Retour de Bordeaux

We just returned from a weekend in Bordeaux. The weather was what is probably normal in Bordeaux in November – it rained quite a bit. But we had a few good walks along the Garonne and in the city. The quay along the Garonne is nice, there are people walking, youth playing football, others drinking beer or enjoying the view.

We stayed in an airbnb that was unlike any other apartment I ever stayed in. It was decorated to within an inch of its life in 18th century style. There was a lot of furniture, silk wallhanging (I guess it’s not called paper if it’s made from silk?), paintings, and decorative items. The rooms were high. I don’t mean Vienna Altbau high, but even higher. Our bedroom had a walk in closet that was visible from the outside in that it was a little bay attached to the outside of the building. I want to say the sentence whenever there is the opportunity to do it, so please forgive my German: Es kragt aus der Kubatur des Gebäudes hervor.
The other bedroom had paintings that were pages of a book on what we thought were really elaborate cakes, but what turned out to be things in aspic. There was a painting of what looked like a samurai disembowel someone in the bathroom. The sitting room had a chaise longue and a sofa, and there were fireplaces in every room. Ours was clad in wood, which I’d never seen before.

We went with a friend who really likes good food, so we asked our host for recommendations. On Friday night we went to the Brasserie Bordelaise (Bordelaise is the adjective for Bordeaux, nothing to do with brothels, by the way). It was one of those places were you have to wait for 40 minutes and I was surprised Gergö was willing to do it. He hates standing around, always in the way of waiters. But we ordered a glass of wine and were told about Chartreuse and it was worth the wait. Just like the fancy Italian place we went to in autumn, you had to go downstairs and through their fancy wine cellar to get to the loos.

On Saturday we had to check out the recommended chocolate store. There was an entire group of American tourists from a cruise ship in the shop and were were mistaken for one of them. We later bumped into the same group while exploring Bordeaux.


It’s a very walkable city, and there are lots of nice little shops and boutiques and boulangeries selling canelés and more chocolatiers. I got a praline thé earl grey, and it was good, but I think I preferred the one with yuzu Gergö had. There are of course also all of the regular shops you find in any European city and the streets with these shops were crowded on Saturday. If I’m not shopping and only strolling, I don’t mind the cro      wds much, though.

We walked in the drizzle to the musée du vin. It’s fairly new and the building itself is round and shaped like a decanter. It’s 3.6 kilometres from the center and as we got there we saw that the queue to see the museum was very long. By that time the drizzle had become a steady rain, so we took the tram back into town.

musee du vin

There is no easy way out

There is no easy way out

Opposite the museum is a lock

Opposite the museum is an interesting lock

In a move that will surprise no one, but is still a little ironic, given that it’s a region famous for its wine, we visited a local artisanal beer store and got some local special brews. It’s called Jaqen and I made several “A man needs a beer” joke that everybody politely ignored. Then we explored the other local specialities in one of those specialities and booze shops were you can barely move for the selection of wine, rum and canned cassoulet.

A kilo of cassoulet au canard

A kilo of cassoulet au canard

We bought beer, of course. The shop sold 3 or 4 different kinds of insects to eat, but we didn’t get them because we already tried those and I didn’t like the taste at all and I think Gergö didn’t think they were particularly good either.

We had dinner at an art deco style restaurant where I had excellent veal and a dessert made from macaron and mousse au chocolat. Gergö and K went for cheese. It must have been excellent, judging by the happy sounds that came from Gergös direction. I didn’t take any pictures because I didn’t want to disturb our attempt at playing adults.

Sunday morning we went to the market on the quai and it was excellent. I saw what a lamprey is supposed to look like and we bought some cheese that is stinking up the train compartment as I write. There was also something that looked like potato puffer but bright green. They are a regional speciality made with spinach or chard and they were delicious.


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