We made a day trip to Bordeaux this weekend. While I wanted to leave at an early hour to start exploring the city, reality in this house is different. So by the time we leave, not only is there massive holiday traffic going south, it's almost going to be lunch time by the time we make it....
Anyway. Unlike in the country, bigger cities keep their shops open during lunch hours, so there was no real loss.
During my years in the cruise industry, on one of my itineraries I visited Bordeaux a few times in the mid 1980's. And while the cruise passengers usually took a nice day long tour of some famous Chateaux in the area, us the crew, usually only made it into town for a drink or meal.
My impressions back then were not all that good, it seemed a grimy place, dark and not inviting at all.
Things have changed obviously, mostly thanks to the current long time mayor, Alain Juppé, who rejuvenated this city of wine and made it to what it is today. A modern transit system, buildings all cleaned up, lots to see and do both cultural and shopping wise, Bordeaux is now a very well visited city in Europe. The wine of course helps. While nothing compares to Paris when it comes to tourism, I'd say we heard a lot of Dutch, German and some Scandinavian languages throughout the day. Air Transat has a seasonal flight from Montreal even.
We saw some decent looking hotels advertising rates from 60.00/room in the city center. Inviting enough for a weekend city trip from Frankfurt or Rotterdam it seems.
While we walked by some very inviting Bistros, we did not feel running the gauntlet of explaining the Celiacs issue during the lunch rush hour and opted for a small Vietnamese restaurant instead. we had mostly good experiences with that cuisine in Calgary and lucked out here too. The young crew understood the issues and we had a great meal.
In the afternoon we stopped by a wine shop where you can get small tastes of famous Grand Cru wines by the glass. Run by a Sommelier from Vancouver (!), we tasted two reds from the same area, but different growth and years. Yes, there is a huge difference, not just in price, but in flavor, color, smell and all. Lauren bought me a book about wine and I have to reread the Bordeaux chapter now to understand it all.
On the way out we stopped along the Gironde where old warehouses were converted into shops and restaurants. You can see the new bridge crossing the river, which lifts horizontally when cruise liners arrive in the summer time.
The drive home along the RN 10 was much less busy and we made it to Jarnac in one hour and 15 minutes without speeding.
Enjoy the images.
A GREAT PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM
RUE ST CATHERINE, A SHOPPING MILE
SOME REALLY NICE SQUARES
LOTS AND LOTS OF RESTAURANTS
BUSY PLACES AT LUNCH
EVERY FRENCH CITY HAS AN ARCH
GREAT GREEN SPACES
PLACE DE LA BOURSE
SOME KIDS PUT DETERGENT INTO THE WATER
I REALLY LIKE THAT UNDERGROUND GARBAGE COLLECTION SYSTEM
THIS GALLERY NEEDS RENOVATION
THIS ONE LOOKS NICER
AT THE WATCH REPAIR SHOP
HE'S BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE
APPARENTLY A HOT BRAND IN THE US
WHILE WE CHOSE VIETNAMESE
GIVEN THEIR HISTORY WITH VIETNAM,
YOU DON'T FIND A LOT OF THAT CUISINE IN FRANCE
IT'S GLUTEN FREE
ARTIST DURING THE DAY, GRAFFITI REBEL AT NIGHT?
I TAKE THE SCOOTER
NOT AS EXPENSIVE AS OTHER PLACES
UP AND COMING LOCAL APERO, RICARD BOUGHT THE BRAND. SOON YOU WILL GET IT IN AMERICA
AND OTHER LOCAL TREATS
A VERY VISUAL STORE
A GREAT WINE CONCEPT
GRAND CRUS BY THE GLASS
THOSE ARE WINE GLASSES HANGING FROM THE CEILING
WITH THESE AMOUNTS OF WINE YOU CAN DRINK AND DRIVE....
A GREAT IDEA REALLY
THE SAME ARTIST WHO DID THE SCULPTURE IN FRONT OF THE BOW IN CALGARY
THIS SCULPTURE IS MADE OF LETTERS
A LAST DRINK ON THE WAY OUT THE CITY
THE NEWEST BRIDGE, LIFTS HORIZONTALLY LIKE AN ELEVATOR
THE ROAD HOME WAS LESS TRAVELLED