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BORDEAUX - POITIERS, FRANCE

BORDEAUX


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It was a change of scenery as we traveled into France across Gascony for

an orientation of Bordeaux, the wine capital of France. We then traveled

farther north by way of the Cognac area to Poitiers, of Black Prince 

fame.
There is no touristic season in Bordeaux. Only December is lighter with tourists. So what attracts the mass of tourists there around the year; maybe you think it’s the good weather?  It’s all about wine, admit it. Well, that’s what we knew before we visited it too, so no shame in saying it out loud. Bordeaux is most famous for its wine, and for good reason.  Before I get to amazingly descriptive details about the wine experience, let me tell you, there are plenty of other things to see and do there.


We explored the area on foot to soak up the atmosphere, admire the façades of the old buildings and enjoy some good shopping, and dining too. The Allées de Tourny leads down to the Place de la Comedie and the Grand Théâtre, home to the the Opéra National de Bordeaux, as well as the Ballet National de Bordeaux. With its magnificent neo-classical façade, designed by 18th century architect Victor Louis, the structure consists mainly of wood, which provides for perfect acoustics, and has a circular cupola with a wonderful ceiling painted by Claude Robin in the 18th century. We then took a short walk from the Place de la Comedie, towards the Garonne River, which brought us to the Place de la Bourse. Very much one of the highlights of any visit to Bordeaux is the riverfront, which was revitalized as recently as the 1990s, as part of the urban development scheme, instigated by mayor, Alain Juppé. It has now been transformed from a’ no-go’ area of derelict warehouses, to offering pedestrian friendly, tree-lined promenades, with the old warehouses converted into shops and restaurants.


Bordeaux is an elegant city, reputed for its stylishness. It features large department stores, luxury brands, leading nationwide ready-to-wear shops, Parisian couturiers, jewellers, craftsmen, perfume shops, leather goods shops, specialised boutiques of all kinds,  which made Kim’s highlight. We then took a simple walk across the Triangle (formed by Cours de l'Intendance, Cours Clemenceau, and the Allées de Tourny), down the famous rue Sainte-Catherine, or through Old Bordeaux that revealed the incredible range of goods of all types on offer. The hustle and bustle shows that Bordeaux is a very prosperous, alive, and switched-on city.


After spending hour in the shops we continued to some other highlights:

Place de la Bourse (Miroir d’Eau) – Personally we loved this place. We thought it is just a fountain but they made a great attraction which looks absolutely stunning!

Place de la Victorie (Victory Square) – is one of the busiest areas with bars, restaurants, cafes, a chic tramway, and beautiful architecture. There’s always a crowd in the Victory square, and events, parties and concerts are often organized there.
Musée d’Aquitaine – It’s the museum to see in Bordeaux. It features historical collections from within the region (all the way since prehistory) but also from faraway lands since the age of great discoveries.

Tour Pey-Berland  the monument is the best spot to see the panoramic view of the city. It’s also lovely to look at from down below.

POITIERS 





There isn't a lot to do at Poitiers, but it is a pleasant small city, and visitors will find relaxed atmosphere, especially compared to Paris. We arrived to the city centre late afternoon. It has a small square in front of the City Hall and is surrounded by cafes, where you can sit down with a glass of wine or coffee or get something to eat. It gets packed on weekends, especially during summer. Other parts of the town may give you an impression of a ghost town, especially during lunchtime, when the shops are closed, which is the time we arrived. We dropped our bags and quickly enjoyed the change in the weather and walked around admiring the quietness. We didn’t take too many photos because we did a lot of walking early at Bordeaux. Later that night we ventured out for a couple of night shots.



The Baptistry of St. John is one of the oldest Christian buildings in Europe, dating back to 4th century. Inside, you can see the baptismal pool on the floor, the St. Pierre Cathedral has organ performances and the Church of Notre Dame Virgin Mary is the Patron Saint of France, so every city of town will have a church named Notre Dame (Our Lady). Poitiers' Notre Dame has light shows some evenings after dark. Really didn’t get a chance to look around Poitiers

Highlights here:
https://youtu.be/FRDw26itBtA




24 comments:

  1. Wonderful views, just as I expected from the French. I really love how the trams look so sleek yet how they seemlessly mingle with the quaint, narrow streets. In most other metropolises they look like industrial animals completely detached with the rest of the landscape.

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  2. I wanted to travel there while I lived in Brussels as it's reasonably close. But I didn't go so probably will have to plan from another place. I imagined myself just romaing around vinyards every day but you made me realize that there are many other things to see and enjoy :)

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  3. I love being in France, the smell, the sound, the street, the food, the lot! In fact, I just randomly booked a trip to Lille just because! Will keep Bordeaux in mind next time I crave being in France!

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  4. This brought back some great memories of visiting Poitiers and Bordeaux many years ago. There was a great interactive museum called Futuroscope near Poitiers, well worth a visit. Did you find any nice restaurants in Bordeaux?

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    1. Hi, we didn't have much time but we choose Le Petit. An iconic bistro, with dining rooms both sides of a narrow pedestrian street which served great seafood dishes.

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  5. How nice it would be if I can travel to these places as well. Your pics are nice but it would have been more enticing if they were in bigger scale. :) :) :) Hope you had a good time there!

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  6. I just have been in Paris but for sure Bordeaux is a place to go, I am a wine lover :) But you show us that Bordeux is much more than just wine. Didn't know about Place de la Bourse, never heard, it looks so beautiful, your picture from there are great. How is the gastronomy there?

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    1. Hi Fabio, Thanks for dropping by.

      Things are changing and the city of Bordeaux is being put on the map as a centre for gastronomy with the help of world-class chefs. Michelin-starred French chef Joël Robuchon opened a restaurant at La Grande Maison – a small boutique hotel located on the city’s left bank owned by wine magnate and art collector, Bernard Magrez. Gordon Ramsay launched Le Pressoir d’Argent, in the heart of Bordeaux, opposite the city’s opera house. It’s a fine-dining restaurant situated in the five star hotel, Le Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa. Another Michelin starred French chef and host of Cauchemar en Cuisine – France’s equivalent to Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, Philippe Etchebest, opened his newest restaurant, the Quatrième Mur next to the city’s theatre. With his first restaurant based in Saint-Émilion, the chef knows the region well, but his opening in the city of Bordeaux goes to show how important it is for him to be a part of the culinary culture of the region. And many of Bordeaux’s châteaux are also opening restaurants, attaching them to their vineyards to not only introduce the wines to visitors, but also to showcase how well their wines pair with food.

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  7. I have never been to Bordeaux (actually the only place in France I have been to is Paris so many years ago) but I think it would be the perfect place for me since I am a huge fan of good wine!Your pictures look amazing and I guess in December when there's the lower touristic season temperatures are just about right as well, right?

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  8. Hi Ingrid, Thanks for dropping by.

    The middle of March is cool, but nice and most of the people you want to see are in Bordeaux, getting ready for the all-important April tastings. The middle of April is perfect as the en primeur tastings are completed and most people are in Bordeaux. With the exception of mid-June in odd numbered years, due to Vinexpo, Bordeaux is perfect to visit until everyone leaves for vacation in August. Starting from the beginning of September to harvest is once again perfect for visiting the Bordeaux wine region. From the middle of October until late November is also great for a visit to Bordeaux. By the end of November, Bordeaux can get quite cold and not be as enjoyable to visit for most people. Hope this heaps a little.

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  9. What a lovely place to visit. We always prefer to walk as well. You get to see more and explore areas you like a little better. Some very cool buildings and It looks like you got some lovely weather. Spring is starting to show itself. We have explored a little bit of France, but we haven't been here.

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  10. Bordeaux is such a lovely place to visit. Wine tasting at its best. We totally loved the riverfront. Havent been to Poitiers yet, we love the small cities, they are essence of European travel

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  11. I didn't think much about Bordeaux prior to reading your post. Because I don't drink wine...it doesn't interest me in particular . But I can see there are other things to see and do here apart from romancing with wine. Like, some good architectures that one can marvel.

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  12. Though europe is one of the expensive city to visit i still want to see the beauty of any european country. Its a challenge for us Philippine passport holder though

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  13. France is simply just gorgeous. I haven't made it to Bordeaux yet, but I really look forward to the day I can! Your post gave me a bit of a teaser, haha. Lovely photographs as well :)

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  14. So true, Bordeaux is really all about wine, but you've manage to show in your post that there's a lot to see and do in the city. For all that you saw, what was your favorite thing or experience there?

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    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. My wife's best experience hands down was Shopping. Bordeaux is an elegant city, reputed for its stylishness. It features large department stores, luxury brands, leading nationwide ready-to-wear shops, Parisian couturiers, jewellers, craftsmen, perfume shops, leather goods shops, specialised boutiques of all kinds, etc. A simple walk across the Triangle (formed by Cours de l'Intendance, Cours Clemenceau, and the Allées de Tourny), down the famous rue Sainte-Catherine, or through Old Bordeaux will reveal the incredible range of goods of all types on offer.

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  15. Oh, Bordeux! Such an elegant and classic city! I really admire the French architecture captured by your stunning photos. And oh, even the tram looks so beautiful! I miss being in France and now, it seems I have an additional place to visit aside from Marseilles and Lyons.

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  16. I have always wanted to visit Bordeaux, mostly because of the wine region it is situated in. I am lucky that soon a friend of mine is moving nearby and I will definitely get a chance to visit. The Place de la Bourse is so pretty, I have seen photos with it before and the amazing effect the water does, making it look like the entire square is under a thin layer of fog.

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  17. I am fascinated by the European architectures in their countries. Its beyond imagination. I loved the feel of Bordeaux and I agree to the fact that exploring city on foot is the best way to know its soul.

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  18. I can't even tell you how jealous of your trip I am!! This looks absolutely amazing! My mother - in - law recently visited France and still can't stop talking about how much she loved it! Totally on my bucket list.

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  19. Glad to get a sneak peek of Bordeaux. I have only studies about it back in school. I would love to go to France sometime.

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  20. These days I have been badly wanting to visit France. I love how beautifully you have captured this beautiful city. Glad that I could atleast get a glimpse of this beautiful place. :)

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  21. I love that you were able to go to a place that's been on my bucket list. I expected a lot of vineyards but I feel that the city is equally riveting.

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