Review: Bordeaux

Bordeaux fish market

I had the pleasure of flying off to Bordeaux last weekend, with six of my closest friends, for my friend Katy’s hen do. I completely fell in love with the city, and in particular its food. Here I have written up my food, drink and activity highlights to hopefully give you inspiration for your next city break.

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On the Friday, after a 6am flight, we were straight out onto the river for canoeing. We booked this through Bordeaux Canoe and our guide Luc was so helpful and put up with our very poor French. It was fascinating travelling up the river towards the centre of Bordeaux whilst learning about the area. One of the sights was a collection of fishing huts, which Luc told us were owned by the city and you had to apply to rent. They are in such a beautiful spot you can see why they are in high demand! After we walked across to the Darwin Centre which was a great spot of cafes and food shops and worth visiting if only for a stroll around a glass of wine.

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For our main night out of the weekend we headed to Siman, largely taken in by it’s views over the city. The food was such high quality and well worth spending a little more than other places for the view and top notch cooking. I had the sole with beurre blanc and it was perfectly cooked, just falling off the bone. The sauce was to die for and has convinced me I really need to work on my sauce skills at home. The rest of the girls were equally as impressed with their sea bass and prawn dishes, and the chicken caesar salad was the biggest we had ever seen, including three cheeses (well we were in France). After we headed to the iBoat, stopping off to see the Water Mirror at night before, and I should probably stop the story there (it was a hen do after all), but I will say there was a lot of dancing to Kanye.

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You cannot talk about Bordeaux without mentioning wine. We headed off to Chateau Pape Clement on the Saturday, on a glorious sunny afternoon. The tour was a total bargain at 20 euros each, with time spent exploring the grounds and cellars followed by a tasting. We also bought a bottle (or two) of the Joel Robuchon white wine at a bargain price of 9 euros, considering it was one of the nicest whites I have ever tasted in my life!

On the Sunday we strolled around Marché des Capucins which was bustling with a mix of locals and tourists. Now this really was a Gills Gal’s dream. Filled to the brim with fresh produce and little oyster and mussel bars it’s the kind of place you could quite happily spend hours in. Unfortunately as a group of seven it was near on impossible to get a table so we went to a brasserie around the corner for lunch. But I will be returning to Bordeaux if only to go back and have the huge bowls of mussels and frites on offer here!

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Finally I have to give a shout out to our amazing Airbnb, hosted by Severine. It was in the Cenon region about 10 minutes from town but well connected by the bus and tram and absolutely gorgeous. Severine was so helpful with every part of the process, even storing our bags all day before our flight.

Can you tell I want to go back yet?

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