Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bordeaux

After leaving Rocamadour, we headed north then west to Bordeaux. It was going to be a couple of hours of driving so Jacques and I shared the wheel. I happened to be driving when we reached the city so I had to follow the orders of our GPS to finally find our B and B.
It was called, Le Cosy B and B. We drove into the garage next door to the BandB. It was the largest garage I've seen in France. It seemed to have been a warehouse or something in its past. It had a glass roof and plenty of parking squeezed into any available space. The B and B itself was on a residential street in the city but was very comfortable and welcoming. Amazingly it had a pool in the back area which seemed totally out of place with the neighborhood.

Bordeaux is fairly large but the city center is relatively small, at least compared to Paris. We took the Tram near the BandB or walked the 2.5 miles to center each day. The night of our arrival we roamed the City Center looking for somewhere interesting to eat dinner.

Grand Hotel Bordeaux near the Grand Theatre.


Walking back to the tram after dinner.

The next morning, we set out on a 2 hour tour that Judy arranged, starting at the Office du Tourisme next to the Grand Theatre. Our guide spoke English and French. He said he would speak English to the "English speaking peoples" while walking then go to French when he stopped. I wasn't too impressed with his tour at the beginning. He spoke very quickly and he was hard to hear. Once he started in French he was much more animated. He used a lot of sound effects, like in a cartoon, when explaining some of the history of the city and its people.

For example, "he was against the king so they cut off his head, THWAACK!"
"they didn't kill him but he had to keep his mouth shut, MMMMMPH!
"they built new residences very quickly, BRRRUIPP!
"and they tore down the old ones, SCHLACK!"

or something like that. He was pretty amusing.

Here we are outside the old church of Notre Dame. It is about 1000 years old. No kidding.


Here the guide explains how there are two Place Royales, one for the former king and one for the current king (at the time).


After the tour, we had lunch at Gabrielle where I had a delicious Cod dish. It was pretty small but fantastic. The presentation of each meal is really something.



From there we walked a couple of miles to the Cite du Vin, a new Wine museum along the river. Very impressive architecture.


The banks of the river La Garonne were expanded and converted to a walkway and old warehouses were converted to restaurants and shops. The walkway went for miles in each direction from the center of town. We capped off the day with a good meal in a well known brasserie called Brasserie Bordelaise.

The next day, we visited the Decorative Arts Museum. On our way we stopped at the Cathedral of St Andre next to the Hotel de Ville. It dates from the 11th century.

Interior of St Andre's Cathedral
  1000 year old columns in the church.

Here is the tram heading for the Hotel De Ville from Place Gambetta.


The Musee des Arts Decorativs is mostly furniture but also had a small exhibit of menus and plans from official state dinners. We got to see who sat next to Jackie Kennedy in 1961. Guess who? Answer below...
 Instead of a rope to indicate not to sit in a chair, there is a piece of thistle. That will keep you from sitting down.

I was admiring this antique harp when the docent came over to talk to me. She said, "get off the rug".
That night we ate at Chez Meme and had a terrific meal. This is a French version of Ribs. It was mouth wateringly good.
Judy had this unique version of a typical French meal called Pot au Feu. Not exactly what any of us expected for this typical dish. Usually the meat and vegetables are in the bowl, not sitting on a bone. Judy called it "deconstructed" Pot au Feu.


Next day, up early and on to Paris

Answer: Charles De Gaulle (who else?)

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