room with a view…Bordeaux

room view bordeaux

We arrived in Bordeaux Sunday morning, dropped our luggage at the B&B, had a quick cup of coffee while the owner marked up our map with some suggestions, and then set out to explore. We’d been up since 3am to catch our very EARLY flight, so hadn’t had much to eat. First stop, the Sunday marché along the waterfront to sample some local yummies.

grilled shrimp Bordeaux

The smell of these grilled shrimps was mouth-watering, and along with a cup of local white wine they were a perfect entrée. 

crevettes Bordeaux

After taking the edge off, we picked up some charcuterie and cheese, a small baguette, and I purchased some of those cherries from this fruit vendor who seemed to be a favorite with the locals.

Bordeaux Sunday market

I had to wait in line for quite a while as those ahead of me selected fruit for the week (lots of conversation back and forth with the vendor). Once provisioned we enjoyed a picnic on a shaded bench in the park near our B&B. There was another gentleman sharing the bench, and we were soon engaged in a lively conversation with his non-existent English and my very limited French, as well as le Monsieur’s little bit of Spanish. He works in a vineyard near Saint-Émilion, and seemed delighted to hear we’d be visiting that area the next day.

We spent a very warm afternoon wandering around Bordeaux until dinnertime.

Bordeaux fountain

Bordeaux 6

Bordeaux 7


We’d booked a tour for our first full day to do some wine tasting and sightseeing in the Saint-Émilion region. I’ll have more on this in an upcoming post, but here are a few snaps from the day.

grape vines blooming

The vines are blooming now, and those little green berries will be wine grapes in a few months.

wine tasting St. Emillion

That large round decanter helps the wine open up more quickly, but still gently.

We also spent about an hour in between wineries wandering about the medieval village of Saint-Émilion itself, which is a UNESCO historical site.

St. Emillion

St. Emillion

St. Emiliion

St. Emillion cloisters


cloisters Saint-Emilion

Weather has been unseasonably hot so far, but there’s usually a breeze which helps. Today we’re giving ourselves an “off the clock” day and hoping to get out and explore more of Bordeaux’s old city. I feel as though we’ve barely scraped the surface.

Do you prefer guided tours or to explore on your own, or a mix of both?


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  1. So beautiful! I look forward to your posts from Europe, and am lingering over your gorgeous photos. How are your clothing selections working in the heat?
    Thank you for sharing and bringing me along via your posts! Ann

    1. Hi Ann, they’re working well. I’ve been wearing the Eileen Fisher crepe ankle pants and one or the other of the lightweight shirts each day.

  2. St-Emilion looks beautiful. I have never visited Bordeaux but your photos certainly create a desire to visit. I like a tour if I have limited time in a new place or if I want more in-depth information about a specialized topic. I enjoy the planning myself otherwise and often the serendipitous can be very interesting. Europe can be very hot in June but lightweight and loose should be comfortable.

  3. We visited Bordeaux last year, but only on a day trip from Toulouse. Also, we met up with friends who live in France and whom we hadn’t seen for over 5 years, so most of the day was spent eating, drinking and reminiscing! We definitely plan to return as it’s such a beautiful place and we’d like to see a lot more of the sights. I prefer to explore on my own if we have enough time, though we have done guided tours that have been very good. Ideally, when going on a guided tour, I like some free time too.

  4. Such beautiful photographs! Bordeaux has been on our list for a long time – I think it just got moved up a BUNCH!
    take care, and have a lovely and love-filled trip,

  5. Beautiful photos; the shrimp is making me hungry!

    In general, I prefer exploring on my own (or with knowledgeable friends) after reading up on the area and its history, using my useless degrees. However I do enjoy doing “visites”, which are guided tours of a specific place (onsite or walking) with a guide who has similar useless degrees.

    Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Bordeaux; the closest I’ve been to there is Toulouse. If I had the choice, I’d combine a visit there with more of Toulouse and the Basque country – on both sides of the border; I speak fluent French and decent Spanish, but unfortunately very little Basque!

    I’m glad your wardrobe works in Bordeaux; I was afraid that a micro-wardrobe for often rainy and chilly Amsterdam and London might be too warm. I’d definitely opt for a skirt there, not long trousers.

  6. So glad you’re enjoying Bordeaux, which you know I have a soft spot for. . . I think tours makes lots of sense if you have limited time and want to get an overview. We’ve mostly preferred discovering on our own, backed by lots of research, but I think that next visit to Bordeaux (September) we might try one of the guided walks in the city, especially the architecturally focussed one.

  7. Love the stone, the French handwriting, and absolutely need days off the clock. One tour, maybe, but I’d always rather go on my own.

  8. You ask about guided tours vs. exploring on one’s own. We often take a guided tour the first day in a new place, to get the lay of the land and orient ourselves. Then we’re on our own, poking around, discovering nooks and crannies, and welcoming unexpected moments like yours on the bench with the vineyard worker.

  9. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Bordeaux and Saint. Emilion. I would recommend Le Wine Bar for a casual supper – Giancarlo is the delightful owner operator.
    While we were there we hired a woman to drive us to several of the wineries. Her knowledge and expertise about the wine industry in Bordeaux really enriched our experience. Also, we got stuck in terrible traffic and she was able with good humor
    to navigate around it which we would never have been able to do on our own.
    The rest of our time in the region we self toured which I typically like best.

  10. Great photos! Looks like you are having a wonderful time and scored some lovely weather.

    I’m often there with family (husband & his family are from the south of France) but I do find that you can often get brilliant walking tours for next to nothing now throughout Europe.


  11. LOVED St Emilion!! Looks like a great trip. In general I prefer traveling just with my husband–we haven’t even traveled with friends–but I did take a guided tour with girlfriends to Thailand. Turned out to be a great trip–very educational. I think taking guided tours when in a new city/town is a great idea. Love your photos. The weather looks good! XO

  12. And Bordeaux is really nice for shopping (more rue Porte-Dijeaux than rue Ste-catherine!).

  13. We’re booked on a Bordeaux/Provence river cruise in June 2016 so your reports are whetting my appetite! Can’t wait. The wardrobe tips are terrific. Merci beaucoups!

  14. Your photos are stunning! Sounds like you’re having a fabulous time and documenting it beautifully.

  15. I concur with people here – thank you for taking us along with you! I like tours that give highlights to areas and take us there (saves walking in circles) and then alone time for sure to poke around. Cute sandals and I looked on Zappos and saw these, like yours but without the added detail on the straps that yours have. Latest news on travel says that airlines are considering making carry-ons smaller. New challenges in our travel future. We’ll get through it together, and with our travel guide and inspiration, (Susan). 😉