Hello and welcome to the first of seven (yes, you read that right!) vacances de printemps recap posts! MTC has made a comeback and he joined me again for my grand tour du sud (which has been my dream trip since I was admitted into TAPIF back in May!). We visited seven major cities and had plenty of pit stops along the way; please enjoy recap post number one, featuring a weekend spent in Bordeaux, France!
Vendredi 6 avril 2018
I’ll be honest: our first day of vacation was nothing special. We left Clamecy around 13h00 and spent 5 1/2 hours in the car, which consisted of me editing an essay for a friend, eating a glamorous sandwich lunch, and reading Harry Potter.
We made it to our Airbnb around 19h30 and after getting settled, we planned out our Saturday and Sunday itinerary, ate dinner (we packed a lot of food to bring with us so we wouldn’t have to eat out every meal), watched some Jessica Jones and Big Bang Theory, and hit the hay (I told you day one was nothing special!).
Samedi 7 avril 2018
On Saturday morning, we had breakfast at the Airbnb, got ready for the day, and headed out on the town! Our Airbnb wasn’t actually in Bordeaux, but instead in a suburb just outside the city, so we had to take the tram (a first for me, given our tendency to walk everywhere!) into Bordeaux. We arrived at the centre ville about half an hour later and made our way to the tourism office to pick up a map. We decided to follow the “UNESCO Heritage Tour”, a self-guided, walking tour of all the major monuments in Bordeaux.
It only takes two hours and if you don’t make pit stops into little boutiques like we did, you could probably get it done faster!
Right before lunch, we were walking down the street between monuments and found a small olive oil and balsamic boutique – just looking in the window from the street had us sold on a quick visit! Once inside, the shopkeeper let us taste five or six of their olive oils and balsamic vinegar, in addition to three different types of spreads.
MTC and I both ended up making purchases (ginger and honey balsamic for me, an amazing parmesan, hummus inspired spread for him, plus a small container of spices for his dad)*
*These details may seem irrelevant but I promise it will make sense as to why I included them in a few minutes!
After finishing part one of our tour, we decided to look for a nice lunch spot. We had seen two different English/Irish pubs during our walk and MTC, knowing I didn’t get to eat fish and chips during my trip to the UK like I wanted, thought we should give it a shot. The first place (Charles Dickens) was a bust because it was just a bar and not a full restaurant, so we ended up at option number two, Sweeney Todd’s.
We both ordered a beer and fish and chips and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!
After lunch, we headed back to the Tour Pey-Berland (a stop on the UNESCO tour that was closed when we arrived) for a visit. With the pass d’education, it’s free to visit, so we took advantage of the opportunity and climbed up to the top! A word of warning if you ever visit: because the staircase going up is so narrow, the only let a handful of people in at one time. Henceforth, unless you are in the first group of visitors to arrive when it opens, there is a high chance you will have to wait at least a few minutes to walk up. It’s worth it thought – the view does not disappoint!
At this point, what had started out as a cloudy, cool day had turned into a nice rain shower, so MTC and I were ready to take refuge indoors. We walked the mile or so to the Musée du vin (not to be confused with the Cité du vin – similar idea but also very different museums!) for a visit. For 10 euros (or 5 euros if you’re under 26 or have a pass d’education), you get the visit the museum (located in an old wine cave) and enjoy a degustation of two different Bordeaux wines. If you are looking for something wine-related to do in Bordeaux but don’t want to drop the money on the 20 euro ticket into the Cité du Vin, this is a very nice alternative.
The young woman who was running our degustation was really engaging and I was able to learn a lot about the wine made in the Bordeaux region. We tasted a white and red option, both of which were quite delicious 🙂
Okay, do you remember how I talked about the souvenirs we had bought earlier in the day? This is where those details come into play. After the museum, we were walking back toward the centre ville to visit one more church before heading back to the Airbnb when MTC (who was carrying the bag with the souvenirs) switched the bags he was holding in his hands, only to notice that, because of the rain, the bottom of the bag had torn and all the souvenirs had vanished. After calling to make sure that nothing was left inside the museum itself, we decided to back-track toward the museum to see if we would be able to find any of our things on the street.
After walking for a few minutes, MTC spotted one of our brochures on the sidewalk, accompanied by the magnet he bought for his sister. Feeling optimistic after finding item #1, we kept searching and power-walking to find the others. Right outside the museum, we found our map laying in the middle of the street and nearby, the figurines that MTC had bought and my bottle of balsamic vinegar. Miraculously, the glass bottle was still intact and nobody had run over it with their car. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find the spice container or the parmesan spread anywhere but to just find three of the items was a success in itself.
After our grand investigation, we decided to take the tram back to the city center because we couldn’t be bothered to walk in the rain any longer. We quickly visited the Basilica before hopping back on the tram toward the Airbnb.
We made it back to our Airbnb and spent a bit of time relaxing/watching Big Bang Theory before heading across the street for dinner at Basile. I ordered an (unpictured – sorry!) warm goat cheese salad and it was everything I needed after spending all day walking around Bordeaux in the rain.
Once back at the apartment, I had a tea, we watching more Big Bang Theory, and it was lights out for the both of us.
Dimanche 8 avril 2018
After doing all the normal morning-routine things and packing up the car, MTC and I headed to the Cité du Vin for a visit.
Even though it’s a bit expensive for a museum and a tasting, it is absolutely worth it! The museum is unbelievably modern and you could easily spend 4+ hours there if you visited absolutely every part of the exhibit. I didn’t take any pictures inside the museum itself – it is something you need to experience in person to get the full effect.
At the end of our visit, MTC and I headed up to the top floor for our degustation. It is so chic and the view from up there is just as lovely.
We both decided to try a wine from outside of France – he chose a white wine from Cyprus and I chose a red from Moldavia. Both options were so good!
After our 3 1/2 hour visit to the Cité du Vin, we headed back to the car, ate our packed lunches, and headed to destination #2: Toulouse!
Thanks for reading and check back soon for post number two!
Until next time,