Top reasons to visit Bordeaux

Where is Bordeaux?

Bordeaux is a port city on the river Garonne in the Girdonde department of Southwestern France. Bordeaux is a thriving, busy young city. It has a population of 257 804 people. We decided to go to Bordeaux because it was far South and we needed to be even further down for our first housesit. We really knew very little about it and we were very pleasantly surprised. We loved our three days in Bordeaux.

How to get to the city centre from the airport

Firstly there is a bus that you can catch just out of the airport exit for 4 EUR each. This takes about 40 minutes to the centre of Bordeaux. Then we caught two other buses to the tram stop Stalingrad. The tram system in Bordeaux is fantastic and is very easy to navigate.

Where to stay

We stayed in a cozy, well situated  Airbnb run by a very sweet couple Richard and Ailin. Their Airbnb is on the other side of the bridge Pont de Pierre, which makes it slightly cheaper than some airbnb’s right in the centre of Bordeaux. It’s one block from the Stalingrad tram station and tram A that crosses the bridge. The Airbnb is decorated with a great mix of Indian and French items and the owners were very helpful. They even brought us fresh bread to go with jam and butter in the fridge on our first morning, and some fresh fruit on our second morning. Airbnb30252343

What are the most interesting things to do?

One needs to absorb the atmosphere of Bordeaux. It’s such a bustling city that a lot of this can be done by sitting enjoying the surroundings or walking. I chose 5 things that I wanted to see; the gardens, the horse statue, the clock tower, the mirror water square and the church. Otherwise, we people watched, ate at some lovely restaurants, had multiple glasses of wine & Adu found many geocaches 😊

Sit in a café along the main road and people watch.

Happy hour is from 4 to 7pm and we were amazed at how busy the street cafes were. Bordeaux has multiple Universities and it has a young population. We found people were very friendly. We had not eaten since breakfast on the plane that morning and we were starving at 3pm. The waiter at one of the roadside cafes instructed us to go to Rue de Saint-Remi to find food. This tourist street has a multitude of shops and restaurants and even has some restaurants open between the set French lunch and dinner times (2pm and 6pm). We had a wonderful bowl of Thai food, showing our passe sanitaire and then returned to the friendly guy to people watch and drink some lovely wine from Bordeaux. I was amazed at this guy with the contraption to keep his cellphone in place.

Visit the public gardens

The Jardin Public were designed in 1746. They cover 0.5 ha and have over 3000 plant species both indigenous to Aquitaine, North America, China and Japan. I love gardens, and these are just beautiful and have many old trees. They are free to visit and we saw many people exercising, relaxing and enjoying the good weather and fresh air. We even saw multiple school groups enjoying the gardens.

Visit the Water Mirror

The Water Mirror or Miroir d’eau is right next to the Place de la Bourse and is the world’s largest reflecting pool, covering 3,450 square metres. It was built in 2006 and was designed by landscape artist Michel Corajoud. It is the most stunning surface to take photos across. One gets these beautiful reflections of the water, the clouds and the beautiful buildings of the Place de la Bourse.

Visit the Place des Quinconces and Monument aux Girondens

Located on the river, this 12-hectare square is the largest in Europe. The word quinconces refers to the way the trees are planted, in staggered rows. Its current shape was adopted in 1816. Trees were planted in 1818.

The monument aux Girondins consists of bronze fountains and a column (43 metres high) with a statue of liberty breaking its chains on top. This is there to depict the Girondin political faction during the French Revolution. The Girondins were a political group that had their roots in the Gironde department, of which Bordeaux is the capital. I think the monument is incredibly striking and beautiful. I love the horses.

Walk along the Quay and the Pont de Pierre

It is a beautiful walk along the Quay from where the cruise ships dock, all the way down to the Pont de Pierre. The Pont de Pierre has the same number of arches in it as the letters in the word Napoleon, it was designed by Napoleon. There are so many people exercising. Walking, running, cycling, skateboarding, enjoying the sunset hours and the beauty of the walk.

Visit the old bell tower

The Grosse Cloche is the historic town belfry for Bordeaux’ town hall. It is the only remains of the old defensive gate of the 13th century. The weather vane on the top represents a golden lion, symbol of the Kings of England.

Visit the Basilique Saint-Michel

Basilique Saint-Michel is a lovely church whose history goes back to the 14th century. It took up to the 16th century for its construction to be completed. It is now a world Heritage site. It has some beautiful stained glass windows. The area around the church and the bell tower have many restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a lovely plat du Jour.

I would definitely return to Bordeaux and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

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