Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Un week-end debauché II

EEK! Over month has gone by and no posts to the blog!

And yet so much has happened. - Where to start . . . .
I think the best policy is to just plod on, I promised a report on the dirty weekend so here it goes.

Firstly, Bordeaux is big. Not New York/Chicago/Dallas big but for this poor country boy it surpassed my expectations. The traffic is nasty, and Bordeaux has an extensive tramway system, that I found confusing as a car driver. One of Bordeaux's sleek trams.
It wasn't obvious which roads were for trams only and which were for cars. On one occasion I found myself face to face with a tram and I had to reverse out.
The Hotel we had booked looked easy to get to - right next to the old theatre, near the river in the heart of old Bordeaux, but we came in over the wrong bridge, and the map I had bought was a tram map not a road map. After a loss of temper we decided to simply find the river and follow it until we got to the destination. I parked the car in an underground lot. I knew it would be pricy when the barrier didn't issue a ticket, but instead asked for my credit card. The nest day revealed that an overnight stay in the car park costs 17 Euros.
The hotel was basic, basic. The room had a double bed, a TV with a dozen channels, a shower. But it was very clean, and suited us fine. We had a shower and did what comes naturally. It was very handy being in the middle of the old town because we could come back to the room at any time. handy because the weather was foul - windy and rainy. There were many inside out umbrellas ditched in the city's litter bins.
For us country hicks the shops were fantastic, all the big city names and brands as well as cafes, epiceries, boulangeries, chocolateries. Fantastic. I was impressed with this wine shop. L'Intendant de l'Hôtel des Vins
L'Intendant de l'Hôtel des VinsIt's called L'Intendant de l'Hôtel des Vins and has 4 floors served by a spiral staircase. The collection includes over 15,000 bottles. Naturally, it only dealt with bordeaux but it was impressive the way the wines went round and round the staircase. I bought a bottle of Moulis Chasse-Spleen - my favourite bordeaux for 27 Euros. Bear in mind that a bordeaux superior for daily drinking will cost about 5 Euros.
Old restaurants, old buildings and old whores
We spent some time in the afternoon mooching around the alleys of the old town, searching for a good restaurant for the evening. We found a street called "Rue des Faussets" that only had restaurants and we were spoiled for choice. They all display their menus and prices. In some of the more secluded alleys and parks we noticed women of a certain age sitting in chairs in doorways. As I had already noticed a few "adult" shops in the area I put 2 and 2 together and realised they were hookers. But they were all over 50 and looked like your mom! I had sex on the brain when I saw this sandwich shop. KY Jelly"KY sandwiches? The sex industry is going too far!" Turns out the KY was the last letters in the word "COOKY" the O's being replaced with hamburger icons
At 8:00 pm we went back to Rue des Faussets to find it changed. There were more people about and many of the restaurants had ushers at the door trying to tempt you in. One woman insisted that everything in her restaurant was home made and offered a free aperatif if we came in. It was very tempting. We settled on "Le Grill au Thym" a very cosy looking place. It already had customers which is always reassuring. They have a web site here. We chose from their 21 Euro menu and it was excellent. I had "Foie gras mi-cuit au gros sel de Guérande" it melted in the mouth and had cruchy sea salt sprinkled on it. Fiona chose a salad "Crevettes sautées au pistou" We both had "Magret de canard à l'orange" for a main course. Heaven. Magret de canard is the duck breast, grilled with the fat side down to the flame, still rare and pink inside. My mouth is watering as I type. We staggered back to the hotel.

Summary - Brodeaux is a wonderful place and I would love to get to know it better, learn how to use the tram system, get better value from the time spent there.


At 2:03 am, Blogger Nava said...

Ah, to be - and EAT - in France, where the simplest things taste like heaven... I envy you.
Welcome back!

At 7:48 am, Blogger C.L. Hanson said...

Wow, another American-in-France on the atheist blogroll!!! Too bad you didn't join earlier -- I live in Bordeaux and could have given you some tips!!! (Such as don't drive in downtown Bordeaux -- go with train-tram-walking if you want a pleasant experience ;-) ).

That's so funny you say it's big -- to me it's small. For a Saturday walk, we often walk from one end of the downtown area to the other, the long way. Try doing that in New York/Chicago/Dallas!!! But really you're right it's a big city, it's just that it's very walkable because it's compact. I've written a little about the transportation in France here: le metro !

And some more ideas of what you might have seen here: the things you see in Bordeaux !


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