The Borders of Bordeaux
I took this trip over a year ago while I was on exchange in Strasbourg, but some recent downtime has left me reminiscing of this rain-filled and lively adventure.
We flew from Strasbourg to Bordeaux in early April and had about three days to spend in the area. I remember that the bus ride into the city was quite long, but we managed to rent an Airbnb on rue Sainte-Catherine – a long pedestrian shopping street in Bordeaux. This meant that we were surrounded by lots of cute shops and many delicious restaurants.
It was pretty rainy most of our trip, but I bought a rain jacket in Strasbourg before we left which was a very wise investment. We spent our first day wandering the center of Bordeaux and swivelling in and out of shops. The architecture in the city was historic and classic – I’m not qualified to give a detailed background on the buildings, but I do know that Bordeaux has the highest number of preserved historical buildings in France, after Paris of course.
We also headed to Le Mirror d’eau which is by the Place de la Bourse. Because it was raining the water mirror didn’t really have the same effect, but one of my friends went back at night and said that it was magical. Another highlight was the Grosse Cloche, it’s the first picture of this post.
The second day we took a train to Saint Émilion, a medieval village surrounded by vineyards. The town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overall, the village was extremely charming, though many of the shops were closed, we managed to roam the streets and walk along the vineyards. Like many places around Bordeaux, you can choose to wine taste there.
After Saint Émilion, we were determined to attend a winetasting. Most of the major ones were booked out or extremely expensive, but we managed to get into Château Pape Clément. It took us a couple of buses to get there, but the property was beautiful. A guide gave us a tour of the vineyard as well as the cellar, and then we tasted four red wines. They were good, but I preferred the white wines of Alsace.
On our last day, we took the train to Arcachon, a seaside resort town where we walked on the pier and ate les dune blanches, pastry puffs that are famous to the area. We then took a bus to Dune of Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe and one of my favourite places I’ve visited. It was basically an extremely tall and wide sandhill. Instead of taking the stairs up, we decided to take off our shoes and climb the side. This did take longer but it made it more of an exploit. We spent about an hour walking along the dune and taking cheesy photos as the sunset.
This trip is definitely one I would recommend. It’s one that’s not overdone but one that you won’t forget.