We back in Bordeaux for day 7 aboard AmaWaterway’s Taste of Bordeaux river cruise. Here’s the first day you don't want to miss any of the excitement. We had sailed back to Bordeaux. Once there we have lots of choices for excursions. Today we opt for the Bordeaux city tour. Others had great things to say about the Cognac tour (additional cost) which was all day trip to the small town of Cognac.
Bordeaux by bus (and on foot)
Bordeaux city art
During the Bordeaux city tour we saw highlights of the city including the waterfront, Bourse Square, South Gate, St. Andrews Cathedral, many fine examples of 18th and 19th century buildings. The area is known for it’s long lines of Classical facades, the wrought iron balconies and the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. The stores were very crowded with both shoppers and buyers.
We stopped at a Maille shop to sample locally made mustard - you buy fresh mustard there or 30 different blends. . The French enjoy mustard on fondue (small meat pieces boiled in hot oil / water) as well with cheeses. The tour finished with the Cin du Vin - a very new museum dedicated to wines. What was impressive was that the museum focused on wines from around the world, not just from Bordeaux. The modern architecture of the building is designed to look the swirl of a wine class; in any case the insides were filled with days worth of information in a very visual and interactive presentation. It even included a wine tasting.
Bordeaux by foot
Monument aux Girondins
After lunch (fantastic escargot in the shell!) on the ship we had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. We took a walk to town to the fountain LE MONUMENT AUX GIRONDINS ( which consists of bronze fountains and a column with a statue of liberty breaking its chains on top). This bears witness to the Girondin political faction during the French Revolution and then we did a little gift shopping.
Bordeaux by bike
Not a bad view from a bicycle!
Then Dave took one of the on board bikes to explore the city while Sue started packing. Biking in the city is easy - there’s plenty of bike lanes plus car drivers seem to fully respect the bicyclist as an equal. While the drivers are not overly courteous in general, they treated the bike riders with quite nicely. Signs were all in French but eventually he navigated his way back to the ship, just in time for dinner.
Chef's table: food rules
Tonight we visited the Chef’s table. This is a second restaurant in back of the ship where you watch the chef prepare your meal. This is a six course me that where the service was top notch and the fantastic food was paired with excellent wine. In fact the red wine served Chateau Macquin Rouge was one of the better wines we had all week. We both had the Charolaise Ox Short Ribs with Truffle Mousseline, Asparagus and Porcini Ravioli as a main dish. World class food.
Oh and I haven’t really mentioned the soups. While tonight’s Fennel Cream soup was outstanding, each and every soup we had on board was terrific. We had a table for six - two other couples that we spent time with over the course of the week. Easy conversation which was fun and educational as well.
Bordeaux by Ship
After dinner, the ship did a little cruise around the Bordeaux waterfront so we could see the city lit up at night. So asked for another glass of wine and we all trundled up to the top deck. It was a very pleasant night and the sights were great. Although we spent most of the time saying goodbye to passengers and taking pictures to remember each other. By that time it was close to 11 and we needed to finish packing and get to bed.
Evening cruise in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is both historical and current. Its rich history ensures monuments and it’s current population surge and travel renaissance ensure a vibrancy associated with much larger cities. Wine is surely it’s soul but so is trade, tourism and manufacturing. Whether in bus, on foot, on bike or one the river, we felt completely comfortable exploring the city. Most people spoke English very well and were particularly nice, making it even easier for us to visit.