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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1871 the theatre was briefly the National Assembly for the French Parliament.
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.
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.
Not coffee, but an Americano Cocktail with Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. Boy, did it go down well!