The sun is always inviting. And they say that it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, and also in Bordeaux! so, with the promo ticket – buy one for two (me and cheap ticket…:p), me and my friend Violetta decided to visit the city, to have a coffee break.
Left at dawn (earlier than 8 am is always dawn to me) – around 6h45 from Gare Montparnasse, and we passed the 3.5 hour trip on the train sleeping. Woke up to vineyards view was thrilling (and made me thirsty), and we arrived safely at Gare Bordeaux St. Jean at snacking time.
It wasn’t really a discovering holiday, but really was just a coffee break outside Paris. We decided to have quick late lunch, and we found PHO, an asian restaurant at rue Pas Saint Georges, near the intersection strip of cafés of Place Camille Jullian. The Chicken caramel, chicken pop corn and pho, were not bad, and they have it in XL portion as well with 2 euros more. Not bad!
The sun was bright, despite the cloud here and there, but the cold wind struck us. The city centre is nice, but the breeze is not, especially when we’re not prepared for the autumn clothes since it’s already spring!
However, I managed to wear my new sunglasses, and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee at Place Camille Jullian, with the view of typical buildings, and beautiful people passing.
We didn’t pass a lot of time to go sight seeing, but just like in any city center, the shopping areas are not far! It was Monday, but rue St. Catherine was quite busy with people. I saw on trip advisor that the place was recommended street to go, but I didn’t think so. There’s nothing special with the particular street, unless that you need to shop for something. It wasn’t too branded shops either, but not bad for just window shopping. Other than that…I guess rue St. Rémi hid more beautiful gems. Well, there’s the place for everyone’s need and taste!
My suggestion…while you are in Bordeaux, act like bordelaise – and drink wine! :-)))
If you don’t have much time (like us), stay in the city center is a good idea, and everywhere is within walking distance – Place de la comédie, where there’s the Grand theatre, the bars, hotels with best bar in town, hôtel de ville or city hall with its Cathéderale St. André, Temple du Hâ, and notably, Place du Palais, beautiful area of St. Pierre Church…
My one fave area in the central is Place de la Bourse – one historic monument built in 1730-1775 (yes, 40 years). It used to be part of fortress in the Middle Age era, and destructed in the French revolution period. It stands long with three different parts overlooking the Garonne river. Now it has mirroir d’eau or water mirror just in front of the building, and at the good clear time weather, the lights under the water will glow giving the grandiose reflection of the huge building. Too bad, the cloudy and rainy day ruined my intention of making a that famous post card photo. But I could catch a nice day water reflection photo though despite the lights off.
Seine river is Paris is one of my sanctuary, so looking at Garonne river in Bordeaux gave me the same romantic feeling. And if Seine divides Paris into left bank and right bank, Garonne does the same. So the places I mentioned above, are all located in the left bank, whilst the other great – mostly new built – hip – places are now flourishing in the right bank.
We had dinner in the right bank, at Siman, a very nice restaurant recommended by a friend who works there. A cosy place, great place for apéro, inside and outside (the big terrace is overlooking Garonne river – and perfect for a party!!). We blamed for the France weather in general – where spring tasted like early winter, the wind blew quite hard outside, made it not only breezy, but rather cold, so we had to be content to be seated inside, in the nice lounge like restaurant (by the big window by the way, so it wasn’t a disappointment at all). We had a great time there, quick and friendly servers (and not a friendly fake ones like in snob upscale parisian restaurants..), not so expensive (I know price is relative, but we have to be apple to apple comparison to the same type of restaurant in Paris), and the food is good! I do recommend the black burger (with foie gras in it…). Melting in the mouth!
In terms of the city transportation, I didn’t find it too complicated. since we stayed in the centre, and only hung out in the city, so we took only the tram that goes across the centre and to other parts of the city (and bit to the edge of suburbs). It took me only a couple of hours to get the orientation of the tram direction. Or walking. Not bad, I’m quite proud 🙂
Apart of modern lounge restaurant with the view, we wouldn’t miss confit de canard (duck confit), foie gras – as they are local specialties of south west areas, and canelé, a sweet desert. We walked across rue Saint Rémi and found our happiness at one of the brasserie there – Brasserie Bordelaise. So, duck, come to my stomach, along with the many glasses of sweet white wines of Gascogne and St. Emillion!
It was the same time of SNCF strike, and there was almost no train go from South West to Paris, but the relaxed atmosphere, good food and drinks (I didn’t count how many times we stopped by for coffee, goûter (snack) and wines) reassured us, just in case we didn’t get the ticket back to Paris the next day. ..:-)
Bordeaux, I’ll be back, when the sun returns! this time, the route is to the vineyard and beach!