I found two return tickets to Bordeaux with Ryanair for £40 and that was that.
On a Wednesday, after a 1 hour 40 minute flight, I’d landed in the French capital of wine.
My travel buddy had found a beautiful Airbnb in the heart of the city.
So after taking a fairly swift and cheap bus ride into the centre from the airport, we went to check into our homestay.
A friendly local lady met us and showed us around the apartment, which oozed of old-school opulence with high ceilings, polished wooden floors and elegant fittings.
With not much time to spare, we had a quick freshen up and bounced out to explore.
A stroll by the Garonne river is a must and we stopped by the Three Graces Fountain as the golden sun started to set.
In a bid to get the best sunset views over the city, we headed to Mama Shelter.
The funky hotel and restaurant has a super cool bar on the roof.
The music was pumping and the place had a good buzz.
Luckily we managed to nab a sun lounger before tucking into a couple of refreshingly punchy negronis.
The venue has several sister properties including one in Los Angeles, and I could hear a peppering of American accents wafting through the French.
After our very pleasant sundowner, we headed off for dinner.
Just a stone’s throw away from Mama Shelter is the Belle Campagne.
This place has more of an old-fashioned-cum rustic hipster charm with mismatched furnishings and quirky knick knacks stacked on shelves.
We went upstairs and managed to get a table in the back room complete with a sofa in lieu of chairs.
Our friendly waiter, who helpfully had very good English, came and talked us through the menu.
The dishes were described in French and while we thought we were a little competent with the language we made a few major errors, like confusing pears for leeks.
Armed with the proper translations, we went for an octopus tentacle and the plate of gently steamed leeks.
The flavours were hearty and warming. It didn’t take us long to work through the dishes and I mopped up the delicious sauce on my plate with a thin cut of homemade bread.
For mains, my partner chose a beef stew, while I opted for a portion of sturgeon.
It felt a little like I was at my grandma’s, with a scattering of knitted furnishings draped around and the smell of onions scenting the air.
The stew came served in a little pan, much to our delight, with large chunks of beef lovingly coated in a dark gravy.
While we were steadily stuffed, our waitress informed us that we must try the fruit tart before leaving.
We caved and said ‘yes’. Before we knew it we had a rather large pie before us waiting to be dissected.
Through the course of our meal, we worked our way through several glasses of wine, with all very much recommended.
The tipples we tried included:
- 2014 Clos De La Dame Verte
- 2007 Chateau Siaurac, Lalande-de-Pomerol
- 2014 Château Maison Blanche
- 1994 Bas Armagnac Domaine de Charron
After dinner we polished things off with one last cocktail and the popular L’Alchimiste bar.
The next morning we got a breakfast at Karl as most of the eateries appeared to be shut until around 10amish. Pastries were served up with an assortment of jams, with bowls of yogurt and muesli to drizzle over fresh-cut fruit.
I also had a punchy coffee with a giant dollop of cream piped into a tower.
We didn’t leave enough time to catch a bus back to the airport so we hopped in a taxi instead.
The journey came it at around a euro a minute and we clocked up a €35 fee.
Our fleeting 24 hours had been ideal.
Bordeuax is definitely worth an evening sojourn. Good airport links, good accommodation options, good wine, good food, beautiful architecture… what could go wrong?
For more information about Bordeaux and the surrounding area visit www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk