Bordeaux, hub of the famed wine-growing region, is a port city on the Garonne River in southwestern France. It’s known for its Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, 18th- to 19th-century mansions and notable art museums such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux.
It’s also a city I’ve absolutely fallen in love with.
Below is a list of my favourite things I did and saw whilst living in the city, and definitely some things to consider should you have the pleasure of visiting it at any point.
Plage du Lac
It’s already been mentioned earlier on the blog, but the Bordeaux Lac was definitely well loved by all the workers and many of the guests at Hostel 20. The great thing about it being you only had to walk for 20 minutes before arriving on a sandy, sun-trap beach. The lake itself has lane areas for swimming and is rightly very popular among families at weekends. We enjoyed many afternoons here, most of the time spent napping, playing badminton or boules, or trying not to hit nearby beach-goers with a frisbee. We also ventured here once in the evening with a lively group of Australian guests, who opened our eyes to the prospect of night swimming.
Another one I’ve already gushed about (so won’t go into too much detail) is the Dune du Pilat. It is by far one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. The fact it is so out-of-this-world makes it an absolute must-see. I was determined to see it before I left Bordeaux, and can’t recommend it enough if you ever have the chance to go.
Built on former military barracks on the East side of the Garonne, Darwin is a fascinating collection of urban gardens, graffiti art galleries, eco-friendly cafes and restaurants, skateparks and so much more. It’s a place of innovation and alternative living, quite often holding events such as open-air concerts and gigs. I finally made it to Darwin on my last day in Bordeaux. We took the boat taxi across the river (the best but most short-lived €2 I ever spent), and meandered our way through the street art, vintage shops and quirky restaurants. It’s another place unlike anything I’d seen before, and just adds to the pure diversity and beauty of Bordeaux.
During my time in the city, I had the joy of discovering Bordeaux church, an international and English-speaking fellowship from all areas of the world. Although my time in Bordeaux was relatively short, I felt so incredibly blessed to be able to meet and worship with such a wonderful group of people so passionate about sharing the love of God. Fortunately, my arrival coincided perfectly with that of many Erasmus students, so I was immediately welcomed into several WhatsApp and Facebook groups offering chances to meet during the week with other likeminded students. It was a lovely family I got to be a part of albeit for a short time, and I’m very thankful for that.
Bordeaux itself has so much to offer, but it goes without saying that the people I met there are what made my experience so great.
At Hostel 20 there are countless weird and wonderful traditions, one of my favourites being the family dinners. Guests and workers would unite each evening and enjoy a home-cooked meal prepared by one of the staff. Although the food was at times questionable (my sincerest apologies), it was a time to meet and get to know travellers from all over, who often had enough fascinating stories to fill a book. People would constantly come and go from the hostel, but there were always a few who would stick around for a bit longer and quickly become great friends of ours.
Another of my favourite hostel larks were the infamous spaceships. The reason for this name is still unknown to me, but it essentially involved pushing all the sofas together and creating a giant nest where we would watch a film. Although relatively small and mundane, it’s one of the things that sticks out the most and which I definitely miss an awful lot.
I’ve done enough reminiscing now, but hopefully this has shown you just how TOTALLY AWESOME the city is. I am now on the other side of the country, a week into my internship with Madame Vacances. It hasn’t been the easiest new start, but I’ll be sure to write more about that soon…
For now though, à tout, Bordeaux!