Bordeaux – what a beautiful city! Sadly only a weekend there – but we will be back!
We discovered a wonderful Bed & Breakfast only a short tram ride from the old centre, the Villa St Genes, only 2 very large bedrooms with modern bathrooms … and a swimming pool! Absolute bliss in temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius. We didn’t really want to leave the pool but tourism called, so we boarded the modern tram & set off to see the sights.
The old town was pretty crowded, but still worth a wander around the small streets and a reserved meal at Le Petit Commerce – luckily we booked as people were being turned away all the time. We chose the restaurant because it had very good seafood, and we weren’t disappointed. The wine was pretty good too! A great place for people-watching!
We finished the evening with a stroll back to the Place de la Grande Theatre where we enjoyed the country music of busker Chris Paulson – even bought a CD! What did surprise us was the overwhelming police presence – gendarmes as well as police municipale, walking, in vans & cars, and on motorbikes. They were pretty laid-back though, as were the general populace, and we never felt threatened by either group.
After a delicious breakfast poolside we set off again for a morning in town before we took our client to the railway station for her to catch the TGV to Charles de Gaulle Airport and her flight home to NZ. Again there were very high temperatures, not conducive to enthusiastic sightseeing! But the Miroir de l’Eau (Mirror of Water) was delightful. We had visited it the night before, a flat area in front of the magnificent Bourse building with small water jets creating a mirror-like expanse where both children & adults walked & ran & cooled off. At night it had reflected the Bourse, a stunning view. On either side stretch colourful gardens where people relaxed on the benches. However, small squares with inviting tables in the shade called us out of the sun to drink beer & wine & listen to more music!
We took our client to the station – Gare St Jean – what chaos! It is being totally renewed, in fact I think there were renovation works being done here years ago when we took clients to catch a train. A word to the wise : leave plenty of time to catch your train, the platforms are difficult to find & the timetables are chaotic!
An interesting evening awaited us! It was the night of the European Football Final being played in Paris and all the restaurants & bars semed to have large television screens and tables & chairs out on the streets. We decided not to book a meal but to take our chances on a restaurant. Not a good idea! When we went to catch the tram it was so crowded it seemed as if people were falling out the doors! Change to Plan B – we walked! Followed the tram route & the crowds until we were nearly at Place de la Victoire, 2 stops away, & found a wonderful modern bright restaurant, Le Bistro Regent, with NO TV! Therefore it was very quiet, we were almost the only customers. For 12.50 Euros each (incredible price) we had the best steak we’ve had so far in France, a bowl of fresh green salad, & a bowl of shoestring fries (hadn’t seen THEM since we were in NZ!). Great service – well, I suppose they were delighted to have customers!
Afterwards we strolled around the square watching the people at the bars who were trying to watch the match on pretty small TV screens, then decided to head home on the tram before the match finished. Had to resurrect Plan B – the trams had stopped running due to a fault in the system. So a long walk back to the B&B, leaving us feeling we had walked off our dinner at least!
The next morning we left the city, but vowed to return for a longer stay, maybe in cooler weather to discover what else Bordeaux has to offer.