It has been a long time since I have been to Bordeaux. I certainly never envisioned cycling through this part of the wine country, much less visiting France so many times. De Gaulle's France was not very kind to me back in the 70s. The countryside was my only respite, since they genuinely seemed to appreciate Americans for liberating their country.
One of my friends who served in WW2 was adopted by a French couple form a little village, not far from here. They really appreciated what he did for them!
But before we hop aboard our bicycles, what is there to know about Bordeaux, besides wine? Located in the southwestern region of France, on the Garonne River, Bordeaux is considered the wine capital of the world.
From Visitacity: any of its neoclassical style buildings have been restored to their former glory. There are some wonderful pedestrian areas that are safe to walk. Some of the popular attractions include the Les Quais where visitors can enjoy a pleasant ride on a ferry or a nice evening walk. The Aquitaine Bridge
is one of the best architectural monuments in France. The other attractions worth visiting include the Victory Arch, Gambetta Square, Quinconces Square, Musee D’Art Contemporain, Musee D’Aquitaine, and Musee National des Douanes. Its ancient churches are also worth a visit while no trip to Bordeaux would be complete without a wine tour of a few of the hundreds of wine estates. There are wine stores at almost every corner where you can pick up a few rare bottles and legendary vintages. Bordeaux offers its visitors a variety of dining options. The Chartrons quarter is one of the best places to find loads of bars and restaurants. For the shopaholic there are designer stores around place des Grands Hommes and cours de l’Intendance. Rue Ste-Catherine and the Quai des Marques are where you will find shops that are easier on the budget.
I honestly do not remember much about Bordeaux, since I was not too much of a wine drinker back then. If I did drink wine, it was cheap wine! And since my guide book was "Europe of $5 a Day", I think you are quite certain I did not dine in Chartrons.
BTW, the $5 included both a shared room, and sometimes three meals a day!!!
So, with perhaps a half day on our own, a good wine bar or cafe' would seem to be the best way to prepare for a week of cycling through this part of the wine country. I certainly do not need to visit any more churches or museums!
The short flight form Amsterdam lands at the Bordeaux airport. Yes, they have their own airport. Then we take a private car service to our hotel in Saint Macaire, a tiny hamlet about an hour south (50km) of the city of Bordeaux. From there, perhaps it would be a good time to walk the little town, and get our bearings. No word yet on whether we will be officially welcomed by Edouard Macron, the Prime Minister. And if he did, do you think he would welcome us with fast food???
From the looks of things, Macaire looks like a rather charming medieval town, with narrow streets and old houses. It is particularly known for its beautiful churches. We will be on the right bank of the Garonne River. But fortunately for me, the area is known for its great food and wine.
Perhaps by week's end, I will be a better speaker of faux French? I can order champagne and French fries (pomme frites) without any problem!!!
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