I am one of those lucky people that have a relative in another county, in this case, it’s my dad. He lives in South West France in the Charente – Cognac & wine country.
Endless fields of grapevines and sunflowers adorn the views for as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately, I only get to visit once a year due to working full-time and my desire to travel somewhere new as often as possible. Anyway, more on my dad’s place in a later blog post.
This year we decided to spend 24 hours exploring Bordeaux first before heading back to his house, which is about one and a half hours away.
Inspired by Rick Stein’s City Breaks, we aimed to visit all the main tourist sites in just one day. We attempted to get the bulk of them done in the AM while it was still cool enough to walk round. It reached 38 degrees that day!
First up was Place de la Bourse, this is a beautiful incredible spectacle. Opposite the Miroir d’Eaua – which is a flat water feature – with kids and adults playing in. You can see from the picture below what this water feature creates… A beautiful reflection of the building against the reflective water surface.
17 Place de la Bourse,
Next up was the Monument aux Girondins, many events are held here, such as circus, concerts, etc this was even one of the main fan zones during the recent Euro football championships. A huge open space, with a towering monument which was built between 1894 and 1902 to commemorate the Girondists.
Monument aux Girondins,
Bordeaux is a beautiful, clean, friendly city with incredible ancient architecture. Therefore walking through the narrow quieter streets was as enjoyable as going to the main tourist sites. Endless boutiques and independent cafes with French locals enjoying their summers morning.
Getting around in Bordeaux is super easy, there are three tram lines that you can buy an all day ticket for €4.80 euros and jump on and off all day. Great for efficiently getting around the city.
By this time we were hot and beginning to feel hungry. Bordeaux, like most of France, has an abundance of cafes and restaurants to eat at, so it wasn’t hard to find a typically French one, situated outside a beautiful cathedral. Perfect to enjoy an ice cold beer and enjoy some French food.
Le Grilladin Saint Pierre,
5 Place Saint-Pierre,
Refreshed, fed and eager to carry on exploring we hopped back on the tram and took in some more sights, jumping off and strolling along the river Garonne. Runners, skateboarders and cyclist whizzed past as we occasionally stopped to take in the breathtaking French architecture.
Bordeaux is a port city situated in southwestern France – known famously for its wine, but this isn’t all Bordeaux has to offer. Aside from its beautiful architecture, this city has beautiful public gardens lining the curving river quays, perfect for picnicking.
It was getting late so we retreated back to our hotel to get changed for tonight. The hotel was the Mercure Cite, a beautiful glass building in the old town with an incredible roof terrace that had great views of the city.
3 Place Du Parliament
Changed and ready, we headed to “Parliament Square” which is recommended by most travel blogs as the place to be at night. Not quite hungry yet, mainly due to the heat we decided to visit a bar which had live music and a reputation for a lively friendly atmosphere.
The bar was called the “House of Parliament” and was kitted out, as you can imagine, in traditional English decor in what must have once been a wine cellar. The bar had every cocktail and shot you could imagine and the atmosphere did not disappoint. The curved stone ceilings created amazing acoustics for the live band playing.
We nipped back out to Parliament Square which was alive with people eating, laughing and conversing over their meals. It was a great atmosphere. We sat right in the middle at a French Bistro, my dad opted for the traditional Moules et frits. Myself, recommended by the waiter, a pork dish followed by a creme brûlée – my favourite!
After a truly great meal, we went back to the bar where the music was in full swing, people dancing to the jazzy/rock sound. We stayed here for a few hours before jumping back on the efficient tram service that showcased Bordeaux’s main attractions now lit up – eventually dropping us off at our hotel.
A truly memorable 24 hours, a tiring experience but one that will be cherished for my time spent discovering a new city just my dad and I. Something we rarely get the chance to do.
Until next time, au revoir.