Bordeaux – February 2016

Andrew had some recuperation days to take by the end of March, so we decided to take a quick trip to Bordeaux in February.  We were hoping that it might be a touch warmer down there than Paris, but alas it ended up being just as cold.  We didn’t really have much rain though so that was a plus!

We took the train down to Bordeaux for our little 4 day weekend.  The trip down went pretty quick, just over 3 hours.  Turns out that in 2017 the train will only take just over 2 hours!  A lot of people working in Paris may end up living in Bordeaux and just take the train to work every day (I would not like that commute).

We took the bus out to the mall (Centre Commercial) in Bègles to look for some crocs for Andrew.  Sadly they did not have his size.  However, we came across this cool bathroom.  Andrew loved it!

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After we took the bus back to Bordeaux, we spent the rest of the afternoon/evening walking around.

This was the symbol of Bordeaux.

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Basilique Saint-Michel was beautiful.  All of the churches/architecture in Europe is amazing.

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This is Pont de Pierre, the oldest bridge in Bordeaux.

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After a longer walk along the river we saw Porte Cailhau.  This was once the main gate to the city.

We popped into Karl for a treat and mainly because I had to use the restroom.  I tried the chocolat chaud viennois.  It was pretty tasty and served in a small bowl.  We also had the canelé pastry.

The Monument aux Girondins was so gorgeous.  This is probably one of my favorite fountains that I have encountered.  This fountain honors the Girondin revolutionaries.

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That night we had dinner at Bistrot L´Exploit.  This meal was amazing and the service was so good!  The lady shook both of our hands when we arrived.  She also knew that we were not fluent in French, but obliged when we wanted to speak in French.  Also, after we had placed our orders she told us that we should not have the duck because we can have it anywhere and that instead we should have the oxtail with foie gras because it was their specialty (and it was cheaper too).  We decided to take her word for it and it did not disappoint!  For dessert we had the soufflé.  Souffler le soufflé!  It was such a great evening.

The next morning, our host prepared a nice breakfast for us.

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Later on we had a walking tour.  It was so cold and windy walking around, but we made it!  The tour was in French and English.  It was a good exercise in listening.  I didn’t take notes during this tour, so I can’t offer a detailed account of what we saw.

That day for lunch we went to Côté Rue based on a recommendation by our host.  They had a set menu offering two courses or three courses.  Andrew and I usually share, but we decided to each get the same thing so that we wouldn’t have to.  I don’t do very well sharing tortellini or ravioli.  This meal was fantastic!

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After lunch, we walked around town for a bit.  This is the Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux.

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We couldn’t resist tasting some macarons.  The flavors we tried were Foie gras/Chocolat, Avocat Vinaigre Balsamique, Canard à l’Orange, and Cassis.  They were all pretty good and the Canard was so interesting!  Definitely tasted like duck.

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Then we sampled another canelé.  This one from Baillardran was better than Karl’s.

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We also popped into The Blarney Stone for a pint and some hot food.  Because that’s what you do right?  You go to an Irish Pub in France…well we sort of had a connection of sorts.  My friend Annie knew the owners.  They were lovely people and the pub was cozy.

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On Friday, we took our host’s advice and changed our plans from visiting Saint-Émilion to taking the train to Arcachon and exploring Dune du Pilat.  Point of this story – always listen to your host!  They usually know best.  We took the bus from Arcachon to the dune.  As I was reading the panel I discovered that they only have the stairs up the dune from April to October.  We would be going up with no stairs!  It was a workout making our way up there, but so worth it!   This was amazing!  We walked the whole thing.

Click here to watch a video of our dune adventures.

Once back in Arcachon, we went to lunch at one of the best crêpe places that I’ve been to so far (Crêpes Club Ty-Coz).  We also tried their chocolat chaud viennois (this one was superior to the one had at Karl).  I wish this place was in Paris.

After lunch we explored the town for a bit.  What kind of dog is that?

On our last day in Bordeaux, we decided to climb Tour Pey-Berland.  229 steps to the top!  We hadn’t climbed anything big for a while (well except for that dune the day before) and we didn’t want to be lazy.  The view at the top was nice.

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We took a walk through Jardin Public.

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All of our walking and climbing worked up an appetite so we decided to head to Marché des Capucins for some grub.  We first had tapas at Maison du Pata Negra.

Then we had local huîtres (oysters) and bulots (sea snails) paired with white wine.  All was delicious!

We purchased some delicious honey and wine at the market to take home.  Afterwards, we walked around for a bit before our train was due to depart.

On the trip home it took about an hour longer because we were on one of the slower trains.  Also, the ride was a bit awkward because we were in one of those cars with eight seats (four facing the other four) and there was no table in between.  It made it a bit difficult to eat the food that we had purchased for the ride.   Andrew thought the car reminded him of Harry Potter (Euro Trip also crossed my mind, but the car wasn’t as classy).

This was such a great, short trip!  Looking forward to what is next 🙂

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