Day 14: Early Start, Long Drive. Bordeaux, Edge of Toulouse.


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September 23rd 2022
Published: September 23rd 2022
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Dinner last night was had at L‘Atelier Gourmande, or for those of us whose French is a bit rusty- non existent - it’s the Gourmet Workshop.

It is located up an alleyway, away from the bustling cafe scene around the Place Plumereau, the plaza a few doors up from our apartment. We were greeted at the door by the two main men of this operation, and seated at shiny tables topped with a solid, finely scuffed piece of stainless steel plate. The seats were clear chequered plastic, and that’s where the funky look finished.

Water and bread slid onto the table before we had our coats off. It was replaced often during our meal, once the cane basked looked low; it was never empty, and either there was a huge bin of wasted bread out the back at the end of the evening, or it was recycled, making up full baskets to re-serve. Probably a good thing that I don’t run a restaurant for even thinking like that. I hate waste.

The owner of the restaurant, who resembled an older version of the French actor Francois Cluzet, subtly hovered around the tables, and when he picked up on
Hotel de Ville, ToursHotel de Ville, ToursHotel de Ville, Tours

The Tour’s Town Hall is more substantial than the Melbourne Town Hall, and , no doubt due to the period it was built in, is more impressive
people having difficulty with the French only menu, he would lean in and offer a smiling interpretation of the dishes. When we arrived at the restaurant, I thought he was just a random guy chatting to the head waiter at the door; his smart casual appearance didn’t say owner. Throughout the evening he would check that everything was OK, “Ca Va?”

This operation ran like a well oiled machine; everyone knew their role, and it happened so seamlessly that you barely knew they were there. The third member of the front of house crew was a tall, tattooed, balding thirty something man who wore a white waiters outfit with a black apron and an infectious smile. He loved his work, always joking with the others, but delivered dishes, and literally slid top ups of water and bread onto the table, in a way that you didn’t notice it happen.
We opted for the 30€ three course menu with options for each serving, and thankfully Tim’s interpretation of a Fish dish was corrected to pork backstrap by the owner on one of his passes, as that was my main course choice. It turns out this description confused a few patrons,
Waste and Recycle Bins, ToursWaste and Recycle Bins, ToursWaste and Recycle Bins, Tours

While waiting for Tim, I was lucky enough to see this bin emptying system. They are like an iceberg; only a small part sits above the ground. The skill to hook them up and reinsert them in their housing is impressive. Rubbish Bins. Don’t complain I’m not giving you variety.
so Tim got a pass on that one. It’s a big relief to have a French speaker as your unofficial, unpaid guide.

The food and atmosphere exceeded my expectations - never go in expecting much, and you’ll never be disappointed - and it was a fitting way to finish our tour of Tours.

Le Bar Dolittle was firing up as we let ourselves into our building after dinner, so I closed all the lovely double glazed windows and created an acoustic barrier between them and us. Unfortunately, during the night, Sue decided it was too hot, so she opened our bedroom window to allow some cool air in. This cool air was accompanied by the hot party atmosphere of the Bar, with the noise, music, and occasional chants of whatever, maybe skol, skol in French, joining me in bed; I was lucky no one spilled a drink on me.

At some point, Tim dragged himself out of bed and declared it was, “ Last drinks ! “ and shut the window. By then it was too late to go back to sleep but it was a nice gesture.

The stopover in Bordeaux was short but sweet.
Medieval Bordeaux GatesMedieval Bordeaux GatesMedieval Bordeaux Gates

Crooked shot, taken from the car, across the driver.

After skirting around town for a carpark, driving up narrow one way streets lined with African themed shops and incense infused shops selling crafts, Inca artwork, records, camping gear, childrens toys, hand spun crockery, and books to suit all tastes ; and that was just one shop.

The bit of Bordeaux we did visit indicated that Bordeaux is worthy of a few more days, so next time we’re in Luxembourg, we will take a direct flight to Bordeaux and visit more than a few shops and the riverside in a small part of the old town.

I struck up a conversation with a guy, outside a church, who was wearing pants you can unzip the legs off, new hikers boots, and a bulging backpack with a scallop shell hanging from the back. That’s right, he’s walking the Camino. Wynand, a fifty something Belgian was walking to Santiago, and started in Belgium in July. He had worn out one pair of boots, hence the new pair, and was unprepared for the hot summer that they have experienced in Europe this year. He first walked the Camino in 1985 when there was few markers, no guides, and he walked with his brother and his best friend, who he wanted to kill at times ; I know that feeling. This time he was walking alone, as I did the last time.

We have just ticked over 1500 kilometres for the trip, which is a large number on a European holiday, for a car, and the rain is very persistent. It’s 7pm and we still have about 50 kilometres to go. I can’t see much more happening today so I’ll rap it up and will have some news from Toulouse tomorrow.
Today was about getting from A to B and I think we passed B ages ago. This little 2009 Nissan Micra is a beast, but there’s one thing about small cars, they’re small. We still have one toll booth to pass. The last one cost 34€ and we have travelled further this time. I have the card ready.

It was only 20€ to leave the toll road and another 40 minutes until we were eating dinner. At 8pm, the best we could do was 5 types of cheese, bread and melon. The place we’re staying in has three levels, is a 19th century building, but as you can see by the pics, it’s 21st century living. The stairs are almost like climbing a ladder, and remind me of a place I visited in Sambiase in Italy. ( Hi Anna. ) The stairs were almost vertical but the lady of the house carried food and drinks up them as if they were flat. It’s a practice thing, and I’m not going to get used to this in one night.
Luckily, Sue and I are on the same level as the bathroom.

It’s a very comfortable house and it will be an early night.


Additional photos below
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Town Square, Bordeaux Town Square, Bordeaux
Town Square, Bordeaux

Had a coffee here and watched groups of 1st Year Uni Students - only 1st Years would do this stuff - dressed up in ridiculous outfits, performing dares and dancing for the masses. You can only hope they were drunk or something.
Canales de Bordeaux Canales de Bordeaux
Canales de Bordeaux

These are a small rum and vanilla flavoured fluted cake with a firm caramelised crust. The centre is a custard filling blended with a cake texture.


Part of a Church Portico Part of a Church Portico
Part of a Church Portico

Shows St James of Santiago de Compostela pointing to a map to show the Way. Wynand from Belgium, who started his Camino in Belgium, in July, passed on that tip.
Classic Decorations In TownsClassic Decorations In Towns
Classic Decorations In Towns

There’s no imagination in umbrellas ☔️
Visit to Auvillar : CANCELED Visit to Auvillar : CANCELED
Visit to Auvillar : CANCELED

The weather has turned and could be foul for a few days. The trip to the village of Auvillar, considered the prettiest on the French Camino is off.
Top Floor Top Floor
Top Floor

Tim has a choice. The teepee or the couch divan thing.


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