Fellow Travellers

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bordeaux - June 18, 19 and 20 2010

I am so enthralled with France and we were lucky to find ourselves in Bordeaux for a long weekend in June.  G had to visit the Parentis office for some meetings so I tagged along (because I was afraid if I let him go on his own he would have drank Bordeaux dry and left nothing for me!).

While he worked on Friday, I drove our cute little BMW mini up to Archacon in the northern part of the province of Bordeaux.  The town is quite touristic but as the season had not started yet and the weather was on the coolish side there were few people around.  Archacon has a lovely "plage" (beach) fronted by a boardwalk lined with restaurants.   The beach was quite charming and I had no trouble picturing myself perched on a sun chair enjoying the sea air.  Behind the plage there are streets lined with shops and many more restaurants to choose from.  I managed to find some beautiful French linen tea towels and some regional specialty foods to take bake to Amsterdam.

The most fantastic site in the north of Bordeaux is the Dune de Pyla which is the largest sand dune in all of Europe.  The easiest way to the top of the dune is via a set of about a 100 stairs.  Once you climb to the top
the expanse of the dune is revealed and you can see both the sea and the forest.  I made my way across the top of the dune and back which took about an hour without reaching the pinnacle!  It's a good workout hiking in the sand for that long!  On the way back I was fortunate to cross paths with a nude man (let's call him "ugly naked guy") which was bit of a shock given all the tourists around.  He made some suggestion of an excuse as to why he was walking across the dune in French, however I was too focused on averting my eyes from his direction I did not hear what he said.   And I certainly was not going to ask!   I returned to Biscarosse for the grand tour with G's work colleagues and we enjoyed a great dinner with friends Friday evening.

On Saturday G and I drove to St. Emilion to see the famous city and do a little wine tasting.  The town was named after the monk Émilion, a travelling confessor, who settled in a hermitage carved into the rock there in the 8th century. It was the monks who followed him that started up the commercial wine production in the area.We arrived a little before noon and promptly booked the 2 pm tour of the St. Emilon's home in a cavern and the underground cathedral in English.  Since we had some time we walked around the town and decided to have lunch at a most delicious restaurant, Le Clos du Roy.  I started with curried mussels (cold), white fish for the main and a strawberry macaroon for desert.....it was all superb!  I love French cooking!

After lunch we joined the tour of the catacombs and cathedral given by a young Japanese woman.  Quel Surpris!  The cathedral was the most spectacular and was carved into the mountain the town was built on.  Today reinforcement have been made to the cave to ensure it does not collapse.  They still hold concerts in the cathedral and occasionally services.  Very unique!

After our tour we did some wine tasting and G did some wine buying (again quel surpris!), then we departed for the city of Bordeaux where we spent our last evening.  We had booked dinner for 8 pm which allowed us to do a little sight seeing along our walk to the restaurant, the Gabriel.  The following morning we also managed a walk about the center and along the river before our flight home.  Very charming, it was somewhat a mini Paris!  There was a fresh food market along the river and everything looked so delicious.  I wished I could have snapped up the fresh scallops or a roasted chicken to take home but wasn't too practical!

Adieu Bordeaux!  Jusqu'à la prochaine fois!

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