An occasional journal of the Life of Reilly

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bordeaux, France: The Great City on the Garonne



Tram, cyclist and column in La place des Quinconces in Bordeaux
It was one unremarkable day to get from the Dune du Pilat to the city of Bordeaux.  There was one campground located north of the city with easy access to public transport, so we headed there.  The crowds must get crazy during tourist season, because this was a big and full-service facility -- restaurant, pool, gazebo.  But we had a shady green space to ourselves next to a lake with otters and frogs that croaked so loud at night we had to sleep with earplugs.  Most of the rest of the early-season camp occupants were retired folks in camper vans and construction workers that rented the cabins and went to bed and got up early, just like us.
Massive buildings dominate downtown Bordeaux.
Think of the biggest grocery store you have ever been in, maybe a Super Walmart or a Fred-Meyer.  Now add a department store or two onto it.  Now double, maybe triple it.  That was what the Auchan store near the campground was like -- it was the biggest food and goods emporium I have ever entered.  It was a shrine to consumerism, something I thought only could be achieved in America.  But here in France you can go to a store that has a whole aisle dedicated to canard products.  We just needed some food for the night, and I felt so small and out of place wandering around in my bike shorts and fluorescent vest looking for yogurt, which, by the way, was located in at least three different places in this store.   I do have a desire to return, maybe when I have a bit more time to explore what is a great French spectacle.
St Andre Cathedral

Gargoyles on parade

Sharp, austere angles of this Gothic cathedral

Sweeping lines of the cathedral interior.,

Lovely painted columns in the cathedral interior.
City days are fun.  No loaded bike to muscle around. We get to ride public transport, like Bordeaux’s sleek, clean, sexy tram, and people-watch ordinary French citizens living their lives.  And city days mean looking at big and ornate buildings, and seeking out really good food.  And going to museums to look at lots of really old stuff.  But one day of that is enough, then we are ready to pedal again.
More massive buildings.

This one is for you, Monica -- quilt patterns on a Roman mosaic floor from the 4th century at the Musée d'Aquitaine.

On the Bordeaux waterfront.
 The day of our departure we cycled down the waterfront of Bordeaux along the Garonne with good views of those stately buildings. We turned east on another rail trail bike path and headed into the rural country studded with the vineyards that make this region famous.  We will cross France again seeking out caves and chateaus and gorges.
Copper tops!

Pont de pierre crossing the Gardonne

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2 comments:

salviadorii said...

Hi
Still following you. The route along the canal looked cool. Now are you heading across the Dordogne region. Very pretty country to come. I will be watching.

eva und andi said...

hi you tow,we are following your tour and are exited about the views.
We are waiting for you here and hope you will have lots of good days.A cousin of Ali lives in Lüneburg and you can stay at there place on your way up to Hamburg. Best greetings to Bonny and her famely.
Eva and Andy

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