Since we knew where we were going (theoretically), we started the second day walking up the Rue Sainte-Catherine. Looking for a traditional French breakfast this morning, we landed at a cafe with pain rustique and pâtisseries, and opted for croissants and cafe au lait. I ordered our breakfast en français, and she actually understood what I wanted! Yes this was a break through moment for me, and I was pretty proud of myself. Until she then returned my brilliant order with an entire sentence in french, of which I had zero comprehension. OK, so my french language skills need a little more work.
We wandered around the Place Tourny until it was time to leave on our bus tour. We climbed aboard the double-decker bus and settled in for the tour de Bordeaux. With earbuds in, listening to all the history and facts, we drifted past Gross Cloche, Gambetta Square, Jardin Public (public garden), Pont de pierre, and Girondins memorial. We crossed the Garonne River and saw the left bank quayside, a beautiful waterfront view of the city. At the Place de la Bourse is the miroir d’eau (water mirror) which periodically fills with 2 cm of water, alternated with a cloud of mist. Through the mist one can see the Palais de la Bourse, which is considered a magnificent example of Bordeaux architecture – and it certainly is magnificent.
All those historical facts gave us quite an appetite. On to the brasserie for lunch, which consisted of pumpkin soup (fantastic!), duck confit, veal, and sautéed garlic potatoes. Oh, and a glass of Bordeaux wine…of course. In France eating a meal can be an event. It takes time to savor each course, to sip your wine, maybe have coffee after. And then waiting for l’addition (the bill), as the servers don’t seem to put that high on their priority list. Either that, or they are forcing you into a more relaxed, lengthly meal experience that is meant to be enjoyed and relished, certainly not rushed. Well, Rhonda and I savored our lunch today. We were the last ones to leave that brasserie, and felt down right French with our au revoir as we strolled out the front door.
As we exited from lunch, the rain had started drizzling and we were feeling worn out from the exploring (or maybe from the large amount of food and wine…you decide). So we opted to take a leisurely path back to the flat. At some point over the past days, we heard about tiny Bordeaux cakes called canelés. So on the way back, we stopped for some provisions – canelés and Bordeaux Rosé. We figured that would be the perfect last dinner in Bordeaux. And we both agree, it absolutely was.
Merci Bordeaux for your wine, food, history, architecture, and charming plazas. Toulouse, here we come!