I first heard about the French city of Bordeaux from its famous football club (‘famous’ could be a bit of an exaggeration these days; a quick check with Google reveals that the club is languishing at the bottom of the French Lique 1). During the time I have spent in Europe (increased appetite for booze and wine), Bordeaux took on a separate meaning of being famous for its vineyards.
Neither warrants a reason sufficient to plan for a visit (forget the wine, bring on the lager instead!).
The next stop on my itinerary was Toulouse, where I plan to use as a base to visit the nearby cities of Albi and Carcassonne. The train route from Chenonceaux proved quite stubborn, with Bordeaux being the obnoxious road block to my eventual destination. I had to relent.
Bordeaux turned out to be a tingling warm (quite literally) pleasant surprise.
The city is probably best described as being ‘livable’. Its streets are sprawled with joggers, cyclists and roller-bladers competing for road space with the hapless walkers. Facing the rather lacklustre view of the Garonne River, Bordeaux is blessed with excellent weather (if the day and a half I spent there is any indication).
(P.S: Take the last sentence with a pinch of salt. Having lived in London for a year, a place where any decent bout of sunshine might as well be declared as a national holiday, my expectation for ‘good weather’ is very, very low indeed).
It is difficult to pinpoint a single blockbuster tourist attraction in the capital city of the French Aquitaine region. However, its old town is a fantastic place to lose your directions in and to people watch. It might be worth noting that after Paris, Bordeaux has the most number of buildings on heritage protection in France. The city is also listed on UNESCO for its outstanding urban and architectural ensemble.
Because of the curved shape of its port, Bordeaux is also known as the ‘Port of the Moon’- aptly called in my opinion, as the city is most beautiful at night. Place de la Bourse, while painfully ordinary during the day, treats the patient onlookers with surprisingly spectacular sights when the sun sets.
I left Bordeaux sunburnt and satisfied. Heading toward the sunny French Riviera, I am full of hope.