Coffee at the opera

Opera cafe

For our recent short trip to Bordeaux we found a studio apartment in the old town, just off a little square, the streets radiating from which were lined with restaurants, bars and bistros. In the evenings people sat at outside tables and milled around providing a lively atmosphere. Great food was available everywhere, ready to be appreciated, with duck (including foie gras) on offer at a fraction of the price we would pay at home.

One of the many squares in the old part of the city.

One of the many squares in the old part of the city.

Nearby we found a small supermarket, so bought salad stuff for lunches, and a hop, skip and a jump from our door was an artisan bakery where satisfyingly crisp baguettes could be bought fresh every morning.

Shops for the shopaholic

Shops for the shopaholic

The Grand Théâtre is situated near the main shopping street, and a large square where you can change from one tram line to another or to a choice of buses. In our stays in France we’ve never got to grips with the transport ticket machines. Those in the Gare du Nord in Paris seemed keen to swallow our tickets, making a return foray through the jungles of levels to the main hall to purchase replacements a necessity.

In Bordeaux we opted for a three day ticket to ease our travel. This covered transport and reduced admission fees to a number of museums, and saved battles with unhelpful Gallic ticket machines.

The Grand Théâtre, an imposing late 18th century building.

The Grand Théâtre, an imposing late 18th century building.

Coffees can be bought almost everywhere, but the one place that tempted us was the Grand Théâtre, an imposing building with a forest of Corinthian columns. You can slip into the cafe at the side of the building and enjoy some of the faded glamour along with a cup of coffee in peaceful surroundings.

Interior with attitude

Interior with attitude

An oasis of calm

An oasis of calm

Columns and roundels

Built to impress

Built to impress

We were able to see the foyer, but could only guess at the interior — one of the oldest wooden frame opera houses in Europe not to have burnt down or required rebuilding.

Grand Theatre foyer

Grand Theatre foyer

This maybe as mundane as the ticket desk.

This maybe as mundane as the ticket desk.

In 1871 the theatre was briefly the National Assembly for the French Parliament.

Culture rules.

Culture rules.

The inside of the theatre was restored in 1991, and is home to the Opéra National de Bordeaux, as well as the Ballet National de Bordeaux.

An eclectic mix of items available to purchase from the shop.

An eclectic mix of items available to purchase from the shop.

On the subject of coffee, the day we visited the Jardin Public we felt the need to quench our thirst when we came across the Orangerie, a delightful café where people lounged outside on deck chairs and sun beds. Husband ordered two Americanos, our preferred type of coffee as the cups are larger than the alternatives. After our bottle of Orangerie water arrived (a welcome addition to coffee), along with a dish of olives, this is what was placed before us.

Vive the Americano

Vive the Americano

Not coffee, but an Americano Cocktail with Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. Boy, did it go down well!

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About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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6 Responses to Coffee at the opera

  1. bebs1 says:

    The olives and the Americano got me. All the while I was thinking of Americano coffee. LOL That place is grand and hardly faded from its former glory. I would overstay and sip my coffee for a very looooong time.

    • The seats were really comfortable too. On our last day we had to trot around with our cases until it was time to catch the bus to the airport. So we sat there for ages as there was no problem about space for our luggage.

      Some of the other customers were fascinating to watch, too. A few arty/musical/opera types, and some expensively dressed women, taking in a coffee or snack before hitting the designer shops again. Large, designer name handbags were being flaunted mercilessly.

  2. carol1945 says:

    Uh oh, a mistake for me to read this!!! Now I want to go Bordeaux and use your blog as a travel guide!!!!

  3. Dorothy, ah, to have a little apartment in a new city – if only for a few days – is such a treat. I love the opportunities that it offers, which you mentioned here: visits to markets and speciality shops. We spent several days in Saint-Émilion last year, and while we had a splendid time there, I did wonder what Bordeaux is like. I’m glad you offered a little glimpse.

  4. Sadly we didn’t get to vista vineyards – wrong time of year to see much anyway. So instead we enjoyed the food available at very reasonable cost. Duck breast and foie gras were quite a treat for us, especially in the size of portions served. And a carafe of wine was usually very good and very cheap. Just a pity the weather was rather chilly, but it was early in the year.

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