Back from Bordeaux!

A redheaded woman drinking wine
We're back from a super week in Bordeaux. And yes, we sampled plenty of the local produce – well, it'd be rude not to, wouldn't it?

Our hotel was the Hotel Particulier. The name's actually a pun, as it's the French term for a grand townhouse, but, of course, this one has become a hotel. We booked too late to be in the hotel proper so had to book a little apartment, which was just lovely, with a big sitting room and dinky little kitchenette and shower room. Although our rooms overlooked the street, we had the windows open all the time. Trams make the strangest noise, a sort of whooshing. It's actually quite a relaxing sound.

I'd looked at maps of the city before going but had got the scale wrong; I'd thought we were five minutes' walk from the cathedral when it was a minute straight down the street. We always book somewhere in the historic heart of the city – rule of travel number one: always get the best location. Location before luxury. Though it's perfectly possible to get both in most places.
Bordeaux cathedral
If you're in the old town, Bordeaux is really lovely to wander round on foot. I say old town; the city was essentially rebuilt in the late 1600s and 1700s, so it's in many ways pretty modern. Many of the streets are broad, and the buildings tall and graceful. A couple of historic gates and some important churches are really all that remains of the city before then. On some streets signs tell you what was once on that site, such as the monastery whose occupants would pay Barbary pirates to release captives. Two of the most notable sights – the cathedral and the Place de la Bourse – were being renovated and so partially covered in scaffolding, but that didn't detract from the city's charm.
The big bell (a medieval gate containing a giant bell), Bordeaux
The street leading to La Grosse Cloche, one of two medieval gates.
There were plenty of museums and galleries to visit. That's what we did most mornings. They all seemed to open around 11am, which struck me as very civilised as it meant we could have a late night eating and drinking, then get a good night's sleep and rise refreshed and ready to fill our brains. We visited the fine art museum (which had a Goya exhibition on), the decorative art museum (which had a special exhibition of Memphis Group furniture), the Musee d'Aquitaine, and the cathedral. We had hoped to go out to one of the nearby wine towns, perhaps Saint Emilion, but the weather was patchy so we stuck close to town.
Medieval gate, the Porte Cailhau, Bordeaux
Porte Cailhau, the other remaining medieval gate
The museums and galleries were odd as a lot of the time they gave the impression of being put together from collections benefactors had left to the city. Several passionate amateur archaeologists, and a wealth of prehistoric remains in the area, meant the stone age section of the Musee d'Aquitaine was outstanding, for example, but later eras were sketchily presented – I'd be hard pushed to tell you anything at all about medieval Bordeaux beyond Eleanor of Aquitaine from what we saw there. I don't regret going to any of them, but they were distinctly quirky.
A row of 18th century buildings
Place de la Bourse is symmetrical, but there's scaffolding off to the right!
I didn't do any shopping for the trip, and did very little on it. It's kind of nice not needing anything. I did buy a trio of tea towels (lord help me, I've turned into my Nannie Mac – as a child I always wondered why she had so many souvenir tea towels and now I have my own collection). I also bought a load of French soap, which will scent my knitwear drawer till it gets used, and a small bottle of vintage perfume...
Do you have recurring dreams? Every so often I have one where I'm in a shop that sells all sorts of miniatures of rare and vintage perfumes. I'm not sure what sparks these off, but I suspect they're anxiety dreams of sorts, perhaps telling me there's something I need but haven't managed to find. Coming across a bizarre little junk shop with the very polari-sounding name of Bijoux Curiosa and discovering a cabinet of old perfume minis at the back felt very surreal after a boozy lunch. We went back the next day and I did not buy the pricy bottle of Guerlain Mitsouko, I bought a tiny 20-Euro bottle of Rochas Femme. I figured I could afford to lose that money if the juice was rubbish. And... got it home to discover it's scentless. If it hasn't been refilled with coloured water, the fragrance has been utterly killed by years of heat and light. I'll keep it; it's a pretty thing. Maybe I'll refill it with something else! But I'm glad I didn't splash out on the Mitsouko, and perhaps now I've had that experience I won't have the dreams any more.
A redheaded woman standing in front of a fountain
I made this shirt! And I had no idea these trousers looked SO AWFUL!
All in all, it was a very relaxing trip, and I'm glad we went. We ate masses of very good food, and drank rather too much excellent wine, and now feel properly set up for the rest of 2019.


  1. Judging from your blog post and those on Insta, it looks and sounds like you had a wonderfully relaxing holiday - with lots of eating and drinking ;-) I've never been to Bordeaux but it looks really lovely with lots of interesting buildings and museums, however quirky! Hope you did get your batteries recharged and Ziggy and Pippin welcomed you back in style! xxx

    1. It was a really good break. It wasn't a 'wow' experience but it was really enjoyable.

      Ziggy was overjoyed to have us back and made a big fuss of us; Pippin sulked under a tree for 24 hours then threw up on the bed before she'd forgive us for sending her to the cat hotel.

  2. Oh that does sound like an extremely pleasant way to spend your time; eating, drinking and culture, too! Bordeaux looks most interesting.

    What a shame about your perfume but as you say maybe that will be the end of your recurring dream. I used have one about heights where I was always trapped at the top of a tall building and had to climb out of a window...I haven't had it for years but I still don't like heights!

    Your shirt looks fab and so do you!

    1. I'm not good with heights either; I nearly got stuck halfway up York Minster once! Your dream sounds like a classic anxiety one.

  3. That's too bad about the perfume, but as you say it could have been worse. I don't really know anything about Eleanor of Aquitaine either, save for what I've got from watching Lion in Winter. I try to watch it at least once in the Christmas season as a way to be reminded that no one really likes Christmas with their family...

    Glad you had a good time!

    1. Yeah, I knew I was taking a risk. I'd have been really gutted if I'd blown so much more and not got Mitsouko.

      On which note - Mitsouko's not being sold at airports any more. There are loads of other Guerlains but not that. I'm wondering if Guerlain is planning to do something with it; I can't see them taking one of the all-time greats off the market.

  4. Bordeaux looks lovely and I like the sound of the quirky museums. Funnily enough I was eyeing up the tea towels in Corfu but bought a pair of sheepskin pompom trimmed slippers instead - rock'n'roll, eh?
    Your top looks fantastic and the bit of trouser action I can see look perfectly fine to me - as does your hair, gorgeous!
    Hope you're both rested and happy to be home with the urchins. xxx

    1. Can't beat warm feets though. Cold feet are the WORST.

      I'm banned from buying any more tea towels as I've filled a draw. S'pose I'd better wash up more and try to wear some out.

  5. That sounds like a wonderful holiday - I adore museums and exhibits and can happily spend my entire holiday just browsing through them. I'm more of a shopper, though!

    I have shopping dreams too - I'm often in a small store and looking for something. Sometimes I dream I'm working in the store and trying to keep people from coming in!

    1. Gotta save those good dream clothes for yourself!

      We usually do something cultural in the mornings to make up for eating and drinking our way through the rest of the day...


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