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  • Writer's pictureDiAnn

Beautiful in Bordeaux

What was the first thing I learned after landing in Bordeaux? A national train strike had just begun and yep, I got the up close & personal experience with it.

Collecting our luggage I proceeded to the bus zone to board the bus into the city. Interesting to me how nice the buses are in Europe compared to those in the US.

Arriving at the train station in Bordeaux the decision was made to hire an Uber to the Airbnb apartment as there were no trains or metro rail running that day. It was exciting to see the city as the driver drove along the .......... River to find our address. It wasn't hard to find the apartment we had rented through Airbnb but it wasn't easy either. Not all streets go through and not all through streets allow cars. As the driver got close to our apt, the decision was made to abandon the car idea find the apartment by walking from the last thru street near its address.

Not bad really....about a 5 minute walk from where we were dropped off. Straight, left, right and then HOME. At least for the next few days!

Waiting outside the front entrance was Arthur, our host while at this Airbnb.

We are always glad to see our hosts as they help to make us feel at home.

You can check out more about the listing here

He Kindly helped carry my luggage to the 3rd floor (making progress here) to the apartment. How old do you think this building could be?? Who previously owned the entire building as their home? These are the questions I find coming to me as I visit many of the old places in Europe..

I hardly noticed the climb as the walls and doors spoke to me of times gone by. I simply find it difficult to understand how such beauty could be made lacking the modern tools they use today when building.

Going Up..... Going Down........

The Airbnb apartment was perfect for this stay. It is close to all the interesting areas of Bordeaux and with easy access to the metro.

Here are a few inside pictures to give you an idea of what you will find.

The loft style beds in Europe are an interesting concept. This one was perfect. although once at the top of the stairs we had to hunch over so as not to hit our heads on the ceiling. What we won't do for a great place in a great location at a great price.

Even though the alley street of its location is bustling by day and night the sounds did not make it to the apartment. A very safe neighborhood.

Just around the corner, at the end of this alleyway, turn left and walk a few hundred yards and you will find a beautiful (and very common here) open courtyard. Locals & tourists come here to enjoy a meal or to hang out.

And now for the Experiences-

Thanks to Airbnbs latest business ideas, the 'Experience' offers a much more personal approach to seeing, learning and doing things in most any city where travelers stay in short-term rental properties. The 'Experiences' are provided by local Airbnb hosts who also have a great sense of what travelers might like to do while in their city. They offer their 'Experience' for a fee and the hope that you enjoy what they offer. To top it off, they limit the number of people participating in their experience, providing a more personal experience. So far, I have met the most wonderful people through these experiences. Anyone can go to the 'tourist' places, but only the locals know the hidden, secret areas, shops, or adventures.

First experience:

Découverte des bars à vin Bordelais

The Airbnb "experience" with Remy was so much fun! He is a very personable young man with a deep knowledge of wine, yet he is very down to earth in explaining the nuances of the different types of wine. Our group of four very much enjoyed Remy's choice of venue for our wine experience and the delicious cheese board (with delicious meat sides). I would definitely recommend that anyone visiting Bordeaux augment their stay with a Remy wine "experience".

The small group of four met at Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux, Nouvelle-Aquitaine 33000 and after introducing ourselves headed off to our destination on foot. Left, left then right. Is this right? No this is the alley street where my apartment is!!! We all had a good laugh at that. A short distance farther our destination was in sight. We entered into the most lovely wine tasting place called 'Aux 4 coins du vin' and were guided to our special table.

This was a unique way to offer tastings. There were several of these machines (below) around the tasting room, each with different varieties of wine.

Each bottle has three levels of pours and is priced accordingly. Patrons purchase a card with a set amount of credit (in Euros) then select a small, medium or large pour of their choice. Depending on the cost of the bottle of wine will determine the cost of each pour size. If you use all the credit on your card it can be refilled with additional Euros. I thought this was a great concept for wine tasting. We learned some very good tips on how to taste a wine the proper way! Thanks for a great evening, Remy!

Remy explains how this wine dispenser works


An outdoor track game in Bordeaux

Sylvie and Lucie, mother and daughter, are from Bordeaux. They love their city and want to share the good places, out of the tourist eyes, to anyone willing. Their idea to play a game finding the hidden clues to their story was a good way to share a good time and have fun in order to discover the best district in Bordeaux and the good places to go in the Chartrons.

Playing this game we will discover why the Chartrons is for Sylvie and Lucie a small village in Bordeaux.

Robert & I headed out on a stroll (at our own pace) following the directions on our clipboard. Instructions were to open our eyes, watch for details. The answers of their questionary would be in front of us. I can't show you all the pictures of this fun time as it might give you a leg up on figuring out the clues. :-)

Along our stroll we stopped at Sylvie and Lucie's favorite bakery. I was to have breakfast there the following morning but time got away from me and I wasn't able to make it. Perhaps that means a trip back to Bordeaux soon!!

This wonderful old bakery has the oldest surviving bread oven in Bordeaux and it is used on a daily basis to create some of the finest breads around.

After a lovely time walking around the Chartrons district and trying to find the right clues to write down we gathered together and headed to a small place along the river to have our favorite drink. Thanks ladies!! We studied the results of our answers and began to write the story of "The Chartrons Lady". Amazingly, this fictional tale came to light and the story unfolded in front of us. Now there were no more secrets to discover.

Sylvies favorite sparkling water with lime flavoring added. Actually pretty good.

It was a great experience and I would suggest this to anyone wanting a unique & interesting history lesson while having a great time. I had a fun time getting to know these two characters and I hope to see them when I return to Bordeaux.

A cute thank you bag from Sylvie & Lucie!!

You can also follow them on the following social media-

The final experience

"Perfect Local Gift"

CyrielleI, the host, fell in love with Bordeaux 20 years ago and has lived here for more than 8 years now. She is a food lover and travel enthusiastic who really believes in local. What gave her the idea for her experience was that when she traveled she wanted to return home with gifts made 100% locally from the places she went. This was not always easy since she didn't know the city. That was when she thought 'why not help other travelers that come to my city find the perfect gifts, made locally, to take back home. And so her idea was put into action. She will show you the best places to go to buy authentic local, quality gifts to bring back home with you.

I met Cyrielle at the best coffee shop in Bordeaux, L' ALCHIMISTE Cafe, where all blends of coffees are created locally.

The atmosphere of this small shop reminded me of how it was when there were no corporate companies selling coffee & pastries, but local owners that put their hearts & souls into doing what they were passionate about. What I have found so far in Europe is that the small business owner still holds a commanding presence in most of the cities. I love this about Europe.

We had a great taste of coffee with Cyriellel and met Yonna, the man behind the counter who had the best attitude and smile. He made the most tiny and oh so strong but smooth taste of espresso served with a water chaser. Of course I bought a bag of beans to bring home! And I will likely order more for the gift baskets we give to our short-term rental guests when they stay at our property.

I hope this video will open and you can see a little more about the coffee making and the company vision.

Then on to the other stores we went.

The best for Canele. Although this is a. very small store in comparison to a few others (one just across the street) that sell these wonderful sweets, this shop really makes the best of the best and the REAL canele! These little darlings are quite addictive!

This mother and daughter own this tea shop and they have some of the worlds most sought after teas. They are two of the nicest women that you could meet that own a tea shop. They are truly passionate about their products. Good thing they will ship as I will be placing an order for the Villa guests once I get home. Check out the cute hat lamps.

The following shops were wonderful to visit and even more fun going to with C

La Parfumerie Bordelaise

Who wouldn't want their own custom made perfume? I didn't have time to make mine on this trip so it will be first on my list on my next visit.

Un Jour Vert

The 1st ever Vegan store in Bordeaux

Noisettines du Medoc

Some of the best and most interesting candy and toppings I have tasted.

Dock des Epices

Only the finest and freshest are found here. If I weren't so far away Ludovic, you would be my 'go to' guy for all my spices in the kitchen.

La Comete Rose

More fun little things to add to your gift basket for someone back home.

Lepicerie Le Local

A little of this and a little of that and the best candied popcorn ever.

Jagen Craft Beer

Although I am not a beer drinker I must admit I did love this one. I can imagine it on a hot summer day on the deck of my lake villa. How can I sneak this back in my luggage?? have made me love this beer!

Hasnaa Chocolatier

This is by far the best chocolate I have tasted in my travels so far! Taking a box of 42 pieces home (doubt they make it that long though). I hear they may be opening up their production plant to visitors soon. I will go if they do!!

Ornella, you have done a great job of making great chocolate. Do not lose the vision.

This experience took me to some of the local areas that I certainly would not have found had I not met with CyrielleI to show me around. And, without the aid of a local who knows the local shop owners I would never have had the opportunity to create a special moment with them.

I am indebted to these wonderful Airbnb Experience. They are passionate about what they are doing and have taken on the challenge of showing strangers from around the world many wonderful memories.

For now its time to say goodbye to Bordeaux. I will plan my next visit to this beautiful city to be longer so I can enjoy the beauty and the bounties it has to offer.

Next Stop....Chateau de Gudanes!!!

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