A sisterly city trip to Bordeaux

or how to survive in hot weather when you are used to Scotland !

My sister and I have a beautiful, beautiful relationship. Except when we have to decide where to go on our annual sister-time break. Every year it’s slightly nightmarish, as we do not have the same ideas when it comes to travelling. My sister and her boyfriend go every year to some European country, a trip organised by the same travel agency and do not really get involved with the planning. I love planning the journey as much as actually travelling, so we started with a fundamuntal difference in expectations.

My sister has an unbelievebly long list of “must have” before she actually agrees on the destinations, which ruled out every single destination by plane we envisioned. So we took the train. As we live quite close to the French border, it’s fairly easy for us to use the TGV, and be half a country away in 5 to 6 hours. So Bordeaux it was.

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We only took a small trip there, only 3 days, which is far than enough when you do not have the slight interest in wine. (Why we chose this city remains a mystery to me). But a beautiful city indeed.

As we had planned very little beforehand, we decided to walk everywhere and see what we thought was nice and where we wanted to stay. While not a terrible idea, it was not a very good one either, for two reasons.

First, we found a very cute street (filled with shops and bistrots and stuff) on our journey back, without enough time to actually explore it, while we did the same street at least four times when we were there ! The (not so hidden) gem is the neighbourhoood around the “Place Fernand Lafargue”, if anyone wants to try it out and tell me all the great things we have missed on.

Second, while I really enjoy getting lost in a city as a way of exploration, it’s a very bad idea to do so when it’s sooooooooo hoooooooooot. Really. Bone melting hot while we were there. The “coldest” temperature we had while there was 35° ! We actually saw a chemist’s office annoncing 40°. There is a reason why I travel in Scotland and stuff. I hate hot weather. No, I might enjoy hot weather when you are at your friend’s private swimming pool and stuff, but not when you are planning to sightsee.

But, because there’s a silver lining to every overly hot situation, Bordeaux number 1 attraction, the Miroir d’Eau, saved us all.

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Miroir d’Eau

This is quite lovely. The reflection of the beautiful architecture in this water miror really gives something more to the city.

And with this hellish temperature, we were not the only ones to enjoy it !

 

We also spend quite a lot of time shopping, in the Rue Sainte Catherine, which –  apparently – is the longest pedestrian street in the world. I remain doubtless about that, especially because I haven’t checked the fact and I might be misremembering.

We ate a lot. The Place du Parlement has a really hipsterish brasserie, with a kitchen open pretty much all day,  called Karl. This was quite weird as I do not know whether to recommand it or not. The food was good quality and not too expensive, but the staff was, let’s say, not very friendly. I guess I’m unfair, only one guy, I believe the manager, was quite rude. My sister and I did commit the capital offense of sitting at a table for 4 (which was very small, in our defence) which led the guy to run and not so nicely moves us to… a table for 6. (3 tables of 2 next to each other, OK, but we still remained just the two of us on this very long table for the vast majority of our meal). But still, regardless of that, good food, nice staff (very cute waiter — not the grumpy one), and good price/quality ratio, so I would recommand it. Beware of where you sit though !

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Place du Parlement

I would also recommand two ice cream parlors, which are quite nice, located a throw-stone away from the Place du Parlement, La Maison du Glacier, and another one which I cannot find anywhere ! It’s the second to last shop to your left when you walk the Rue du Parlement Saint Pierre to the Place Saint Pierre. It’s really annoying that I don’t remember the name of the icecream parlor because the woman who works there is very nice and helpful. You can taste a sample before making your choice, which is very helpful when you want to try something different you are not sure you will like.

As for the accommodation, we had rented a Airbnb flat in the neighbourhood of the Gare Saint Jean. Which is a, how should I put it, very colourful neighbourhood. Between hobos and sex shops, you, strangely, cannot really feel at home. But, very close to both the station and the city centre, so I guess it was fine for a couple of days. The flat was very nicely furnished and confortable, so I guess it was not that bad.

As a whole, it was a very good trip, Bordeaux is a beautiful city, very young and where you cannot get bored, but I would only recommand a short trip if you do not plan to leave the main city. I was told that visiting a wineyard or two might be interesting if you are interested in that sort of thing (trips are organised by several companies, ranging from 35 to 100 euros, roughly)

 

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