Bordeaux in the fresh morning air
16 Aug 2014
|We've decided today that we are going to give ourselves a time limit, as we are both feeling a bit tired and worn out, as we've burned the candle at both ends quite severely the past few days. So, the plan is we'll leave town by 2pm, and be in Nantes by 5pm. That will give us a chance to have a break for a couple of hours, before heading to dinner, then spending a relaxing night in the room catching up on some R&R.
First things first, breakfast and load up the car, then go to find a post office where we can buy some boxes to send home souvenirs, as our bags are getting too heavy. I was able to converse with the lovely lady behind the counter and got some stamps, some boxes and was back to the car in no time. We then parked the car in an upmarket boutique centre, called the "Centre Commercial Les Grand Hommes". It is a circular building almost entirely of glass in the middle of a bunch of streets that would otherwise intersect.
We come out of the centre, and started walking to the gothic cathedral we had driven past the day before. It's an interesting walk, as there are not as many people on the streets as we'd expected. We managed to take some photos with next to no one in them. We decided to head to the square where the church was, and then go in a big circle. The square itself is quite pretty, and it adjoins an area which has the "Hotel de Ville", which is another amazing building. I wonder if we can get any French Architects to come to Melbourne for a while?
The church was called Saint Andre is being renovated or rather restored (aren't they all?), and the square is quite narrow, so it's hard to get a decent picture of it. Not to mention, there's some very ominous grey clouds in the background, which make the church look a bit evil and imposing. Next to the church is a giant bell tower, called the "Tour Pey Berland". It had a golden Virgin Mary at its pinnacle. We took some more pictures here, then headed down a road towards the river front. The road was full of lovely looking buildings, some of which had unusual fixtures such as door handles and knockers, in the shape of animals and angels for example.
When we got near the river, I saw a castle looking tower down a backstreet, and said to Tess we'd walk down there next. It was an old city gate, called Porte Cailhau. This was a nice find, although better looking towards the river, than from the river. The riverside of the gate was surrounded in the equivalent of big bins for recycling rubbish etc. It was a strange place to put them, that's for sure.
We then crossed over the street, to the river and took a look both up and down stream. The water was a disgusting brown colour - near the edges you could see the mud thinning out and the water changed colour again. I'd rather go swimming in the Yarra, if that's any indication. However, without looking at the colour specifically, we could see the Pont de Pierre. This was the long bridge which looked so beautiful the previous night lit up. Now, it was still nice to look at, with its red bricks and multiple arches. It was a bit of a case of a Cindarella look, because it looks like the fairy godmother of Bordeaux transforms it at night.
We continued walking along the board walk, until we got back to the "Le Miroir d'Eau". There were lots of people playing in the few millimetres of water that was sitting on the surface. I stopped to take some pictures of the Place de la Bourse from where we were, when all of a sudden there were squeals of delight as the mirror became active. Every 15 minutes it gives a "mini" show, where the water sprays up a mist about a foot into the air. Kids and adults came from everywhere to stand amongst the misty water, which smelt highly chlorinated to me. (it still looked amazing though!).
I took some pictures, then went and stood in it myself. Either side of this Mirror of water were garden beds. The gardens were lined up, with various colours of flowers. Red lines of flowers, purple lines etc. Whilst it was all very manicured, it was all very nice to look at. With our time coming to a bit of a close, we decided to finish taking our photos, and go get some lunch before our long drive.
We went to a creperie, as neither of us had had a Galette since we'd arrived in Paris. I've made these at home before, but never quite as thin and tasty as proper ones. Tess and I have gone to a creperie in Fitzroy (hi Breizoz!) several times and have become addicts to their taste. We were definitely excited to see a creperie here. We had seen crepes on the menu elsewhere, for example in Carcassonne, but these are a bit dangerous as they don't really care about quality in those places, just on getting numbers through the door.
Needless to say, neither of us were disappointed. We could only eat the one savoury galette (we usually have a sweet one too in Melbourne), because these were so full of hearty ingredients.
With our bellies full, and a couple of postcards in our backpacks, we decided to head out of town, past one or two remaining landmarks. We couldn't stop at any of these to take pictures unfortunately, as there was no where to pull the car over. One of these was the monument to the Girondins, a group who helped initiate the French revolution, but who were later executed when they disagreed with Robespierre about its direction. We could only see the column with a statuette of liberty (not the same as the American one) atop it.
Maybe next time when we come back to France, we'll spend more time here. Certainly, this overnight trip was just a taste of what Bordeaux could offer.