Phil and Sue Newdick continue their travels in France in 2018, leaving Tours in the Loire Valley – The Gisborne Herald


Posted on September 25, 2021 at 9:13 p.m.

Phil and Sue Newdick continue their trip to France in 2018, leaving Tours in the Loire Valley, and traveling by bus to Bordeaux, the center of the famous wine region.

The road works to Bordeaux were important and slowed down the bus a bit. However, even the poor road conditions between the bus stop and our new home did not prevent us from meeting our next host on time.

At first glance, the apartment we found was quite run down. These impressions stuck and we should have booked elsewhere.

But never mind, intrepid travelers that we are, we decided to make the most of what seemed like a bad decision. All we really needed was a place to rest our tired bones during the few nights we were in Bordeaux.

It is the hub of the famous wine region, a port town on the Garonne in southwestern France.

The largest metropolitan area has 1.2 million inhabitants (2017 census), making it the sixth largest city in France. It is known for its Gothic cathedral, ornate basilica and mixed faith churches. Three of the 71 important religious sites mentioned in the 1998 UNESCO Routes of Santiago are in Bordeaux: the Saint-Séverin basilica, the Saint-Michel basilica and the Saint-André cathedral. 18th and 19th century mansions and remarkable art museums with public gardens line the curve of the banks of the Garonne.

The large Place de la Bourse, centered on the Three Graces fountain, overlooks the Water Mirror which is the largest water mirror in the world and the most photographed site of the Port de la Lune (name given to the river port) .

Covering an area of ​​3450 m², it was built in 2006. The bottom of the swimming pool is made up of granite slabs covered with 2 cm of water. The mirror effect is achieved because there is no real fountain – instead, an automated water atomizer creates a mist every 15 minutes.

We didn’t see the full mirror effect – the hot days, school holidays, and the number of people cooling off while paddling in the water took a toll on the picture, but it was an impressive sight nonetheless. .

Temperatures had climbed as we moved further south and daily highs were now reaching 29-30C

We were shopping and were approached by a friendly local who, when he established who we were and the fact that we certainly needed local advice, informed us that the best buy we could make was a large bottle of local bordeaux.

He recommended a 1.5 liter bottle which costs the equivalent of around NZD 2.70. But we did not have enough room in our luggage for this, our stay in Bordeaux was not long enough to drink it and recover from the hangover, so we thanked him and unfortunately put him back on the bookshelf.

Although we visited the city in 2009, it was only an overnight stopover and we saw very little of it. This second visit was a real eye-opener. Even the humble accommodation we had couldn’t take away the history and the interesting sites that seemed to await us around every corner.

The streets of Bordeaux are generally flat, clean and well maintained. They are within walking distance and although we explored much of the city we didn’t see much. There was simply too much choice for the four days we had given ourselves.

Moving on wasn’t difficult, as so far the choices we made seemed to take us from one great place to another and we were sure the next step would be no exception.

Hopefully we can travel again after Covid and if so, Bordeaux would be on a future wishlist.

Pont de Pierre: The first bridge between the left bank and the right bank in Bordeaux. Pont de Pierre translates to stone bridge but this one is built mostly of brick. Since 2016, due to its condition, the bridge has been permanently closed to traffic, except for pedestrians, cyclists, trams and emergency vehicles. All photos of Phil and Sue Newdick

HOT DAYS: The Water Mirror in Bordeaux

OLD STRUCTURE: The Basilica of Saint-Michel is a flamboyant Gothic Catholic church built between the 14th and 16th centuries. It has a separate tower.

CITY ENTRY: The Porte de Bourgogne is located on the site of the old medieval gate. It marks the official entrance to the city on the old road leading to Paris.

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