The world is bigger than we could possibly imagine, and it’s scary to think we will never even scratch the surface in this lifetime. Even if we do travel to the same places, we see the world through different eyes, creating a unique experience. I am inspired by each of your stories, just waiting to be told.
Most people travelling to France will head straight to Paris. However, I feel like there are many other more authentic French cities that are worth visiting. I spent 9 months living in the city of Bordeaux in the South West of France and loved it. Today I am sharing my top five experiences to help you feel like a true Bordelaise local.
Grab a Chocolatine and a cafe au lait from a nearby bakery and enjoy the serenity of the Jardin Public
First up let’s get this straight. You may call it a pain au chocolate but if you ask a bordelaise bakery for a ‘pain au chocolate’ you will literally get bread and a piece of chocolate. Instead the Bordelais have dubbed the pain au chocolat the ‘Chocolatine’.
Chocolatines were my addiction in Bordeaux and paired with a small café au lait you cannot beat it. It’s the perfect snack to sit on a bench watching the world go by.
One of the most beautiful places to sit in Bordeaux is the Jardin Public. These immaculate gardens are always lively and lots of students and families congregate there on sunny days for picnics and to play games. There’s a terrace bar and restaurant, a park for kids and botanical gardens to wander around.
Walk along the ‘quais’ and get wet running through the mirror d’eau mist
The Quais of Bordeaux used to be purely industrial and you could barely see the Gironde River from the banks. However fairly recently the Bordeaux authorities have given the riverbanks a huge makeover and transformed the city of Bordeaux. With the upgrade, they installed the Miroir d’Eau, translated to mirror of water. The Miroir d’Eau is located on the Place de la Bourse, one of Bordeaux’s most beautiful squares. The surrounding buildings are a great example of Bordeaux’s 18th century architecture and the symmetry of the buildings makes an amazing photo. The Miroir mists every 15 minutes and it’s worth waiting around for to people watch.
Get lost in the many alleys and squares of the city centre
Bordeaux Old Town is a medieval city with lots of different hidden squares and little side streets. You can spend a whole afternoon getting lost and you’re guaranteed to find some gems. In some squares you’ll come across big churches with tiny bars and authentic restaurants. There’s loads to see and so many gorgeous places to stop for a quick coffee like my favourite Books & Coffee. A coffee and book shop that serves an amazing speculoos cheesecake and hundreds of types of tea.
Have a wild night out at Place de la Victoire
Bordeaux is a city with a lot of students including a lot of exchange students. At the weekend Place de la Victoire is the place to be. There are loads of bars around the square including one of my favourites Bodegon. This lively bar actively encourages dancing on the bar and reward those brave enough with free drinks. But don’t worry if that’s not your style. There are loads of different bars.
One of my favourites is the more laid back speakeasy Le Chat qui Pêche. You have to pay 5 euros for membership but then you can go in for free every time after that. It seems a little dodgy from the outside but inside it’s cosy, the staff are very friendly and there’s always a really nice vibe. Bonus, the wine there is super cheap! After you’re done pop to the 24 hour bakery just down the road to soak up some of the alcohol with some freshly baked goodies.
Visit a St Emilion and taste the world famous Bordeaux wines
Bordeaux wine is some of the best in the world. You’d be a fool to miss out on tasting it. There are hundreds of vineyards in and around Bordeaux that you can visit. If you want to go one better you can take a train to have a day trip to St Emilion, a medieval town built with loads of vineyards and wine cellars. Stop somewhere for lunch where there’s a set menu and ask your waiter to recommend some wines to pair with your meal. Sarah is a travel blogger from Wales, UK, who loves cats, coffee and new cultures. She blogs all about her travel experiences on The Wandering Welshie in order to promote ethical travel and tourism and understanding of other cultures. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
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Have you visited Bordeaux before? What drew you to this destination?