Friday 26 June 2015
As I cruised at 296kmph toward Narbonne having left Barcelona in my first class seat, I was suddenly hit by the 35C heatwave in France when I arrived and stepped onto the platform. I successfully reserved a 2nd class seat in Narbonne station going to Bordeaux as first class was fully booked. On reflection, I’m sure that the ticket seller in Barcelona could have reserved me the full journey. As I stood on the platform waiting for my 2pm connection, my Cambodia hat was on to protect my face from the sun that was high up in a cloudless sky.
Arriving at Bordeaux St Jean train station, I took Tram C (the pink line) to Quinconces for 1.50 EUR where it was a 5 minute walk to The Quality Hotel. The hotel was located smack bang in the centre of all the bars and restaurants. Two minutes from the Opera National de Bordeaux, it was so easy to find. Again, rucksack dropped, I headed out for dinner at Chez Jean around the corner. I went straight for Entrecote which came with French Fries washed down with a bottle of Chateau Le Pas Du Loup. Being in Bordeaux, it was only right I should drink fermented grape juice from the region.
After dinner, I walked back toward my hotel passing the Opera National de Bordeaux. Lit up it looked beautiful.
Popping into Caves Du Vin, I had a random glass of red wine for a night cap. Costing me a deadly 9 EUR for a glass, I took my time to enjoy my surroundings before calling it an evening…
Saturday 27 June 2015
Breakfast was on the priority list this morning. As I weaved around the back streets and little alleyways of Bordeaux, I found myself on the square where St Pierre’s Church was. Sitting outside, I had half a salmon bagel with fries at La Patisserie Essentielle.
Since I was already there, I popped my head into St Pierre’s Church. A catholic church dedicated to Peter the Apostle, it was built in the 14th and 15th century.
In the mood for a walk, I then headed north along the river La Garonne. First landmark I passed was the Miroir d’Eau de Bordeaux which beautifully reflected the Place de la Bourse and Bordeaux Palais de la Bourse.
The Miroir d’Eau de Bordeaux was essentially a large flat area which regularly floods itself with water to create a paddling pool for adults, kids and dogs to play in before draining to create an amazing reflection of the building behind.
I made an appointment in my head to come back later in the evening to check out the night time reflection. Carrying on my journey, I ended up by Le Pont Jacques Chaban Delmas. A lifting bridge which would occasionally open to allow cruise ships to enter. It was nice to look!
Looping back, I had a quick walk around the Jardin Public, dodging Canadian Geese and attempting to show interest in the Ancien Jardin Botanique. That didn’t last long as I exited the park and arrived at the Monument aux Girondins. I likened it to a French version of the Trevi Fountain in Rome. I know it’s not quite but that’s what I saw.
It was still hot as it was Vin O’Clock. With that said, I made myself comfortable in Bar a Vin as I worked my way through the Bordeaux wine list. Starting off with my own little wine tasting session, my first glass was a white AOC Entre-Deux-Mer – Chateaux Vignol for 2 EUR. Cheap right!! With a cheese plate and walnut bread, I ended my made up session with a glass of red 2010 AOC Canon-Fronsac – Chateau Moulin Pey-Labrie for 3 EUR. All very reasonably priced, I would definitely come back here.
It was about 8pm when I decided to go back to my hotel to freshen up and change for the evening. It was 10pm and still light outside which reminded me of the white nights I had experienced in Russia and Helsinki. I had one drink on the rooftop of Le Grand Hotel de Bordeaux for an amazing 360 degree view of the city. It was a bit pricey for a drink but definitely worth it for the unrivalled view. The sun was beginning to set turning the sky a lovely pink/red colour.
It quickly got dark at 10:30pm as I walked back over to the Miroir d’Eau de Bordeaux for a night time view of Place de la Bourse and Bordeaux Palais de la Bourse. Children were dancing and splashing in the water, dogs chasing balls and couples on bikes riding through the large puddle. The reflection was the icing on the cake.
After a few more drinks, I retired back to my hotel at 2am. Tomorrow would be a new destination…