"Bordeaux - a charmer" Bordeaux by sirgaw
Bordeaux Travel Guide: 475 reviews and 1,188 photos
Ever since I heard a funny yarn about an Australian dog on his holidays in France, I've wanted to go to Bordeaux. If you want to read that story, its at the end of the page along with a link if you'd like to take advantage of a great deal from Bordeaux Tourism
However in our research for our trip we wanted to start in Paris and continue through parts of Spain. We decided not to take an overnight train between Paris and Madrid, but rather break up the journey into 2 or 3 legs. Bordeaux came out as a winner for one of the stops - and particularly as the Bordeaux Tourism Board have a special 2 night package which includes accommodation for 2 including breakfast, city tour, winery area tour, transport within Bordeaux and other goodies, starting at 88 Euro per night. Seemed a good deal and is.
The super fast TGV train whisked us between Paris and Bordeaux's St Jean station (gare) in just over 3 hours, we got off the train and then searched for transport to get to the tourism office where we had to pick up our vouchers - the branch office of the bureaux is at the rail station and the very helpful staff made the necessary arrangements for us to be issued with our tram tickets valid for 2 days - great way to get to see a city from the modern tram system that criss-crosses Bordeaux.
We got to the Tourism Office and received our package of goodies and told how to get to our hotel - all done by tram. Checked into the Ibis Hotel and then set off to explore some of the city before dinner - again the tram seemed the best option, so we grabbed one heading anywhere, went to the end of the line and returned to the city for a bit of a walk around and then went to the buffet dinner at the hotel. It had been a long day, so early to bed.
The tour of Bordeaux was in 2 parts - firstly by coach that took us to the various sections of Bordeaux - and what a magnificent city it is. We were shown the World War 2 German U Boat bunkers built on the side of a harbour - a dark, sinister looking building that had about 20 pens for U Boats. It was so solidly built that the Allied bombers were unable to destroy it, then more of the tour through the harbour area and then back into the city. Off the bus for the second part of the tour - a walking tour lead by a real dynamo of a local tour guide in both English and French. We learnt of some of the history of Bordeaux and how it was almost part of merry England. The wine trade made sure of that - and to think the English have been whining about it ever since.
When the tour concluded we decided to walk around the old part of the city and browse around. Great to be in such a compact city - makes it so much easier for new comers. We got on and off a few more trams with our all inclusive tram pass and ended up in a small street cheek-by-jowl full of little cafes and restaurants almost under the shadow of the Hotel de Ville, or city hall in English. We were amused that the French should call their principle city offices "hotel" and wondered what lay ahead.
The following day we started off a little late as we knew it was to be a late finish with the winery tour, so after the buffet breakfast we walked to the nearby Merideck Centre - a modern shopping centre surrounded by modern offices - this was the new centre of Bordeaux. The usual run of businesses within a shopping centre - including a great little place to try and buy pate. Now this is one of my major weaknesses in life - pate - and the Madam le Pate seemed to know she had a good sale - suppose my tongue lolling around my ankles was a good sign. It was expensive but it was GOOD - and that with a baguette was lunch. Our pass to Bordeaux included a number of museums and we decided to brush up on our culture at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux - see separate tip.
We just had time to get to the tourism office for our pick up by coach for the winery tour and this was our first experience on the rural French roads, which reminded us of the sort of scenery we'd seen on the televised Tour de France - narrow main roads almost overhanging with ancient buildings - every town seemed to have its own chateaux and vineyards stretching to the horizon, a true wine lovers paradise.
We were taken to 2 different wineries - The Chateaux Giscours and the Chateaux Lanessan and given full run of the houses - well not quite as our tour group could have done a lot of damage in the cellars if we'd been armed with corkscrews. Back onto the coach and time for another look at a magnificent chateaux (photographed) and our by then merry group headed back to the city of Bordeaux.
It was at the last winery we were told we could keep the tasting glasses - long stemmed beauties embossed with the name of the winery. They would have looked good in our home, but there was the real problem of transporting them back to Australia with another 15 cities to visit, however we had met a couple from Belgium who had almost no English and my wife's school leant French from all those years ago was really not the best for such situations. We decided to donate the 2 glasses in their presentation bag with an added by pen Australian "flag" to the couple. "Cadeau" I quickly learnt the French word for present. The more than 60 plus couple accepted with many "merci's" that we understood.
We were hoping to get back to our hotel as we had a bottle of Bordeaux wine to drink - compliments of Bordeaux Tourism - but the couple from Belgium had other ideas. We were almost marched by them to a nearby wine bar and the drinks were on the Belgium's, "Non, non," we protested and so the system of Australian "shouting drinks" was ignored. We enlisted the aid of the waiter - a Briton - who was fluent in French and English to help us in our hour of need to try and buy a return round of wine, but the Belgium was not listening. I'm sad to report that the Belgium won, but he cemented another international friendship.
A little worse for the wine we got back to our hotel and then had to convince the restaurant staff to allow us to drink the bottle of Bordeaux red on the premises. More international friendships were formed as the young waitress - a German - was quite happy to help out - hic
I promised you the little yarn - There was an Aussie dog on his holidays in France and was trotting along the Champs Elysees when he was spotted by 2 gorgeous French Poodles. After the usual sniffing of private parts one of the Poodles introduced herself - "Ello hansom, my nome is Fi Fi, which is spelt F I F I." The other Poodle quickly added, "Oui, my nome is Mi Mi, spelt M I M I."
Our Aussie replied "Bewdy Luvs, my name is Fido, which is spelt P H Y D E A U X."
Now you can see why I wanted to get to Bordeaux. If you are, the Office of Bordeaux Tourism has a great special and I just hope they continue with it
The next morning we left Bordeaux and put on our bull fighting gear for our entry into Spain - oh lay!
The fine arts museum of Bordeaux is rated as one of the top 10 in France. Although small it does have a very good... more travel advice
sirgaw's Related Pages
Bordeaux Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "A Surprisingly Interesting City"
- "Bordeaux - La Belle Au Bois Dormant"
- "Bienvenue a Bordeaux"
- "Bordeaux Historic and wine city"
- "One day sure wasn't enough"
- "Bonjour! Bourdeaux, France!"
- "BORDEAUX A LA UNE"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Bordeaux
- Hotels in Bordeaux
- Transportation in Bordeaux
- Nightlife in Bordeaux
- Restaurants in Bordeaux
- Shopping in Bordeaux
- Warnings and Dangers in Bordeaux
- See All...
Explore the World
Badges & Stats in Bordeaux
- 3 Reviews
- 6 Photos
- 7 Forum posts
- 2 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (32)
Have you been to Bordeaux?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Bordeaux
Photos in BordeauxSee All Photos (6)
Top 10 Pages
- Melbourne Intro, 36 reviews, 111 photos
- Darwin Intro, 11 reviews, 51 photos
- Sydney Intro, 17 reviews, 41 photos
- Cooktown Intro, 13 reviews, 42 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Port Douglas Intro, 11 reviews, 41 photos
- Belgrave Intro, 3 reviews, 48 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Margaret River Intro, 13 reviews, 33 photos
- Kakadu National Park Intro, 9 reviews, 37 photos
- Cairns Intro, 9 reviews, 33 photos
- Hong Kong Intro, 12 reviews, 26 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (21)
Latest Bordeaux hotel reviews
- Relais De Margaux Golf & Spa Hotel Margaux
- 32 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 2, 2013
- Hotel de Seze
- 41 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 2, 2013
- Hotel de Normandie
- 45 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 18, 2013
- Clemenceau Hotel
- 73 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 2, 2013
- Hotel Chateau Grand Barrail
- 92 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 14, 2013
- Best Western Grand Hotel Francais
- 58 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 9, 2013
- Mercure Bordeaux Chartrons
- 100 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 28, 2013
- Teneo Hotel
- 23 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 5, 2013
- Citadines Bordeaux Meriadeck
- 44 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 23, 2013
- Le Provencal Bordeaux
- 12 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 21, 2013
- Ibis Bordeaux Centre Meriadeck
- 97 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 16, 2013
- Quality Hotel St. Catherine
- 284 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 21, 2013
- Chateau Cordeillan Bages
- 53 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 1, 2013
- Hotel California Bordeaux
- 26 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 31, 2013
- Hotel Alton
- 29 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Aug 10, 2013