We fell in love with this city! Our Airbnb that was located outside the city centre (bbbbbbudget, of course), cancelled at the 11th hour and we were really unsure about what to do… we scoured Airbnb and all the booking sites and really didn’t find anything that fit our criteria and budget. Three days before we were due to leave our beautiful, fairytale oasis in The Dordogne, a new listing landed on Airbnb and we were SOLD…
So this is how we ended up spending the week sleeping on a boat in Bordeaux’s city harbour! In my hometown, houseboats are aplenty but most look like big, floating sheds (though can be super luxurious), they mostly look the same… but this! This! This boat was the dream boat I didn’t even know was in my dreams! The girls squealed with delight when we arrived on board and there was an ACTUAL captains hat! Apart from the sheer terror of keeping the children contained, you know, on top of the boat as opposed to falling off the boat, I felt like we could have moved in and worn that captain’s hat permanently (Jordan looked hot in it, though we all know who the real captain is… Sadie!) and sailed off into the French sunset!
We were about 3.5kms from Centreville but the walk into town was really nice, safe and straightforward; right along the boardwalk full of shops and, strangely, a number of Australian themed bars (?). On our first afternoon, we had an early dinner and headed into the city with the express purpose of checking out the Miroir D-eau, the world’s largest reflective pool: 3450 square metres of incredible reflection. The opportunity to splash in a public fountain is like Christmas for the girls who skipped the entire way into the city and squealed when they finally spotted it whilst in its mystifying mist (see what I did there?) stage of its three part cycle. We arrived right at the most beautiful moment, where the sun was just slipping down behind the buildings of Place de la Bourse but still peeking out enough to create this slightly magical effect where the last streaks of day glow were slashing through the fog of the Miroir. The girls did not even ask (or speak) they just bolted towards the water, fully clothed and spent the next couple of hours in mirrored bliss (aaaand ditto that every single night of our stay!).
We love wine. Like, LOVE wine. And we were in Bordeaux. And!! -we are on a trip for 12 months with our 4 and 6 year old children. WINE. So of course we had to visit at least one winery along the Routes de Vins. Saint Emilion won our vote because we had read that the town was worth a visit itself (hint: it was!) and we found that Chateau Soutard was supposedly family friendly. What we didn’t find was what would have been incredibly useful information: that you need to book a tour. One cannot just rock up to a winery in search of wine! Of course not, this is not bloody Australia, mate! The lady at Soutard seemed genuinely disappointed for us and we happily settled on sitting in the courtyard in front of the chateau and buy wine by the glass instead of doing the full tour. In all honesty, this suited us really, after all, we do not realllllllllllly care how the wine is made, just how it tastes! At Soutard, they had a wee play structure pour les filles and ours were completely happy to leave us to
pretend they didn’t exist for a few moments, sample a few glasses whilst they played quietly (a Christmas miracle!) on the little playground. Chateau Soutard is beautiful and we were invited to ride or walk around the vineyards for free, we just weren’t able to show up and do a guided tour and tasting. So don’t be like us- book ahead!
Our last day and night in Bordeaux, was spent wandering the city and buying treats from the Sunday market… because they were so enamoured by the taste, they barely blinked when we disclosed what ‘cour de canard’ really was (quack!). My watch told me we’d clocked 20kms – a new PB for our 4 year old! We saw all the must-sees of Bordeaux and of course ended the day with a beautiful picnic along the Quay of Garonne (with our bordelaise wine, of course!) and an after dinner splash in our favourite water mirror.
If we were in the city longer, we would have (SO SHOULD HAVE) checked out the Darwin Ecosystem on the right bank. I jogged past a few times and it seemed interesting and every night, from the opposite bank we could hear great music and lots happening over there. The space, is a green hub which houses an outdoor farm, huge skatepark, hosts live music, an expression space for graffiti artists, oh gosh I have to stop, I’m so disappointed in myself for not stopping in. Again, learn from our mistakes. Go here!
All in all, we absolutely fell in love with Bordeaux. Jordan thinks we could live there. It felt diverse and culturally rich, full of community and activity (one night we saw salsa classes on the Miroir, another area was sectioned off and held rollerblading lessons one evening, skateboarding the next). And !! AND!! Things were ACTUALLY open on Sunday- huzzah! Bordeaux has it all!! If you want the link to our airbnb boat, shoot me through a message.