Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bordeaux, part trois

A trip to the region wouldn’t have been complete without a stop in Bordeaux itself. Due to our late arrival on Friday however, this visit was delayed to Sunday, and had to be cut much shorter than I would have liked, to complete the 4 hour drive back to Clermont-Ferrand. My parents-in-law had an early flight back to Latvija the next morning, Roberts had to prepare for work, and Lauris’s naptime was best utilized in the car, not while sightseeing.

I had not found parking information in any of the maps I had looked at, so it was with some trepidation that I directed Roberts into the downtown area. Luckily there were quite a few parking areas available (although finding them is another matter!) and we managed to make our way to one within a block of Église Notre-Dame, built between 1684 and 1707. A service was taking place, so I only peeked in, but the interior stonework was as impressive as promised by tMg. Although awarded one star, I felt that a visit to Cathédrale St-André would have been a better use of the limited time we had, from the quick glimpse I caught driving past it on the way into the city center. The same was with the Grand Théâtre (awarded two stars by tMg), it wasn’t as impressive from the outside as I suspect it would have been from a tour of the interior; I read that there is a chandelier with 14,000 drops of Bohemian crystal hanging in the auditorium.

Our luck turned with our arrival in Place de la Bourse. The beautiful Three Graces Fountain in the middle of the square was gushing pink water and sporting pink ribbons in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but this didn’t diminish the view of the grand Stock Exchange (after which the square is named) and National Customs Museum. We crossed the street to the miroir d’eau, a giant reflecting pool right next to the Garonne river that alternates between 2cm of water and a fog effect. With the warm sun on our backs Lauris and I shed our shoes and spent the next hour walking and splashing in the water.

Lunch was quick and informal at a nearby crêperie, and then we returned to the car to begin our trip home. The crêpes were delicious, the ice cream and crêpe chocolat a perfect dessert, and I was already planning our next trip to the area to sample more of the wonderful cuisine and wines. When planning this trip, I was challenged with picking restaurants without knowing exactly where we would be for dinner both nights. I had plenty of advice from friends who live in the area and who had visited before, and this came in handy Friday night when we ended up very late in our arrival. Instead of eating dinner in Bordeaux as I originally planned, we ended up at a restaurant I had originally heard about from Kim, but that numerous expats have visited since, Le Baron Gourmand.

Arriving after dusk our ride through the dark country roads was harrowing (and I surprised myself by navigating right to the gate without a single wrong turn!) and upon our arrival I might have assumed the restaurant was closed if not for the reservations I had made 2 hours previously. We parked and walked down to the restaurant which turned out to be full of diners, wonderful smells and delicious food! I was a little disappointed in the size of my plat, but then again I suppose I should have ordered a viande dish instead of seafood. My father-in-law and Roberts ordered beef that was grilled on an open fire right in the middle of the dining room in a big fireplace that also took the October chill out of the stone walls. My mother-in-law wasn’t as impressed with the restaurant as I was; she felt that the service was rather informal compared to the prices (an entrée, le plat and dessert was 32 euro), but we had a lovely dinner with a couple of bottles of a local red (Château Haut-Gayat), and left for the château Langoiran feeling full and happy.


  1. I always enjoy reading your posts. I had to laugh to myself when I saw the fountain with the pink ribbon. You have this picture on your blog. I have a post going up soon about a pink TRASHCAN - a picture that I took on the way to Myrtle Beach. Such different lives we lead.

  2. When we travel, I use my TripAdvisor app on the fly to find a restaurant in the area. Sounds like a great trip :)


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