First let me tell you one thing for all the wine and food lovers out there it is probably an obvious choice to go to Bordeaux for a weekend full of indulgences. And trust me I went there with those exact intentions. What I did not expect is the absolutely stunning city. So pretty that even burned out Parisians decide to have a second home there or completely relocate to the city at the Garonne.
How did I start my long getaway in the south-west of France? Well as I was staying at a friends place and there was a car available, the first thing we did on Friday was to head to the beach. Instead of going to Cap-Ferret we decided to escape the boiling city to Lacanau. It is located approximately an hour west from Bordeaux and a little paradise for a small beach trip. Cooling down in the ocean-blue water and relaxing in the fine white sand is exactly what I needed. To finish off a perfect day at the beach I can recommend some drinks at The Beach House with an amazing view and nice smoothies, juices or a simple glass or pool of Rosé.
If you thought all I did was hang out at the beach then fear not. I did a decent amount of exploring as well. (According to Matieu’s phone 20km!! of walking on Saturday alone) Anyone who has been to a French city knowS that they just have that special charm, especially the ones in the south of the country. And Bordeaux is no exception when it comes to beautiful old buildings and narrow alleyways, mixed with hundreds of cafés along the way. We started the journey at the Pont d’Aquitaine and walked a little bit on Rue Sainte-Catherine, which is the main shopping street. When taking a couple left and right turns through the little alleys, you will eventually end up at Place de la Bourse. I guess that you could call it THE sight to check out when in Bordeaux. Especially by night with the water mirror it becomes one of the most beautiful places ever. Well, only if there are no kids around that run through the water and ruin your shot. I guess you can’t blame them with 34°C and no sign of a refreshing breeze anywhere. If you want to go to a cute place for a coffee I totally recommend taking a left turn towards the Porte Cailhau and having a Café au lait or whatever you please in one of the Cafés at the Place Saint-Pierre which also marks the Saint-Pierre church off your sights to see at the same time. After our little break we decided to go to my heaven on earth: La Cité du Vin. It is quite a long stroll along the Garonne if you fancy to walk. You might as well take on of the air-conditioned trams that will drop you off right in front of it. Once in there you have have multiple options. Either you buy a ticket and go through the whole museum, ending at the top of it with a view on Bordeaux and a glass of wine of your choice, or you admire the architecture from outside, visit the impressive wine shop on the ground floor and then leave or lastly you go for a fancy dinner/drink at the restaurant in the building. Guess what option I went for?! Exactly! Number 2 is my way of doing things, but once you see the pictures of the wine shop you will know why I did not need more.
Of course you can’t end a day just like that. When in France do as the French do. Meaning for me, sipping some wine on the balcony while eating saucisson and cheese with some baguette. With summer in full speed it also means long days and warm nights which can be best spend at the river with a view on the lit up Place de la Bourse and a nightly stroll through the city. Passing by wonderfully lit up buildings such as the Opéra National de Bordeaux with the Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux on the other side of it. A cute little square to visit by day and night is with out a doubt the Place du Parlament with once again multiple cafés and restaurants around. Also if you love your AOP/AOC you might want to check out an amazing ice cream place called La fabrique Givrée. It has a broad variety of flavours of which I tried Basilic Bio and Citron Verveine, a match made in heaven in my opinion.
Now you might think Bordeaux is only the classic french city, much like Paris. But hold on a second it has actually also a young and fresh face which is not only shown in the north close to La cité du vin but also on the other side of the river. If you cross the Pont de Pierre and walk a good few meters you will end up in Darwin. Put simply the Hipster paradise of the city. All things biological, ecological and super cool. Great to hang out on a Sunday and drink a coffee, have brunch or a glass of wine. Depending how early you are willing to start the last day of the old week. As we were a team of late risers, aka rather stay in bed than move, we went there for a quick stroll and walked back to the classic side to have a little late break. However, if you are a skaterboy or girl, you might want to consider checking out their skate area which looked pretty dope. Coming from someone who has no clue what makes such palaces worth going or not. But they do have a tram in there so that’s not too shabby, is it?
What else is not to miss in Bordeaux? Well, you should also quickly check out the Hôtel de Ville with the Cathedral in the same square. If you feeling extra french the Quartier Saint-Michel with another church and some of the cutest buildings is also great for a stroll. Talking about churches, you will notice that the bell towers and churches themselves are divided and not in one building. Of course they are not spread across too far yet again this was one of the strange things I noticed about the beautiful southern french town. If you are a foodie, you should also not miss out on the Marché des Capucins, I did unfortunately. I guess I have a reason to go again and go on a full on foodie trip!
In general, I would recommend just getting lost in the city and strolling along where ever looks inviting to you. There are so many cute, unique shops that will not disappoint you, ranging from perfume stores to clothes and obviously food. Bordeaux is a beautiful city for anyone who looks for a weekend getaway with a relaxed atmosphere and yet enough to do to not only hang out in your hotel room. (Which is obvs totally fine if that is how you roll) You will have great wine and food, yet plenty of things to choose from in a picturesque atmosphere without the hassle and stress of Paris. I am sure I will be back there some time soon to enjoy the french way of living some more!