24 May 2013

Bordeaux - Ville Sur La Rivière

Bonjour! It's Bordeaux calling! I've gone all French recently. I decided to desperately seek an adventure in the south-west of France, boarding a flight to Bordeaux’s Merignac Airport to be a part of the French life. I have been to the nearby Poitou-Charentes region in the south-west of France before on family visits but I haven’t seen the city of Bordeaux until this visit.

Take the train to Gare de Bordeaux St. Jean to be at the centre of the art and sophistication of this southern French city. Bordeaux's St. Jean Station is managed by SNCF which is the equivalent of Britain’s Network Rail. Boasting high speed rail connections to Paris, Toulouse and other stations along vast train network. Travelling by train in France doesn't have to break the bank, ticket prices are relatively the same compared to prices in England. Enough of that rail commentary it's time to discover the delights of Bordeaux for it's been frustrating to fly into the city's Merignac Airprot and not be able to see the city! I'm a city boy at heart, I hadn't got the chance to see Bordeaux on my previous two visits to the region so I wasn't taking no for an answer! There's just something to love about French cities, my first impressions of the Gare de Bordeaux St. Jean looked fab! It was time for a break! C’est Le Vacances!

Bordeaux has many means of connecting people from the outer regions of the wider Poitou-Charentes area by train. Staying within the rolling fields and vineyards of the French countryside the train posed to be the easiest solution to get to Bordeaux’s centre ville from the hamlet station of Montendre. It’s for sure a learning experience seeing the unknown train stations pass by as the train makes its way closer to Bordeaux, coupled with the busy chattering of the local French people who were on the train early that morning. I loved it really for it was great to be a foreigner in a typically French sitting for variety is the spice of life! My school boy French was challenged but I noticed that the use of French sounded like another foreign form of the language compared to the voices that I heard in Montreal, Canada! I would have conducted the day by myself if their wasn't a compulsory to Montendre station, I couldn't have it all! Les villes sont le moteur d'une nation! Allez!

When in France being in the know to of the local language is a good idea because like most places in France people don’t speak English. I can thankfully understand a lot of French, so if things turned out for the worse I would be able to communicate accordingly. To the right is the ‘L'Eglise du Sacré-Cœur' which translates to ‘The Church of the Sacred Heart’. Something tells me that this church has been modified in the middle because the brickwork looked a lot lighter than the rest of the building appeared to be. I will be honest that the sites I saw in Bordeaux were very different from what I have been used to in Birmingham. No Bullring here, so I guess Bordeaux should keep doing what it continues to do! Continuer à servir de Bordeaux! Oui, BOD!

Bordeaux itself has been classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, suggesting that this city has architecture that’s worth preserving. With that said the ‘Quartier Nansouty’ had a number of very old buildings consisting of houses, schools and general buildings, which date back to the 1700’s now that’s history well preserved B! Along with the protected status of this city it begs the question whether additional work is continually carried out in-order to maintain these buildings? Because some buildings did look like they were in a state of disarray. Who honestly has the answer to this question? Need I be so careless to say that a visit to this charming French city is a must, even if your destination is Paris there's no excuse not jump on a TGV high speed train to the city of Bordeaux. Go!

Bordeaux is definitely a city with a healthy serving of culture and history because there’s no shortage of historical and palatial points of interest. Starting with one of the city’s most formidable sites has to be the ‘Place de la Bourse’ it stands strong with an air of realness. Within this quarter of Bordeaux the architecture has a sense of royalty about it. I did wonder whether these buildings of the past once housed people who could have been called dignitaries. I could definitely imagine myself living in a kitsch and quintessentially royal setting for we all need to embrace our lives in a more fabulous fashion! I know the 'La Place de la Bourse' is fit for a queen! How about you? Finding 'La Place de la Bourse' was such a relief because I had researched Bordeaux's main sights before I flew out to France in May 2013! Talking about the metro, it trailed around the city and even followed me on my path through the day. Oui!

Taking one day to discover the delights of this French city will do the job fine. Describing this city’s status took a lot of thought for me as Bordeaux has a feeling of a large town. Getting around Bordeaux can be executed in two ways, I would suggest to discover the city by foot as it’s definitely how the sights that are off the beaten track can be seen. Better still this city has an extensive Metro system, that passes through the streets of the quite regularly. Word on the street is that the Bordeaux metro network will eventually be developed to reach the city’s Bordeaux Merignac Airport. I didn't take the Metro, I believe that I saw some quirky sides of the city that incorporated a African vibe, I suppose influences of the Francophone are visible in Bordeaux. I must have took a wrong turn somewhere along the way, noticing the feel of the spice I loved the variety and flavour of the l'afrique savoir faire! Attention aux fruits et légumes sur le marché de la ville! Bien sûr!

Moving through to the final chapter of my day in the city of Bordeaux concluded with a visit to ‘La Garonne’ riverside. This part of town is very picturesque, I for one fell in love this city when I saw the river capture the vista of the city. This city does have that ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ feeling because it’s difficult to limit this city within a phrase or comparison against other European cities I have previously visited. If you know the answer then tell me! You must take a walk along the banks of ‘La Garonne’ to marvel at the typically French buildings, whilst watching the river flow by making its way to the vast Atlantic Ocean. Bordeaux has a small town city feel that serves grandeur all at the same time, she's a multi-talented city! Je vous l'avais dit! Allez de l'avant BOD!

Bordeaux is a fantastic place to visit, I would wholeheartedly say that this city has a great complexity and depth to seek! Only in Bordeaux you can experience the magnificent buildings of yesteryear right through to the quintessentially French waters of ‘La Garonne’ river. I shout my love for this French gem. I guess it all really makes sense, get to Bordeaux now?! It’s only a 1 hour and 15 minute flight from the UK and easily accessible by the speedy TGV trains from Paris. I have probably mentioned about the high speed link, but those French have supersonic trains on lock down! If history and culture happens to be your thing I suggest that you book up to Bordeaux now! Dois-je me répéter encore une fois?! Obtenez votre vie Bordeaux! Who knows when I'll see you again BOD?

J'adore Bordeaux!

Joseph Harrison

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