Place de a Bourse
Place de a Bourse

When booking my tickets for a long Pentecôte weekend in Bordeaux in the south of France, I had pictured the following:  simmering summer temperatures, white sandy beaches, clear blue skies, perhaps a seaside promenade with an ice-cream in hand?  Et non…  France is suffering from a severe case called le temps de merde at the moment, so the weekend largely comprised of pouring rain, umbrellas and soggy feet.  This was not at all what I had envisaged to experience whilst being in Aquitaine region which shares a border Spain in mid-May…

La Garonne

DSC03211We tried not to let the crappy weather dampen our spirits however, though I’ve got to say hearing that this time last year it was over 25 degrees in Bordeaux was pretty depressing!  After a long and tiring coach journey from Paris down south, myself and Guillaume braved the rain with umbrellas in hand and attempted to adventure around Bordeaux.   Known as «La Perle d’Anquitaine», Bordeaux is well-known as being the world’s major wine industry capital.  Vieux Bordeaux is particularly quaint, including Place de la Bourse, le Pont de Pierre and several churches.  The town’s other major attraction of course is La Garonne, a large river which also runs through Spain.  Whilst Bordeaux is an attractive city, our opinions were slightly hindered by the awful weather and harassment from not so friendly Bordelais.  After dinner in a Brazilian restaurant with live music, myself and Guillaume squelched back to the hotel (Guillaume had found out that day that he had a hole in his shoe, which I found pretty hilarious much to his discontent!)  Whilst we had all intent and purpose to go out clubbing with the group on the Saturday night, we accidently dozed off into a full-blown nap, awaking to realize that we had missed the rendez-vous, oops…

Dune du Pyla

This however meant we were on form to clamber to the top of the Dune du Pyla the next morning after stocking up on croissants and brioche at breakfast.  Being the highest dune in Europe, it boasts an impressive panoramic view of the vast forest Landes de Gascogne and the Bassin d’Arcachon.  Most of us ditched the manmade steps and scrambled to the summit in the sand.  Result: I had half the dune in my boots by the end, I swear.  Guillaume thought it would be a great idea to take an alternative route back down and to adventure into the forest, which, whilst absolutely beautiful, ended in scrapes, stings and worrying if we would ever find the way out.


DSC03231We then made a quick stop in a nearby seaside town, though seeing as the weather was far from ideal nobody was particularly motivated to make the most of its beach.  This was followed by a tour of an oyster farm followed by a dégustation accompanied with white wine, bien sûr.  Despite their rather unappealing appearance and slimy form, I braved it and tried one – not sure if I particularly enjoyed it, though I didn’t feel like spitting it out either!  Quite a few of others (Guillaume and Claudia, who helped themselves to portions others had rejected for example) did not feel so great that evening however – apparently they’re quite hard to digest… We then had an amazing dinner out in a typical French restaurant.  Whilst everyone else had some form of meat that was impressively assembled on some fancy hanging kebab stick (I have no sophisticated way of describing it), I opted for a Camembert salad, which was amazingly large and tasty.

Les huîtres

On the bank holiday Monday, it was time to make the long journey back to Paris.  Our pit-stop was planned at a typical Bordeaux Cave (wine cellar) which gave us a very interesting tour and a degustation of Bordeaux’s finest white and red tipple.  Whilst the lack of sun and abundance of rain was a disappointment, I had one the whole a very enjoyable first stay in the South of France.  I hope the weather lives up to its Mediterranean expectations the next time!


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