Our hotel is located on rue Borie the center of the ancient Chartrons wine district and across wine museum.
Our room was stunning. It had at least 12 foot high ceilings, huge windows and a reclaimed fireplace with strange aged mirror which looked like a piece of art.
The bus from San Sebastian was late and the trip ended up taking more than 5 hours, instead of the 2 hours we had expected; we arrived tired and hungry.
Across the street from our hotel was the restaurant ”Boucheron” which specialized in steaks. It is a cozy space with traditional décor, checkered tablecloth and real coal fired grill.
That evening we were their first customers for dinner. The smell of a huge (1 kilo!) grilled steak covered with onion was divine!
OMG! The steak was not edible. It was a very tough cut of meat; I think it would only be used for ground beef in US. The only redeeming quality of this meal was that we didn’t overeat for the simple reason – we could not chew it.
The next morning we had a simple goal: to find good coffee and real French croissants. Within a few steps from our hotel we found a little charming café with outside tables on the sunny side of street. We were so ready to start a day of exploring the treasures of Bordeaux from the right foot. After a 15 minute wait with no service we decided to go to the shady side of the street in hope of better service. Because it was still a bit nippy in the morning we sat inside. This place did not serve croissants. We ate an OK baguette with frozen pack of butter accompanied by mediocre coffee. Well, since we could not immediately leave the city and shut the door behind us, we walked to downtown shopping area.
The weather is beautiful,
the grape vines are everywhere
and a lot of the buildings have these build-in metal bars near the entrances.
Patrick probably had the right idea what it was used for when horses where the main means of transportation.
Buildings in Bordeaux don’t have real balconies like in Spain, which was very strange considering such a nice climate.
There are not many green spaces or parks. One of the parks was actually used for parking.
The traditional palaces are glorious and the addition of modern fountains works very well.
One of the main city attraction is a wine museum, with very interesting collection of wine trade artifacts.
A well-known wine bar is located next door to the wine museum. We appeared at the bar door at 6:15 pm and were the first customers. The place is charming with interesting food offering and extensive local wine tasting menu.
We proceeded to order recommended by a waiter creations of a local chef. The food was underwhelming. The little piece of hamburger on the rice roll with ketchup was supposed to be innovative sushi creation.
We lost any hope for culinary experience and ordered a plate of cheese.
The cheese plate was wonderful and served as great accompaniment to rich and strong regional wines.
|that was the best tasting|
After extensive and expensive tasting Patrick and I realized that we don’t care for Bordeaux wines. They are in style of CA cabernet sauvignons and very overwhelming and heavy.
The neighborhood we stayed in feels very artistic. Art galleries, old markets remade into modern performance spaces and many antique shops
Several old market around the city which remade into supermarkets, shopping malls and performance spaces
After serious research we found that there is one real functioning market left on the other end of the city. The market was worth the trip. The products, the crowd and the prices were a stark reminder that the old good times were really good
But overall Bordeaux really feels like a prime example and victim of globalized economy. It is a beautiful ancient city with traces of old crafts and culinary arts everywhere, and with restaurants which still have the same charming look and feel
But the traditional way of life is being destroyed and replaced by mass produced stuff and industrial food. The last morning in Bordeaux we finally found an OK breakfast food on the way to the train station. On the park bench - the coffee from the paper cups and croissants from Paul (the same global chain pastry shop, which I have on the first floor of my office building in DC)
How lucky we were...