Well, after three hours of driving, we have arrived in Bordeaux. WOW! To me, this is like a mini Paris. The architecture is very similiar, there is a river running through part of the town, and it even has it's grungy little pockets which you'd feel uncomfortable walking in at night. But, those pockets are small. And the rest of the town is, well, beautiful.
I booked a place which was a reasonable price, but a little way out of the main part of the old town. Unusually, the receptionist asked me to make payment for the hotel in advance, and asked if we wanted breakfast, as she would give us a coupon to hand to the receptionist the following morning. We said yes, organised everything then went upstairs. We got into our room, and it smelt like the Marlboro man had been living there for 20 years. I hadn't smelt that much cigarette smell since I'd been nightclubbing in my early twenties. YUK YUK YUK! I went down to reception and she changed our room to a non-smoking room. This was much better. It even had air conditioning, which we turned on as it was a bit stuffy. We went out for the evening to go grab some dinner in the old town. I asked Tess if she was taking her camera, and she said no, just her phone. I decided to go with the flow, and left my heavy backpack behind.
It was about a 20 minute walk to the old town, which is now a pedestrian district. We passed a garden square, and then an old town gate entering the pedestrian area, which was very much like Paris. There were cafes, and people sitting outside crowd watching as they ate. The shops had lots of designer labels along the street, and the architecture was definitely similar to what I had seen in my trips to Paris.
We walked all the way to the end of the street, and came upon a square which I had only seen previously in a 2 second clip in a TV commercial. And did that commercial fail to do it any justice. I am talking about the "Place de la Bourse". Now I am really shitty with myself. This square is just amazing, and it leads across a tramway and small road to the river front. And I have left my camera in the hotel room!
The river front was decorated with lanterns in red and green lights. Just in front of the Place de la Bourse was a fountain called the "Mirror of Water". Just after we walked into the square it triggered, and sprayed water quite high (about 6') into the air. Between the road and where I was standing, there was a large, and very beautiful fountain. Wee walked in to take a look at the fountain, and then turned around behind us.
The square has a semi circle curve to it. There is one building in the middle which is not very wide, as it has two streets meeting it on an angle, about 33 degrees. Then there are two large buildings, one on either side of each street. These curve back towards the road, and are completely symmetrical from what I can see. The small building in the middle has a clock on the top. All of the buildings look at this time of day to be a sandstone, and all have lots of soft lighting on them.
It is truly a beautiful square to go to at night. The whole area is just amazing, and I hadn't even mentioned the very long bridge which links the old town to the other side of the river. It too has 2 different types of lamps. Although I can't see from the other side of the river, I can only imagine what the colours and lights must appear like on the water itself. I am also now really cranky that we hadn't elected to stay in Bordeaux 2 nights. I said to Tess we could change this if we want and cancel the night in Nantes (the next stop) and have one really, really long drive to Mont St Michel the following day, but common sense has prevailed.
We had an ordinary dinner in one of the trendy bar\bistros on the main pedestrian street, and then went back to our hotel room.
Note to self, and anyone else interested. If you're overseas, and you're in a hotel which has smoking and non-smoking rooms. Don't turn on the air conditioning unless you are guaranteed it pulls in fresh air. Our room smells like Marlboro Ninja's have been in there whilst we've been out. Gee I wish the French would catch up to Australia in terms of non-smoking laws. Tonight's little whinge has been brought to you by the quit campaign. Now I'm going to quit for the night, and go to sleep.