Bordeaux, France is often referred to as “Petit Paris” or Little Paris, and for good reason. It is very reminiscent of a smaller Paris. I met an online friend there, and discovered this lovely little city.
Okay, so we’re not technically girls, but it would sound silly saying “ladies”, “lassies” or “women”, right?
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This is the day that I met my online pal, Jill Colonna in person! There’s a bit of a long story in how this meeting was arranged, and I won’t bore you with it, but the stars were absolutely in alignment in order for it to have worked so perfectly into my culinary trip through Europe! You’ll remember Jill from her Lemon and Passionfruit Tartlets recipe which I posted from her book, Teatime in Paris.
Both of us were born in Scotland less than two years apart, but Jill now lives in Paris and as you know, I live in LA.
I had left Geneva on a 6:30 am flight, and arrived in Bordeaux early that Sunday morning. Although it was early, it was already getting warm. I didn’t have to wait more than five minutes for the bus that took me directly from the airport to the train station in Bordeaux.
Just after exiting Gare de Bordeaux St. Jean, I found a patisserie and nipped in for a chocolate croissant; after all, it had to be done. I was so excited to eat a chocolate croissant in France again (after 25 years) that I didn’t even take a picture. It’s true!
Bordeaux was almost eerily quiet, but I knew it was due to being so early on a Sunday morning.
I walked from the station to our hotel in Bordeaux’s golden triangle, in the Grands Hommes district; essentially, the heart of Bordeaux. Unfortunately, I lost my new cardigan along the way–new rule: never carry something loose when walking. There was a small market just outside St. Andrew’s Cathedral, which was near the hotel, and so my breakfast (part II) was a chocolate filled crepe–do we see a theme here?
I checked into the hotel and had plenty of time to walk back to St. Andrew’s Cathedral for mass. It is an awe-inspiring building, inside and out.
Jill wasn’t arriving until after lunch, so I scoped out the immediate neighborhood and loved everything I saw! This area of Bordeaux was so clean and had a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere.
I returned to the “movie set” restaurant, and although I’d give it 5 stars for atmosphere, setting and presentation, the tomatoes in my Caprese salad were lacking in flavor. (Insert sad face here.)
I sauntered back to the hotel and spotted Jill walking towards me; we ended up meeting each other right in front of our hotel! We excitedly greeted each other and went up to the room to drop off Jill’s bag. It was extremely hot by then, and Jill wondered why I hadn’t turned on the air-conditioning. I had accepted the fact that I was in Europe and most places don’t have a/c so hadn’t even looked. Jill thought this was hilarious, given that I live in California. She spotted the remote and turned on the air–what a relief! Within minutes we were out, exploring Bordeaux, eating canelés and sorbet and taking silly selfies as if we had been friends for ages!
After walking around and seeing more of Bordeaux, we went back to the hotel for some cheese and wine before going out for dinner.
Although it was later in the day, it was still very hot. Luckily, the restaurant where Jill had made a reservation was only a few minutes’ walk from our hotel, and directly across from one of Bordeaux’s most famous attraction, The Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror). It is the world’s largest reflecting pool, and with the temperatures soaring, it was popular with the locals and tourists alike.
When I saw that our restaurant was directly across the street in the very center of Place de la Bourse, I couldn’t believe it. It was such a stunning location, and somehow we scored the best seat in the house, wait, maybe in all of Bordeaux!
Post-dining picture taking was a must. There were endless possibilities for beautiful shots, but we had to get one of “our” window!
We went back to the Water Mirror and were so glad we did!
It was so much cooler at night, so we took a leisurely walk back through the empty streets of Bordeaux, taking in the fabulous atmosphere which the full moon accentuated.
I think that if I tell you that we both went out like lights when we got back to our hotel, you’d probably believe me.
We had no specific time to leave the next day, but we were planning to go to meet another blogging friend, (who we had never met in person before): Karen Burns Booth (Lavender and Lovage). Karen and her husband run a bed and breakfast and cooking school in the Charente-Maritime region of France, less than an hour and a half from Bordeaux. (Update: they are no longer in France.)
The next morning we set off to find a little cafe where we could have breakfast. It didn’t take too long.
After to speaking to Karen by phone, we decided to catch the train to the station near her house so that we’d arrive in the early afternoon. That settled, we checked out of our hotel, and did a little more exploring. We then took a tram to the station.
Goodbye, Bordeaux, until we meet again!
My culinary tour continues in France. CLICK HERE to see where Jill and I went next.
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