The sun rose early and brightly on our first full day in Bordeaux. Even though we had arrived mid-morning we had still put in quite a few kilometers before deciding to call it a day. We would end up putting in some mileage on this day as well.
I had a destination in mind and we decided to just meander our way to our objective; one of the benefits of independent travel. The sun was shining brightly on Place de la Bourse as we headed off into the district known as Saint-Pierre, considered the birthplace of the city. The narrow streets are lined with structures from the 18th century and lead, one way or another into a square. We quickly walked onto the cobblestone lined Place du Parlement, once the location of the Royal Market.
The centerpiece is a beautiful Neo-Rococo fountain.
Walking to Place Saint Pierre, one can't help but notice the haunting, Gothic styled, Eglise Saint-Pierre (Church of St. Peter), which dates back to the 14th and 15th century.
It really stands out as the square and street is lined with restaurants and cafes, the name of one of them made us laugh......everyone does need a "Plan B", right? Place du Plais leads right up to the Porte Cailhau.
According to what I later read; there was actually a palace located here, the Palais de l'Ombriere the residence of the Dukes of Aquitaine and later housed the Parliament of Bordeaux. I really loved the relief-map sculpture of Bordeaux located right behind the Porte Cailhau. I did a little research and found a blog post about François Didier who created this work.
Near the Porte Cailhau, I noticed this plaque, which started with a few questions before telling us the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Bordeaux claims (along with two other cities) to be the birthplace of Eleanor, who would become one of the most powerful women in the Europe and after getting her marriage to Louis VII annulled would marry the Duke of Normandy, eleven years her junior....Henry, the Duke of Normandy would become Henry II.
It took two centuries to build this Basilica; starting in 1350 and finishing sometime in the 16th century. Possibly even more impressive is the bell tower which, like Pey-Berland Tower which stands next to the Cathedral of Saint Andre, stands apart from the church. And in case you're wondering who has bragging rights; Fleche Saint Michel is the tallest tower in Sothern France, standing at 114 meters, Pey-Berland Tower is 50 meters tall. On this bright morning there was a lively flea market going on in the square next to the tower.
A few blocks away, we found another church; the Église Sainte-Croix (Church of the Holy Cross).
This used to be a Benedictine monastery and was built between the late 11th and 12th centuries.
This was a major landmark for me, as I knew we had to take a left here and swing around to get to our destination, Marche des Capuchins.
I'd read much about this market before we arrived in Bordeaux, it seemed to be a favorite with locals, and you know how much we love visiting markets when we travel!
We had a gameplan of sorts, but all revolved around bread. I'd noticed a bakery right across the street from the market.
I could actually smell the wonderful scent of bread baking. I followed my nose and ended up at the back of the bakery. The bakers looked at us, smiled and waved us in.......so our first experience at Fournil des Capucins was walking past the ovens and bakers baking bread to the front of the shop.
This would end up being our favorite bakery......I later found out the place is open 24 hours a day! With a steady stream of fresh baguette. How could we not get a baguette and a couple of croissants?
The smell of good fresh baguette is intoxicating....we'd seen folks walking along carrying bread with a chunk off the end missing. Well, I guess it's instinctive, because as soon as we walked out of the bakery, the Missus just bit a chunk off the end of the bread! It is that good.....
Fournil des Capucins
62 Cours de la Marne
The smell of bread had overcome us....we needed something to eat and perhaps some espresso. Right across the back of the bakery, in front of the main entrance to the market is this stand.
Which made a decent cup of espresso that went nicely with our croissant.
Then we ducked back into the market and bought some cheese. We found the farmers and vendors in Marche des Capuchins quite friendly, even though we stood out from the usual crowd. They seemed to go out of their way to help us. We ended up at this cheese stand.
And got some cheese....
Marché des Capucins
Place des Capucins
We had fully intended to do a nice picnic and headed back to the apartment after doing a bit of window shopping on Cours de l’Intendance. Where we saw the ultimate way of entertaining a pup while his "dad" did some shopping in the store.
Just get him some rope and cord to keep him occupied!
We cut through Rue Voltaire and stopped at the Carrefour Market in Place des Grand Hommes. The Missus, laden down with bread and cheese gave me a simple directive...."get us some white wine" which was simple enough. What I wasn't ready for was the whole wall of white wines! Like over 50 different bottles...vintages...blends....I went with something rather local, with some reservation since it was 4,9€ - five bucks and change. The Missus was cracking up when I got out of the market....she'd seen the look on my face when I got to the wine department....analysis paralysis.
We headed up to Jardin Public, the large public garden and green space that was two blocks from our apartment. It's quite a lush and welcoming park.
The park was founded in 1746 in style of a French Garden. Napoleon III turned it into more of an English style park during his reign. There's a nice large pond, the Natural History Museum is located here, and there's even a Puppet Theatre.
Nice, but it was getting a bit too hot for us...so we headed back to the apartment and had a really nice "indoor picnic"......with the A/C on.....doesn't get much better than that!
With our cheese, bread, strawberries, and of course the wine....which was excellent, crisp, light, with a touch of sweet, and a balanced acidity.....
In fact, the Missus would have me go back for this very bottle of wine a couple more times during our stay in Bordeaux.
It's not always about eating out when we're travelling......when in Bordeaux, it was the cheese and wine....oh, and don't forget that baguette!