12 February 2013

Bordeaux et beaucoup d'eau

I reckon a lot can be said for a place that impresses even in relentless rain. Especially for me - anyone who knows me well can confirm that bad weather has a very negative effect on my mood. The place in question is Bordeaux.

Bordeaux on the other side of the Pont de Pierre

Spending 2 nights in what is commonly referred to as 'Little Paris', I can definitely say it's up there in my top 3 places in France. After arriving late afternoon on Friday with Mike and Sonia, we made our way to our cheap hotel we'd booked, checked in, laughed at the lack of bathroom in our room which was in fact just a frosted shower door that opened straight into the rest of the room, then went to explore Bordeaux's centre. We set out just in time to see the sun going down over the city from the other side of the river, and about 30 seconds after we took obligatory sunset pictures, the sun was gone. 

We arrived at the river's edge just in time to see this gorgeous sunset over the city

Turns out that was our only luck with the weatherman for the whole weekend, as from that point forward the rain pretty much didn't cease. Of course there's only one thing to do when you're out in a city and it's raining, and that is, find a bar or a café. Our watches told us it was most definitely time for alcohol, so we found a cute little place and had an apéro before going to eat in a pizzeria that Mike had recommended from when he had come a few years ago. With 3 courses for 14€ we couldn't go wrong, and my foie gras followed by calzone followed by crème brulée was yummy yummy yummy.

If a calzone is on the menu...I'm having it.
Likewise with a crème brulée

Being in Bordeaux, it would seem illegal not to drink copious amounts of red wine, so we continued to a wine bar, sat down, looked at the wine list of about 500 different wines, naturally chose the cheapest bottle (still 16€...), had a sip each, Sonia and I decided it wasn't too great and we'd propbably had enough wine for the night, and left Mike to finish the bottle. Seeing as Bethan was to be arriving quite early the next morning, we decided to call it a night and walked back to the hotel sporting sexy dark red lips...

Pretty Bordeaux lights on the river at night

Cue the arrival on Saturday morning of everyone's favourite Welsh girl, Bethan... 

...And cue more rain. Saturday was a mixture of shopping, going into cafés to escape the weather, and eating. 

Nutella beignet? Yes please.
Of course, we managed to slip in a bit of sightseeing as well, including going into the Cathédrale Saint-André which was pretty impressive.

The impressive Cathédrale Saint-André with it's humungous organ at the back
The colonnes des girondins

La Porte Cailhau - one of the many medieval gates in the old city walls
Sonia, Bethan and I outside the Cathedral
Being with a Welsh person who is into her rugby, we couldn't not go to the pub and watch the France-Wales game. Having never before liked or understood rugby, I thought maybe this time might be different. But no, I still neither like the game nor understand it. It was quite cool hearing a packed pub sing La Marseillaise together at the beginning though, and was also interesting being the only people supporting Wales...

Having joined up with a few more assistants, we all went for a meal together, where I had one of the most lusciously tender and flavoursome steaks I've ever had, followed by another crème brulée

Steak-frites with Bordelais sauce. Oh my God, salivating simply with the memory

With it being Mike's and Sonia's birthdays this week, and Helena's (another Poitiers assistant who was also in Bordeaux this weekend) birthday on Sunday, it only seemed appropriate to celebrate, so the group expanded and we ended up in some cool pirate bars serving daquiri slush-puppies.

Mike, Bethan and I looking our finest

We perhaps chose the worst moment possible to leave, as there was now an insane amount of water falling from the Bordelais sky, so we highly resembled drowned rats when we arrived back at the hotel after a half hour walk.

A rather damp Bordeaux at night
Brunch on Sunday morning was a very exciting affair. We had been recommended to go to a place called Karl, so we thought we'd give it a try, and I think I can speak on behalf of all the others when I say it was literally the best brunch ever. I had the creamiest oeufs cocottes, Sonia had this amazing fruit salad with granola with fromage blanc platter and Bethan had basically a breakfast Italian antipasto. But I would go there again simply for the bread and jam that they kept readily bringing to the table. And I'm going to stop reminiscing about Sunday morning or else I'll find myself back on the train to Bordeaux before I know it.

Fresh baguette, eggs, ham, fruit salad, granola, cheese, salami, sundried tomatoes, freshly squeezed OJ, jam, honey, nutella...aka brunchtime perfection at Karl's

And now, back in Melle, I have a cold. It was totally worth it though - Bordeaux is gorgeous, the company was brilliant, and the food and drink was superb. I will definitely be returning to this city in the future, although it would be nice to see it in sunshine!

Strange things happen when alcohol is involved
To keep my dad happy: A tram in front of the opera house

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