Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Grand city of Bordeaux

Bordeaux was grand, every bit the classic French city, with splendid architecture and impressive monuments.  We were just there for a few hours so hardly enough to do it justice.  Nevertheless, we got a taste and enough of it to entice us to return.  The old town was very accessible and all the sights were within a couple of kilometres of each other.  We missed seeing the inside of the Cathedral by a couple of minutes because it was closed from noon to 2 pm.  I would also have liked to visit "La Cité du Vin" an architecturally impressive museum of wine in this most significant wine region of France.  But that will have to be another visit.

We started off in the Place des Quinconces with its impressive column and fountain and proceeded down the Cours du 30 Juillet, a wide avenue that took us to the beginning of the old town, the Place de la Comedie with its Grand Theatre landmark.   The Cathedral was one of our destinations but there were too much to see along the way so that by the time we got there, it was closed for noon break.  Flabbergasted, we decided to take a break ourselves and sat down shoulder to shoulder with locals at what looked like a bistro, the Bar Tabac - decent food and a cute spiral staircase.

Many of the buildings in Bordeaux have wrought iron balconies - a lovely decorative feature often enhanced by gorgeous wrought iron street lamps.  It is indeed a grand city, with broad boulevards and magnificent fountains.  I would have loved to spend more time here, however, we were rushed off to see the vineyards.  

We visited the Château Branaire-Ducru and enjoyed the tour and the wine tasting before heading back to the ship.  It was a long, busy day - we could have used a sea day the following day but we were too close to the next port for one.  And I wouldn't have missed Bilbao for the world.

Place de la Comedie

Grand Theatre - main landmark in the Place de la Comedie

At the other end of the Cours du 30 Juillet with the Girondin monument in the distance

The Girondist monument with its column and fountain of horses

 and the proud French cockerel (signifying French history, land and culture) at the base of the column at the Place des Quinconnes

Cathedrale Saint-André

Bar Tabac with its neat spiral staircase

Bordeaux houses with wrought iron balconies enhanced by ornate street lamps

Students on lunch break in front of what looked to be a horse drinking station

The Porte Dijeaux at the west entrance to the old town dated from Roman times

That classical building in the centre is now the home of 12 cinemas!

Place de la Bourse

The tree-lined tram route from the centre of the old town

The river front - this is where river cruise ships dock

Vineyards galore along the wine route

This church, usually the most prominent structure in town, was one of many in towns along the wine route

The grounds of the  Château Branaire-Ducru

Thick-trunked old vines
In the cellars
Tastings to wrap up the long day...
Next stop:  Bilbao and the Guggenheim!

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