What seems like an age ago now, but was in fact only a few weeks, I went to Bordeaux in the South of France. It was just after the Bank Holiday weekend, which I’d spent in Belfast meeting all the Irish side of my Family. We’d arrived back home in London at about 10pm and I literally got back, emptied my bag, repacked it and got straight into bed – ready for my 4am taxi ride back to Gatwick.
Now, I’m definitely not the most organised person, my time keeping really isn’t great and I’m always running slightly late. But when it comes down to long distance travel i.e flying, I get super paranoid that I am going to be late – so you can imagine how anxious I was when 15 minutes into the taxi ride, I realised we were heading into London rather than out. Apparently, the driver knew what he was doing as he managed to get me there on time, but I’ll tell you now it wasn’t the peaceful/sleep filled journey I’d been hoping for. So not the best start to the trip, but I did manage to squeeze in an Eggs Royal at Jamies, before I boarded the plane.
For those of you who don’t know, by day I’m a Product & Furniture Designer, and my trip to Bordeaux was for work. Basically we were given a budget flown out to France to spend 3 days trawling round the biannual antiques fair at the Place des Quinconces where the city centre meets the Garonne River. The idea was to buy some pieces and to bring them home to use as inspiration for AW16. This was my first trip away with my new job and I was so excited to explore a new city. It was great the weather was amazing, baring in mind I had just spent a long weekend walking round Northern Ireland – as soon as we arrived at the hotel, the shorts and sandals were out and we went in search of an espresso and a couple of croissants.
For the first two days we stuck to the fair. It was a pretty bizarre place, tent upon tent packed full of bits and bobs, weird taxidermy and more brass candle sticks than you can shake a stick at. It’s fair to say that I had definitely lost the majority of my GCSE french skills, bartering in a foreign language is never easy, especially when you keep getting numbers and prices mixed up. By lunchtime of the first day we were all craving the shade – it was so bloody hot! One thing I admire most about the french is their commitment to lunch, everyone seems to come together, stop and enjoy it; most whipping out a french stick, a chunk of cheese, some sliced meats and a bottle of Bordeaux’s finest red wine – so what could we do other than follow suit, when in rome. The food was great, we managed to find a food stall which was selling warm duck and prosciutto baguettes, some fresh fruit and 10 year old bottles of wine for €6!! Bordeaux as a place is perfect, it’s your typical french town, with wide open cobbled streets and beautiful 18th century architecture. We were there to work, and spend as much time as possible hunting out antiques but we did manage to grab an ice cream and a wander through the town. And on the third day we went to explore the Rue Notre Dame, a narrow cobbled street with loads of small boutique design shops and even one like snoopers paradise in Brighton. Of course the evenings were ours to do with as we pleased, and after getting lost a few times, we managed to navigate ourselves to a few bars for some more wine and a wander through the city.
On the last night we went to L’entrecôte, on the same square as the Opera house. It was INSANE, probably the best steak I have ever had. All they served was steak and chips, the sauce the meat was cooked in was so good! For dessert I made a bit of a faux pas, and went for the chocolate mouse, and was ever so disappointed when everyone else’s pile of ice cream filled profiteroles turned up – proper food envy. I’d never heard of L’entrecôte before, but apparently they have a restaurant in London too, which I will 100% be visiting soon. All in all, I had a really nice time, and would love to go back to Bordeaux on a true break and explore it a little further – it’s definitely got me excited for Carcassonne next month!
Whats French cities would you recommend visiting?