Unfortunately, I’m writing about our life in Bordeaux right as our time here is coming to end. But, nevertheless, I’ll start from the beginning: the apartment. It’s huge relative to our Paris apartment and has three large windows. It’s colorful too – yellow, black, white, with a splash of green in the kitchen. I LOVE it.
Since we actually had a decent kitchen, I went a little crazy cooking for the first few weeks we were here. Initially, we frequented the Marché des Capucins, a large covered market, for most of our groceries. It’s an institution here. It’s buzzing with vendors and shoppers, people lunching on oysters and wine at Chez Jean-Mi, and others just milling about at one of the many counters/bars. I made all kinds of deliciousness – indian fried rice, egg fried rice, coconut rice, chapatis, yogurt masala chicken, mint and date chutney, potato masala patties, warm peanut salad, seared trout, cucumber herb salad, and several other random things that don’t have names. Even S made curry a couple of times – which was surprisingly good given the supplies we have (and might be surprising to some of you who don’t know he does that). I should note that part of the reason we were on an Indian/Asian kick was because the previous tenants left a few Indian spices. Not a ton, but enough for a couple of resourceful people to work some magic in the kitchen.
Best City to Visit in 2017
Bordeaux continues to get good press. According to Lonely Planet, it is the #1 city to visit in 2017. A friend asked me if I agreed with that ranking. Since I don’t know most of the other cities on the list, I can’t really compare it, but I can easily agree it should be top 10.
Our initial observations from our first trip here were pretty accurate, but a few other things struck us upon arriving here. I didn’t realize just how many restaurants there were. You can’t walk ten steps without running into a cute or interesting bar or restaurant. A Franco-American couple that has lived here for the past 17 years gave us an introductory overview of Bordeaux when we first arrived. They told us it has the highest number of restaurants and bars per capita in France! Isn’t that crazy? But, they warned us, that means there are a lot of bad places too so you have to be careful.
We really just lived here. For the most part, we did normal, routine, every day things. I didn’t even whip out the camera for the first three weeks. So although I don’t have volumes to say about our time here or that many pictures, that doesn’t mean we didn’t love it. Here are some of our Bordeaux highlights from the last several weeks:
- Strolls along the Garonne waterfront when it is sunny and warm – particularly when there is ice cream involved. The place is packed with people when the sun is out. Everyone is biking, running, rollerblading, skateboarding, walking, picnicking.
- Oysters and white wine at the Sunday market in the Chartrons area – Marché des Quais
- Evening trips to the Champagne Bar. Yes, there is a bar that only serves champagne and it is lovely.
- Afternoon trips to Bar á Vin. I mentioned this place the last time we came here. Well, it’s still cheap and wonderful and the best place for an afternoon pick-me-up.
- Easily accessible and good coffee. We have several really great coffee shops walking distance of our apartment.
- Walking through the uber-green Jardin Public
- Stumbling upon the Darwin Ecosystem. We were searching for a coffee roaster and came across this space. Former military barracks have been repurposed to house companies, retail shops, and restaurants in a sustainable and environmentally friendly space. The entire place is graffitied. And there is skate park, a BMX-track, and an urban farm among other things.
- The annual Carnival parade: Les Carnaval des Deux Rives. It was no Nola Mardi Gras (and no LaPlace or Lake Charles one, for that matter) but we entertained ourselves. They do have floats. They don’t throw anything of value – just confetti, and lots of it. There are some organized performances, but they are just not quite as polished as we’re used to.
- Cité du Vin. This is a wine-themed high-tech immersive museum. The building, which is inspired by the swirl of wine being poured into a glass, is gorgeous. This is a highlight stop for many people, but neither of us were all that crazy about it.
- True Crime, specifically Shadow of Truth. Ok, this doesn’t have anything to do with Bordeaux, but I guess it has something to do with my Bordeaux. We (mostly me) have been devouring all sorts of true crime stuff recently. The best thing I’ve seen is Shadow of Truth on Netflix. So good. Watch it.
- Walking through the Cimetiere de la Chartreuse. I guess that last bullet served as an unintentional segue. The cemetery is sort of a mini-Père Lachaise. It was beautiful and serene. There’s something about cemeteries. I guess it’s kind of a weird thing to do, but I really love walking through them.