No.216-218: Bordeaux: Boardwalks, Markets, and Spécialités
We are just back from our warm and relaxing trip to Bordeaux. I fell in love with la perle d’Aquitaine, as Bordeaux is known, and hope that sometime in my life I get to spend at least 365 days there. At the moment, it is the newest bee in my bonnet.
Bordeaux is France’s ninth largest city (with the sixth largest metropolitan area) and is the first French city Superman could see himself living in for the long-term. Three particular aspects of the city sealed the deal for us: the laid back, sporty, friendly and slow-speaking Bordelais(es), the fresh, multipurpose boardwalk, and the balmy, sunny weather.
We were lucky to stay in a riverside apartment with a terrace in the charming Chartrons district near the historic UNESCO World Heritage part of the city and found that its inviting squares, funky neighborhoods, and lively markets made it the ideal city to meander through both on foot and bike. The city, famous for wine, is like a fine wine itself, offering the perfect balance of ageless grandeur and architecture, fresh, modern tones and more than a hint of fruitiness and fun.
I posted earlier about what I’m calling Bordeaux’s Saint Marc’s Square, but is in fact called the miroir d’eau (water mirror). In my opinion, this central feature of the boardwalk lining the Garonne River is one of the most striking urban sites in France reflecting both the joyful heart of the city and the impressive Palais-de-la-Bourse. The boardwalk is a spot for young adults, extended families, casual wanderers and serious athletes all pulsing in sync. Rollerbladers duck and zoom, runners pant and croon, old couples hold hands and beam, youngsters scoot and skip, furry friends wrestle and romp, and vélos roll by, their cheery chimes announcing their approach.
The city boasts numerous outdoor cafés, lots of spots for picnicking, live music jams, colorfully clad open-air tangoing, first-class museums, gorgeous architecture, fresh seafood (yummy oysters) and haute cuisine, and of course, caves for tasting the region’s wine. There is also an excellent farmers market on Sundays (Marché des Quais) selling all the usual suspects along with some of the unusual and distinctively Bordelaise spécialités. Comme ça:
As you may have noticed, I am totally smitten with Bordeaux and this region of France. The sparkling pearl of Aquitaine has a little something for everyone and is quite effectively enticing this Parisphile south…
Bordelais(es): people from Bordeaux
caves: wine cellars, storage space
Comme ça: Like this:
la perle d’Aquitaine: the pearl of Aquitaine (the Aquitaine pearl)