(As a side note, this is the first blog I'm writing since the recent attacks and "lockdown", although not the first to be published obviously. Words fail me on that subject, so I'd rather just celebrate France the way it should be - full of wine and culture and good times.)
|The opera house|
|A wall of Bordeaux wine in the Maison des Vins|
By the way, it was a fabulous decision to arrive after lunch, around 4 pm or so. We stayed until we went to dinner around 8.30, and for at least half that time there was constantly a queue of people standing right behind us waiting to get a table. We felt maybe slightly bad to be sitting there laughing and talking and drinking wine under their baleful glare, but on the other hand, we were loving it.
We were finally done with wine and ready for dinner, so we quickly made a phone reservation somewhere nearby, having more than once been in the situation of traipsing around a French city post-9 pm and finding everywhere full or stopped serving. We regretted having reserved, however, when we stepped into the restaurant lobby and discovered it smelled like poo. Not just smelled bad, smelled like actual human sewage. There was a moment of confusion - why was the waiter just standing there in the middle of this stink without a flicker of disgust? Why were there people inside the restaurant, eating? We would have walked out if we hadn't booked, but instead we asked to be moved to a table upstairs, where the poo smell was absent. Later, noticing a similar smell in the lobby of the apartment building where we were renting, we wondered whether this is just a typical Bordeaux smell and the locals don't even notice it (there is a town in New Zealand called Rotorua where this is the case, due to an abundance of sulphorous gases). Has anyone else found that Bordeaux smells like shit? I googled, and apparently it's a thing that the wine may smell that way, but nothing really for the city itself...
|Happy diners in our fancy poo-smell restaurant|
|Service was also slow, by the way|
|The opera house by night|
We found the famous miroir d'eau - literally looks like nothing when you're standing in front of it - it's (not literally) miles away from the buildings it reflects and I've seen shinier puddles. We almost gave up and concluded that the dingy grey atmospheric conditions weren't right for it to reflect anything, but lo and behold, as soon as you look through a camera lens, the effect works a treat.
We walked along the riverbank, where there was a huge food market, and found an antique-y area which was specially open (on Sunday) to celebrate the vin nouveau. Which, by the way, was not at all what I expected - I was thinking Beaujolais Nouveau, whereas this was the colour of cloudy apple juice and tasted pretty much like juice too.
|The monument aux Girondins (Revolutionary politicians)|
|On the banks of the Garonne river|
|"Do you think this might be a trademark infringement?" "No way, if we call it Mickey *Boy*, no-one will ever know"|