“ City: Bordeaux / Country: France / Country Region: Aquitaine / World Region: Europe „
I have just returned from just under two weeks in Bordeaux, and found it to be a really pleasant place to spend part of my summer holidays. I stayed initially at the Citea Rodesse residence, and would suggest that you are much better off with a double studio than a one bedroom apartment (I stayed initally in the former and then in the latter when my family arrived midway through the first week), as the apartment was absolutely tiny, probably no bigger than the studio, but with a wall to divide it in two! It was not badly located, near the Meriadeck shopping centre and about a ten minute walk from the very centre of Bordeaux, but with hindsight I would probably have opted for somewhere else, and certainly if you are a lone traveller or a couple, there are certainly better options more centrally located and at a similar price.
Bordeaux itself is a beautiful city, with a particularly pleasant town centre crammed full of old buildings and picturesque squares. It certainly helps that the main two shopping streets, Rue Sainte Catherine and Rue Porte Dijeaux, are ostensibly off limits to cars (although beware of the odd one allowed to use them, and the scooters and bikes which are allowed and do tend to be a bit reckless in their approach to crowded pedestrian streets!)
There are numerous options for museum lovers as well, from the contemporary art museum (a bit thin on exhibits, but probably worth a quick visit overall) to the Jean Moulin museum, which is dedicated to one of the most famous names of the French resistance. However probably the biggest attraction in the town centre is the area in front of the Place de La Bourse, where every twenty minutes jets of water vapour rise from the pavement, followed shortly afterwards by water which pours from under the pavement to create a shallow paddling pool right by the riverside. Apparently this was originally intended simply for people to able to look at the reflection of the buildings in the square opposite, but it has become a very popular place for children to paddle, and plenty of adults join in too!
The quay side has been completely reformed over the past few years, with wide paths by the river which are ideal for cyclists, skateboarders etc, and indeed if you head north along the river from the town centre, there is a very impressive skate park and a row of high end and outlet shops right by the river. Heading south will take you towards the Pont St Pierre, and on a nice day there is no better view than the one offered by walking halfway across it and then looking back across at the buildings in the Place de la Bourse area.
There are literally ten of options with regard to eating out in the centre, and although my first impression was that it was more expensive than England, on reflection it is probably similar. I think it would be fair to say that there are very few cheap options (nothing akin to a Wethersppons, for example!), and I would certainly recommend eating out at lunch as a cheaper option than dinner - most places offer a set menu for between 10 and 15 euros. What you get for that can vary though, so I would recommend a wander round on your first day as some include, three courses, drink and coffee, whilst others may only be two courses without drinks. My personal favourite was Le Vieux Chaudron, which is in Rue Pas Saint Georges, and which offers an excellent three course lunch for 10.50, with one euro extra for a glass of wine. Dinner is slightly more, but only by a couple of euros. Those looking to drink lots of beer in bars will need to come with a healthy budget though, as even in the happy hours available, most of the English pubs which form the majority of that market charge between 4 and 4.50 for a 500 ml beer (not even a pint!)
Bordeaux is famous of course for wine and tours are available to a number of the vineyards, but I cannot really comment on that as I did not do any of them. However even though relatively uneducated in these matters, I can certainly recommend the Domaine de Chevalier white from the Pessac Leognan region, although it would need to be a treat as it might not cost you much less than the £40-50 per bottle minimum that it costs in this country!
For sports fans, most of the focus is on the city's football team, who are currently champions. However plan ahead if you want to go - I made the mistake of being complacent, and the game was sold out three days in advance! It was admittedly the first game of the season, but interest is very high at the moment, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Tickets can be bought at Virgin in the Place Gambetta if you do not fancy travelling out to the stadium, which is a little way out of the centre.
One final word of warning - should you happen to buy train tickets from Rail Europe and opt to print them out at the station in Bordeauz, you may be in for a nasty surprise! I was unable to do so on two separate occasions, and on the first of these I missed my train as a consequence! I would advise anyone taking this option to leave themselves plenty of time to go downstairs and queue for the ticket windows, from where I obtained my ticket without any problems on the second occasion. I have contacted Rail Europe about this, but I am not confident that anything will come of it!
Overall I would definitely recommend a long weekend in Bordeaux. Probably the only negative for me in my time there were the taxis, which are a complete and utter rip off, especially if you call them to come and get you from a hotel - I paid 17 euros for an 8-10 minute journey from my hotel to the station because of this! But the public transport system, especially the trams, is good and cheap (you can even get from the airport to the town centre on a bus which runs every 45 minutes and costs 8 euros, rather than pay 30-35 for a taxi), so you should be able to avoid this particular extravagance. Other than that, with plenty of flights from all over the UK at generally reasonable prices, it is certainly a destination worth visiting.
Last year we were fortunate enough to have enough money to stay in Bordeaux for three nights as part of our fabulous fortnight in France.
We flew from Birmingham for £17 each way (plus the usuals) with BMI Baby. For five of us the airfare cost about £490, which was a bargain for August. A car was simple enough to hire for the fortnight, using a good comparison site and we booked a cheap Novotel room near the airport for 79 Euros a night inclusive of breakfast, which was probably cheaper than Youth Hostel prices. So we were all set!
We only had to persuade our friends from Edinburgh to come along too. That way we could palm one of our kids off on them, as they only have one daughter. Cheap skate I know but they went for it!
Getting back to the point then. The only other French city I've stayed in is Paris, but I had great expectations of Bordeaux from guide books, TV programmes and Sunday travel articles I'd read during the year. Bordeaux seemed to be featured quite a lot since being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We had two full days to explore the city before travelling south to Hossegor, so armed with a map, some information from the hotel reception and our trusty guide book we headed out into the unknown.
===Public Transport in Bordeaux===
The first thing that struck us was the reliability, simplicity and cleanliness of the public transport system. People were very polite and friendly too.
A bus that passed the hotel took us to our tram link into the city. I have to say the trams are sleek, minimalist and quite sexy as trams go. None of your gaudy consumerist advertising like you get on the Sheffield tram system. A very cool gunmetal grey looks very sophisticated indeed.
Tickets are sold from a machine on the platform and must be bought from here. They were Euro1.30 for an hour's travel, but we bought a carnet of 10 tickets to include our return journey- I can't remember the exact cost, but it was definitely cheaper than single tickets. You have to validate the ticket in the machine onboard the tram and your hour begins. We never saw a single ticket inspector on twelve tram journeys, but everyone validated their tickets. So, Bordeaulais are honest too!
There are three tram lines that link the suburbs with the city and it is well utilised. And, with about a dozen bus routes and some smaller electrical buses that run through the very narrow streets in the city centre, there's nowhere you can't reach. We never tried these tiny buses, however, as all eight of us would have taken up half the bus I think!
All in all you can have real confidence in the transport system.
===The best bits to see===
Because we only had two days, we carefully planned where we wanted to go in advance -mostly in the hotel bar the night before over a glass or two of the falling down water. It seemed to work though and here are the 'must sees'.
-----Something for the kids---
1. The most exciting feature of Bordeaux has to be the "Water Mirror" by French landscape architects, Claire and Michel Corajoud,
A giant granite rectangle has been installed opposite Place de la Bourse to replace the docks on the Garonne River.
Sounds a bit dull so far, right? The magic happens when just enough water is pumped onto the surface of the granite to create a reflection of the buildings, just like a huge mirror. It's staggeringly simple but absolutely awe-inspiring! Apparently, the scene at night is a photographer's dream.
But that's not the best bit, at timed intervals, the water drains away and then is pumped through tiny jets into the air to create a fog effect. Our kids spent a good half hour in here playing all kinds of hide and seek games (they're mostly teenagers too). The little kids were having a fantastic time and it was hard for parents to move on to the next thing on their list.
When you sit on the steps beside it and look out to the Garonne, the infinity pool effect is amazing. The best bit is, it's totally free, but remember to take a towel.
----Are you into your buildings?----
2. Bordeaux has been given a facial these last few years and the exfoliation has revealed buildings that are truly magnificent. They may be hundreds of years old but they look brand new and their gloriously sandy colour makes you feel that there's something very fresh and vibrant about the city.
Reflecting in the Mirror is an amazing piece of architecture that is the Bourse, the old Stock Exchange and the Hotel Les Fermes which now houses the Musee des Duanes (Customs Museum). We enjoyed these buildings from the outside only.
Standing on the far side of the Mirror, looking at the 18th Century buildings in its reflection and catching a 21st Century tram going past was well worth waiting for.
------Fancy a trip to the theatre luvvy?------
3. The Grand Theatre is another example of a most magnificent 18th Century building this time designed and built by Victor Louis. It stands on the site of a Gallo-Roman Temple and actually looks like one with its classical columns and statues of the nine Muses and the Goddesses Juno, Minerva and Venus.
It was fully restored in 1991 and still looked superb last summer when we sat awhile, with a beer and a croque madame, to rest our feet. Yes, you will need comfy shoes in Bordeaux as you will walk your legs off.
We sadly didn't have time to see the interior as time was pressing and we had new heights to reach!
--------Do you like heights?-------
4 and 5 on my list are two high points of our visit, literally. For some unknown reason our kids like to climb narrow spiral staircases to reach the highest point they can. They drag adults with them too, or start imitating domestic birds loudly. One member of the party did indeed chicken out but retreated honourably to a small coffee house in order to get the gossip on Eleanor of Aquitaine.
The first of these high spots is the Tour Pey-Berland which is a narrow 229 stepped tower that stands apart from the Cathedrale St-Andre building. It will cost you about 4Euros to put your fear of small spaces, steps and heights to the test. The steeple was reduced in height by a hurricane in the 18th Century but this worked out well in the end because it made room for the best part of the Tower in my opinion which is the golden statue of our Lady of Aquitaine at the top, which was restored this century. At 50m high, the view is also worth relishing.
The much higher of the two towers is Tour St-Michel which stands aside the Basilique St-Michel. This is an older tower, built in the 15th Century and is hexagonal in shape. My hubby, the civil engineer, loved this one. He walked around it several times hand to his chin thinking about the technology involved in 15th century building. Or maybe he was just trying to get out of paying the 5Euros or whatever it was to go up it.
At 114m/ 374ft tall it stands the highest church tower in southern France and second in height to Strasbourg cathedral at 142m/468ft.
Towards the top, under the spire, is a circular crypt which seemed a bit strange to be honest. Why would anyone want to climb the 300+ steps in the tower to bury someone? But worry ye not and enjoy the truly spectacular view of Bordeaux and even the Tour Pey-Berland below you, before returning to ground level, still spinning. Both towers had spectacular religious buildings that were well worth a visit and we sat down in both for a quiet moment of reflection and respite from the rushed itinerary.
--------Some retail therapy, anyone?--------
6. Rue St Catherine is apparently the longest pedestrianised shopping street in Europe at about 1km long. It has every type of shop you could drool over, from the very expensive designer types at one end (including Galleries Lafayette) right down to the cheap and cheerful studenty type shops at the other. Along the way there are some quaint little arcades that are highly decorated and well worth a visit.
It took us a couple of hours to saunter from one end to the other, buying baguettes, cookies and icecreams along the route. Oh, and a few speciality chocs from Jeff De Bruges which cannot be missed in my opinion.
There was something for everyone here, including the water sports fans amongst our party. Plenty of Roxy, Animal and Quicksilver to be had as well as a couple of budget sports shops where we found some really cheap wetsuit liners that we needed while in Hossegor. Oh what a lovely time we had. But I'd better move on.
--------Get your knitting needles out girls, it's guillotine time!-----
7. So, not only has Bordeaux got the best tram system, longest shopping street, highest tower in southern France and most arty pavement, it's also got the largest square in Europe (12 hectares/30 acres). This is a huge rectangular block that would have been used for all kind of gatherings, including the odd execution here and there. We sheltered under one of the many trees there, in the unseasonal rain, and imagined what such a gathering would have been like. Then, we snapped out of it and went for a beer!
Seriously, though, this area of Bordeaux looks a little uncared for but it's in line for refurbishment and if the rest of the city's anything to go by it should be a success.
8. At the other end of the Esplanade, away from the mirror, there is the Monument to the Girondins - in honour of the people of Bordeaux who were guillotined in 1792, believe it or not. So, you chop their heads off then build a statue for them. Isn't history fascinating?
This is not just a monument though; as we're in France, remember. It is a fountain with incredibly complex statues (65m long, 44m wide and 50m high) that ooze allegory. Liberty, Ignorance and Deceit are amongst the figures represented and you could spend a good while reading the information provided, working out which bit is what. It was a winner with everyone.
-------I'm tired mum, I need a rest mum, can we slow down mum, please mum?-----
9. The answer to that was obviously, "no, go moan to your dad" and ever onward we trotted. But, their begging was not in vain as I walked straight over to an "Open air bus tour" shop and booked us a few tickets for that.
It wasn't entirely an open-air bus. It had a bit of a crummy plastic roof that seemed to spoil the effects of my photos and there were some windows to keep the wind and rain out. It was August remember!
The tour was useful for two reasons. We got to see a lot more of the city, and on both sides of the river, crossing the Pont de Pierre that had caught my husband's eye. We also learned a lot more about the commercial history of the city and about its trade links, being a port and all.
I wouldn't say it was amazing, but the kids would, because they got to go to sleep for an hour. It cost about 10 Euros and 7 Euros for children and I would say that it served a purpose but wasn't particularly good value.
10. Finally, the best part about Bordeaux would have to be the food and wine. I don't think I have to say any more. We ate in several places and drank in several others in our three days. In fact, the tour that we had planned was rapidly modified to revolve around eat and drinkeries. We found that there was something for everyone, even the younger members of our party. We tried steak, chicken, duck, pork and salmon between us, as well as the pizza and pasta that most restaurants seem to serve as a back up anyway. Everything we ate was tasty, not too overpriced and best of all, filling! With cheese to die for, even the non- dessert fans were happy!
I hope I have given you a 'taste' of Bordeaux through some of the things we enjoyed. Of course, Bordeaux has much more to offer its visitors including a vast array of museums, ranging from the one dedicated to wartime resistance to the museum of modern art. There are gardens and quiet spots to enjoy amidst all the activity too.
Bordeaux was a wonderful city, very friendly and welcoming I felt, although, according to the seasoned traveller we returned with, it hasn't always felt that way. There's no doubt about it, the listing as a UNESCO world heritage site will bring millions of visitors to the city (hopefully) and the Bordeaulais seem up for it I'm pleased to say. Until I see you again Bordeaux - at Easter, yippee- I'll love you and leave you.
The best place to visit on the internet is http://www.bordeaux-tourisme.com/ and this provides links to everything you need.
There are lots of great guide books including an in-depth, more sedate Michelin Atlantic Coast book priced at £14.99 ISBN: 2-06-711921-4
There's also a useful Dorling Kindersley book entitled Dordogne, Bordeaux and the South West Coast at £13.99. ISBN: 1-4053-0818-4
I spent a year living in Bordeaux as a European Exchange student (ERASMUS), and I found it a vibrant and lively place with fantastic restaurants, glorious bars and several huge parks. Not to mention a host of museums (including a Renoir in the main art museum), historic monuments and mind-blowing shops. AND it's only a short drive away from some stupendously huge sandy beaches! So I get a bit narked when I read reviews, both on here and on Epinions (where this was originally posted), condemning the town as being drab and grey, and simply fixating on the wine. There is SO much more than wine to recommend this South Western French city! At one stage, the 'grey' criticism would have been fair enough. The old buildings were blackened from fumes, and some streets looked quite depressing. However, around the turn of the century, there's been a massive clean-up campaign, particularly in the city centre, and many of the oldest buildings are shining as if brand new. I did a Final Year project (not, some readers will be relieved to note, a 'brilliant' one) on this restoration and the before and after pictures are so striking that I really must get round to posting them online one day. It was like being in a different town after they'd done each street! Another possible reason for the negative reviews is that there are in fact two city centres in Bordeaux. The first is based around Place de la Victoire, a huge central square with a lot of gaudy bars and Pizza Huts. I'm imagining that this is the place most of Bordeaux's detractors visited. It's the bit that caters almost exclusively for the 'yoof market' and the blatant drug dealing is a real eye-opener. Just take a photo of the pretty arch and get the hell out, even walking slowly is enough to get people trying to buy hash from you. The traffic is also a nightmare in this part of town, as all the buses in the world converge on a nightmare of l
ittle white lines that all the drivers ignore anyway. However, if you wander up the ridiculously busy Rue St. Catherine (apparently the longest pedestrianised street in Europe), you'll come to another City Centre, with the theatres, parks, cinemas and statues. Place Gambetta is also near this area, with much nicer bars, and a side street full of the best kebabs I've ever had. I particularly recommend 'Le Quartier Latin' for great food and friendly service. It's a proper small business, I was there the day they had a massive fire, and they were trading again within a week! Hurrah for stone buildings! Bordeaux's greatest bar, however, is actually quite close to the gaudier Place de la Victoire. The 'Alligator' is a great place, just disreputable enough to be really interesting. With pool tables on the first floor, live music, a great selection of beers and cocktails and friendly staff, the Alligator was my home from home. And you can sit outside during the summer in the pedestrianised area of La Rue Saint Catherine. Being a student, I expected to be living mostly on the kebabs I mentioned above. And I did, for the most part. But there are so many restaurants in Bordeaux that the prices are extremely reasonable, and even top quality restaurants are within the price range of a student or backpacking tourist. Being a port, the seafood is obviously a speciality. I'm not a great oyster fan, but the mussels, prawns, squid, etc, were all fantastic. As an example, the great little pizza place next to my house was offering huge 'Perigourdin' (with bits of wild duck and stuff) pizzas for about four quid. And that was eating in! Despite the fact that I loved almost every minute of my time in Bordeaux, I am aware that it does have a few faults. The one you notice almost immediately is the traffic. Trust me, you're better off walking around the fairly compact city centre than trying to tak
e a car or the bus (although the huge hinged buses are great fun). It'll be quicker. Also, the city centre is almost unique in being largely intact following the war, but the consistency of the architecture can be a little tiring. Oh yeah, the wartime history. Watch this. The locals will tell you that Bordeaux survived unscathed because it was 'of no strategic importance'. This is something of a lie, I mean it's an Atlantic port, for goodness sake! The real reason is that they collaborated their socks off, as it took surprisingly little research to conclude. But just nod and smile. I mean this. There are a huge number of cinemas in the town. Around Place Gambetta, you have the UGC, the Gaumont, and the Jean Vigo (an arthouse cinema, although the distinction is less pronounced in this more enlightened country). There's another one, but it was a bit cack to be honest. By Pey-Berland, there's also Utopia, an old church that's been converted into a gallery and cinema. I spent an awful lot of time there as well, and you can thank these people for my film training. I really would recommend at least one trip to the cinema, not only are French films often fantastic (if you go to Utopia this is guaranteed), but watching subtitled and dubbed films is an excellent way of picking up a language. I couldn't swear in French before I saw an early dub of Pulp Fiction... If churches are your thing, there's at least two or three cathedrals dotted around. My personal favourite is in Place Pey-Berland, and is just next to the Town Hall, so you can cross two attractions from the list at once. While I was last there, the cleaning program stalled at the cathedral, and you can see the contrast between the bit they cleaned and the bit they haven't. It's really striking, although I think I prefer this Gothic monstrosity when it's covered in black sludge, it seemed more imposing. Also around Pey-Berlan
d is a little English-speaking community, if you've had enough of speaking French for a while. An English language bookshop probably won't seem too amazing to you (although you might rethink that if you spend a year there), but the Connemara Irish Pub serves a great pint of Guinness, and you can wash it down with top-notch food, excellent live music and big-screen rugby. The nightclubs are all down towards the docks. I wasn't a great fan of their music, so I stayed in the Alligator, but a lot of my fellow students thoroughly enjoyed the area, especially La Lune. There is also quite a lot of wine about. It's very good stuff, but you should possibly bear in mind that it's just as easy to get it from the supermarket as it is to traipse out to the chateaux. Auchan, near Pey-Berland, has a particularly huge selection. I recommend 'La Perousse'. I mention this as I can't drive myself, I would have loved the chance to visit more chateaux! I hope I've helped restore the balance of opinion on Bordeaux the town. It's not perfect, the traffic is a nightmare, but it does have a lot of atmosphere, and it's easier to cope with than a huge city like Paris. The people are friendly (don't mention the war), the food is cheap and plentiful and, yes, you can buy wine.
Here is another French town I had the chance to visit thanks to sport championships. I travelled mostly all over France and despite the sport event we always a bit of spare time to discover the places we were competing in. Bordeaux has about 214 633 inhabitants and is one major French city. It is in the south Middle West and is part of the Aquitaine region. And once again it is a city of wine, yes here wine lovers will be delighted to stroll into the largest vineyard in the world. The wealth of the Bordeaux wine is huge and you are spoiled for choice. You can easily walk in a wine merchant who will be happy to give advice. You also will have the privilege to have a taste…and believe it is worth it. As in any other opinions here are just few famous wine names: Chateau Medoc, St Emilion, Sauternes, Graves, Cotes de Bourg, Cotes de Blaye, Entre Deux Mers…they all have a controlled label and you can visit the luxurious cellars. It is a sensational experience and you can’t forget the very special smell or shall I say fragrance from the cellars. It has a Celtic origin and was founded between 4th and 3rd century AD and was named “Burdigala”. It has been many times invaded by enemies and became an English territory in 1152. Bordeaux slowly expanded despite fights and grew with prosperity. The harbour “Port de la Lune” (Port of the Moon) took an even more important role in the commercial distribution of wines. It already welcomed ships from around the world since Antiquity. At a later date, France won back the county town in 1453 but it was severely damaged by the war and needed a good restoration work. Bordeaux was the centre of rebellions against religion and royalty. In the 18th, the international markets opening and the colonies settling in gave a boost to the industrial and economical side of the city. It is today very well developed. Architecture and monuments:
-“Port de la Lune” already mentioned above: Gallo-Roman building. -“St Pierre situated on the harbour -“St-Eloi” quarters with picturesque cobbled streets -“Place Royale” -“Theatre” -“Tourny Avenue” -“City Hall”: cathedral and “Rohan Palace” -“St Michel with gothic spires The UNESCO added few monuments to the World Heritage such as Basilicas St Michel, St Seurin, and St Andre. Museums: -Museum of Fine Arts -Museum of Aquitaine -Museum of Decorative Arts -Museum of Modern Arts -Museum des Chatrons and Vinorama: wine exposition -International sailing exhibition -Stamps Museum -And so on Famous people: -Toulouse Lautrec, painter and illustrator -Ausone, roman poet -Michel de Montaigne, philosopher -Charles Louis de Montesquieu, architect of “Siecles de la Lumiere” -Hippolyte, Stendhal, Theophile Gautier -Jules Verne, Emile Zola, Victor Hugo, Richard Wagner, Paul Gauguin, …All of them were astonished by the charm of the city. Here are few attractions possible: -Walking tours -Discover wine producing -Be introduced to wine tasting as a game with blind full on… -Limousine tours -Coach tours -Boat trips around the port -Bicycle tours All year long many events take place: -Festival of urban creations; photos, paintings, sculpture, drawings… -Equestrian exhibition -Carnivals -Vineyards sightseeing -Sports events I have to say I was truly impressed Bordeaux offers so many facilities for disabled. Not only most of the attractions are accessible to wheelchairs but also restaurants and hotels. They all are listed in a guide you can ask at the tourist information centre. The council always take into account the issu
e of handicapped access and try to modernize as much as possible. Bordeaux have every thing you need during a vacation: the cultural sites, historic places, parks, panoramas, nice climate, gastronomic pleasures, nightlife and wine. It is also easy to get to other places of interest still in the same region. And there is a great national football team... Your role is to enjoy all these and to take it easy. It is as simple as that. Your spending money depends on the things you decide to do but in general Bordeaux is not an expensive place and you can thoroughly spend a very agreeable time at affordable prices. Don’t miss out the Cafes as they also part of the French patrimony.
I stayed in Bordeaux for 3 months last year and its great. 40 minutes from the endless beaches of the Atlantic coast and deep in the midst of wine country the city of Bordeaux and surrounding countryside has something for everyone. The main shopping area is the Rue St. Catherine one of the longest shopping streets in the world. It is beautiful. 19th Century architecture down each side and some great shops and now they're improving the pavements. The Grand Theatre is spectacular although works are going on around it at the moment. The waterfront is worth a look too and there are several interesting museums. Night life is really good too thanks to the PLace de la Victoire. This is really lively with loads of bars mainly for the young but great fun. On the waterfront there are loads of clubs too. The surrounding countryside is beautiful and there are plenty of vineyards to choose from. For an interesting and fulfilling short break, come here!
Have you ever wanted to get away from it all and go someplace that is so beautiful that you had to blink to be sure you're not dreaming? Then I suggest going to Bordeaux France. I arrived there on Friday, May 12th and I just couldn't believe my eyes. Nestled in a small valley surounded by vineyards and palm trees is a quaint little village of Bordeaux. The temperature was 80 degrees with low humidity. Take a side trip from Paris to the south west part of France and suddenly you are living in a peaceful and clear time from the past. From the old buildings to the outdoor marketplace you can fill up your spirit and your wine glasses. Go and have a wine tasting party and dine on the rich food served by some of the most friendly people I've ever met. Bordeaux is filled with eye candy as you discover the beautiful Chateaus complete with carraige houses. We stayed in one called TheBot, a white stone building with red shutters complete with a dove tower and a swimming pool. If you want to feel like royalty then this is the place for you. It is a dream come true.
Bordeaux is an excellent place for a long weekend. Situated in the South of France near the atlantic coast it's a great place to go in the spring/summer months. The town is quite near 2 beaches, Arcachon and Lacanau both of which are worth a visit if you can make it. The nightlife in Bordeaux is also great. Place de la Victoire is the main square and you'll find this is crowded with really busy bars. Also worth a look are the Connemara Irsih bar and the Frog and Rosbif - both of which cater for the English speaking clientele. There's a good selection of night clubs on the riverside but watch out it is murder to get a taxi when the clubs come out. Definetly worth a visit!
I went on holiday for three weeks to the Atlantic coast near Bordeaux to a place called Arachon in Aquitaine. This is the place where the french go on holiday, they don't go to the mediterranean because there are too many tourists and it is too expensive. I'm certainly not going to argue with the locals. The climate is very similar during the day to the med as there are more onshore breezes which help you cool down and is good for flying kites.The beaches are virtually empty and the sandy beaches literally stretch for hundreds of miles. The sea is significantly less polluted and smelly, while being a touch colder offers more variety than the mediterranean, be warned though as there is a strong current( there are lifeguards though). To eat and drink out there is just as much to offer except there is significant drop in price and it is very affordable. To get to this part of France is very easy as there is a motorway all the way there. I would recommend this area of France as an ideal alternative to the med, for anyone who is sick of the high prices, over crowding, and polluted sea.
Gironde Department, Aquitaine, France.