As I said in my last post, one of the great things about having guests in residence with us has been the opportunity to explore something rather more exotic than the aisles of the various “brico”s! Some trips, such as Issigeac market and St. Émilion, have been de rigeur with each set of guests, while others, such as Chateau Monbazillac, were new to us.
On one day I had to make a run down to Bordeaux to exchange some items at a shop and took my sister-in-law, Coral, with me. I decided that we’d try something new and, instead of taking my customary route along the D936 to Libourne and getting on the autoroute, we’d drive the D936 all the way to Bordeaux instead. It’s a very pretty route that takes you through (inevitably) acres and acres of vineyards and through some small towns. There are several stunning chateaux to be seen along the way, one of which is now on the ever-growing list of places to visit when the opportunity arises. I had thought that Coral would enjoy the breathtaking vista of Bordeaux as approached from the east over the Garonne, but her reaction to the sight of the gorgeous Renaissance main boulevard was much more enthusiastic that I had anticipated, so we made a snap decision to park the car and go for a coffee somewhere.
I was stunned at my luck when I randomly pulled into an underground carpark (Bourse, if you must know) and we emerged into the sunny pedestrianised Cours de Chapeau Rouge, less than 100 yards from Place de l’Opera. Sheer dumb luck, I promise! I wished that I had known this back in February when, with Mo & Gina, I tried to find Cours de Chapeau Rouge to deliver time-sensitive documents to the bank and got stunningly and frustratingly lost, thereby earning Bordeaux the unfair moniker “bloody Bordeaux”. However, that’s the joy of trying to learn new places.
The gods continued to smile on us as we were then able to nab an outside table right alongside the Opera. We ordered a couple of (jaw-droppingly expensive) cappucinos and, while we were waiting for them to be delivered, I zipped off to the Tourist Board office to buy some post cards for Coral to send to friends & family and pick up some brochures on Bordeaux and the activities & attractions on offer in the immediate area for the house. As we meandered back towards the car there came, through the open windows on the side of the Opera House, the sounds of the company rehearsing, which was a wonderful bonus.
On the way home we stopped for a (late) light lunch in St. Émilion, and a gentle trundle up towards the Place de la Poste in order that Coral could buy some wine to take home for friends. Upon leaving St. Émilion I decided to take a bit of a flier and, instead of going straight back to the jolly old 936, explore some of the smaller roads and see what the countryside in one of the world’s wine meccas was like at closer quarters. It is very pretty. Tucked away among the vines are some lovely houses but encouters with modern equipment, such as large stainless vats, feel jarring and incongruous, particularly if they are juxtaposed. I think that Coral enjoyed her day. I know that I did.