I spent the most of my day in Bordeaux on Monday, and all I drank was 2 bottles of water plus a coffee.
On the other hand, I must have swallowed a tanker load of Bordeaux wine over the years. I’ll get by.
Last week I realised I’ve been to most large cities in France, except Bordeaux. I’ve been to plenty places in the Bordeaux area too – Duras, Ste Foy la Grande and so on. I looked at train times and prices. Then I booked.
2 hours on the TGV from Toulouse. It isn’t dedicated TGV track, so the train just meanders along like an overpowered express. Time to see the countryside as a result – not possible at 200 kph!
I nodded off after an hour or so, and woke up to vineyards as far as the eye could see on both sides of the train. Getting close, I guessed.
The city is lovely. I had no idea what to expect – hadn’t even bought a guide book until I arrived. I bought the smallest and cheapest one I could find in the station bookshop – Lonely Planet’s Bordeaux en Quelque Jours (€8.99).
That wee guide book was a godsend. It gave me 2 walking tours which just suited me perfectly.
I’d go back anytime. A few boozy lunches or dinners (or both) would be ideal – I saw lots of places I wanted to go into so badly.
Trouble was my SNCF ticket meant I had to be on the 15.47 back to Toulouse or pay a whopping administration/upgrade fee.
Seeing Montaigne’s house was a slight shock to the system. His Essais were required reading at some stage of my student life, and I’d hoped he was in my past.
One word of warning about the guide book’s excellent walking tours. I didn’t read them in advance, obviously. At one point while following the first one I noticed some ladies sitting on chairs in a quiet, narrow street. I thought it was odd. Then I read that the street is the preserve of prostitutes “of a certain age”.
Keep your wallets well hidden, boys.
© iain taylor 2015