette) is beautiful.
4. Friendly folk
In Paris, my attempts at French were sniggered at, the meanies. In Bordeaux, they are far kinder, appreciating my French and helping.
The centre has a pedestrianised area with pretty much every shop you can think of. Galeries Lafayette is also worth a look, with fabulous concessions. The sales on while we were there, which was lucky for me – not so much for my purse!
6. Getting around is really easy
Bordeaux has a fantastic tram system that will take you pretty much anywhere in the city. No traffic to hold them up, and as they’re above ground they are a great way to sight see. A day pass is just under 5 Euros. Martin was struggling with a back nerve injury (hence the crutch in the photo below), and the efficient tram system made all the difference to our stay.
7. So many places to eat and drink
Bordeaux is full of little bars for a glass of wine or beer, as well as bars, bistros, and restaurants serving delicious food – and at very reasonable prices.
Many bistros do a lunch set meal – we enjoyed a dish of bread topped with chopped radishes, fresh trout with rice, and peach melba for 13 Euros. Divine, and an absolute bargain!
I was too busy eating the food to take a photo of it (bad blogger!), so you’ll have to take my word for it….but here’s a photo of a lush raspberry macaron, as well as photos of Martin and I enjoying an al fresco lunch.