Saint-Michel has always been a disrict where beautiful antiques and unusual second hand items can be found.
Saint Michel has a flea market and as antiques bric-a-brac gallery as well as Mediterranean Grocery shops and bazaars offer a marvellous blend of colors, odors, tastes. People who enjoy hunting good deals, which is much appreciated by students and tourists in the know.
While being in Bordeaux, many...
While being in Bordeaux, many people stay downtown or go to the wineyards, or Arcachon...and they miss one of the most exciting beach of the areas : Lacanau!
Lacanau is one of the best surf spot for pro competition...you have to take care when swimming in this area but if you like bodyboarding, surfing, ...you will love Lacanau.
It's only 40 miles west from Bordeaux, but be carefull on the road as many accidents occurs due to the small road...
This beautiful tower is located near the Cathedral Saint Andre and the Hotel de Ville. During the day, when the sun is shining, the gold statues at the top of the tower glisten and it looks rather magical!!
There is no lift to the top of that tower...just a lot of steps that are pretty steep...and a nightmare to climb up!! BUT the view from the top of the tower is fantastic!! It costs only 5 euros to go to the top of the tower, and you can stay up there as long as you want!
The Pey-Berland Tower
The Isolated cathedral belltower, serves as a reminder of the archbishop to whom we owe the 162 ft high construction dating from 1440. sold in 1793 and turned into a factory making shot for huntsmen, which it remained until 1850, then bought by the Cardinal Donnet and restored, the tower acquired an eleven-tonne bell. The top of the tower was missing: in 1863, it was givena a huge gilded copper statue, now somewhat rusty, representing Our Lady of Aquitaine.
Bordeaux - a charmer
Ever since I heard a funny yarn about an Australian dog on his holidays in France, I've wanted to go to Bordeaux. If you want to read that story, its at the end of the page along with a link if you'd like to take advantage of a great deal from Bordeaux Tourism
However in our research for our trip we wanted to start in Paris and continue through parts of Spain. We decided not to take an overnight train between Paris and Madrid, but rather break up the journey into 2 or 3 legs. Bordeaux came out as a winner for one of the stops - and particularly as the Bordeaux Tourism Board have a special 2 night package which includes accommodation for 2 including breakfast, city tour, winery area tour, transport within Bordeaux and other goodies, starting at 88 Euro per night. Seemed a good deal and is.
The super fast TGV train whisked us between Paris and Bordeaux's St Jean station (gare) in just over 3 hours, we got off the train and then searched for transport to get to the tourism office where we had to pick up our vouchers - the branch office of the bureaux is at the rail station and the very helpful staff made the necessary arrangements for us to be issued with our tram tickets valid for 2 days - great way to get to see a city from the modern tram system that criss-crosses Bordeaux.
We got to the Tourism Office and received our package of goodies and told how to get to our hotel - all done by tram. Checked into the Ibis Hotel and then set off to explore some of the city before dinner - again the tram seemed the best option, so we grabbed one heading anywhere, went to the end of the line and returned to the city for a bit of a walk around and then went to the buffet dinner at the hotel. It had been a long day, so early to bed.
The tour of Bordeaux was in 2 parts - firstly by coach that took us to the various sections of Bordeaux - and what a magnificent city it is. We were shown the World War 2 German U Boat bunkers built on the side of a harbour - a dark, sinister looking building that had about 20 pens for U Boats. It was so solidly built that the Allied bombers were unable to destroy it, then more of the tour through the harbour area and then back into the city. Off the bus for the second part of the tour - a walking tour lead by a real dynamo of a local tour guide in both English and French. We learnt of some of the history of Bordeaux and how it was almost part of merry England. The wine trade made sure of that - and to think the English have been whining about it ever since.
When the tour concluded we decided to walk around the old part of the city and browse around. Great to be in such a compact city - makes it so much easier for new comers. We got on and off a few more trams with our all inclusive tram pass and ended up in a small street cheek-by-jowl full of little cafes and restaurants almost under the shadow of the Hotel de Ville, or city hall in English. We were amused that the French should call their principle city offices "hotel" and wondered what lay ahead.
The following day we started off a little late as we knew it was to be a late finish with the winery tour, so after the buffet breakfast we walked to the nearby Merideck Centre - a modern shopping centre surrounded by modern offices - this was the new centre of Bordeaux. The usual run of businesses within a shopping centre - including a great little place to try and buy pate. Now this is one of my major weaknesses in life - pate - and the Madam le Pate seemed to know she had a good sale - suppose my tongue lolling around my ankles was a good sign. It was expensive but it was GOOD - and that with a baguette was lunch. Our pass to Bordeaux included a number of museums and we decided to brush up on our culture at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux - see separate tip.
We just had time to get to the tourism office for our pick up by coach for the winery tour and this was our first experience on the rural French roads, which reminded us of the sort of scenery we'd seen on the televised Tour de France - narrow main roads almost overhanging with ancient buildings - every town seemed to have its own chateaux and vineyards stretching to the horizon, a true wine lovers paradise.
We were taken to 2 different wineries - The Chateaux Giscours and the Chateaux Lanessan and given full run of the houses - well not quite as our tour group could have done a lot of damage in the cellars if we'd been armed with corkscrews. Back onto the coach and time for another look at a magnificent chateaux (photographed) and our by then merry group headed back to the city of Bordeaux.
It was at the last winery we were told we could keep the tasting glasses - long stemmed beauties embossed with the name of the winery. They would have looked good in our home, but there was the real problem of transporting them back to Australia with another 15 cities to visit, however we had met a couple from Belgium who had almost no English and my wife's school leant French from all those years ago was really not the best for such situations. We decided to donate the 2 glasses in their presentation bag with an added by pen Australian "flag" to the couple. "Cadeau" I quickly learnt the French word for present. The more than 60 plus couple accepted with many "merci's" that we understood.
We were hoping to get back to our hotel as we had a bottle of Bordeaux wine to drink - compliments of Bordeaux Tourism - but the couple from Belgium had other ideas. We were almost marched by them to a nearby wine bar and the drinks were on the Belgium's, "Non, non," we protested and so the system of Australian "shouting drinks" was ignored. We enlisted the aid of the waiter - a Briton - who was fluent in French and English to help us in our hour of need to try and buy a return round of wine, but the Belgium was not listening. I'm sad to report that the Belgium won, but he cemented another international friendship.
A little worse for the wine we got back to our hotel and then had to convince the restaurant staff to allow us to drink the bottle of Bordeaux red on the premises. More international friendships were formed as the young waitress - a German - was quite happy to help out - hic
I promised you the little yarn - There was an Aussie dog on his holidays in France and was trotting along the Champs Elysees when he was spotted by 2 gorgeous French Poodles. After the usual sniffing of private parts one of the Poodles introduced herself - "Ello hansom, my nome is Fi Fi, which is spelt F I F I." The other Poodle quickly added, "Oui, my nome is Mi Mi, spelt M I M I."
Our Aussie replied "Bewdy Luvs, my name is Fido, which is spelt P H Y D E A U X."
Now you can see why I wanted to get to Bordeaux. If you are, the Office of Bordeaux Tourism has a great special and I just hope they continue with it
The next morning we left Bordeaux and put on our bull fighting gear for our entry into Spain - oh lay!