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5 best cafes in Bordeaux

22 Nov 17
Graham Davidson
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This is not, repeat not, the 5 cafes with the best dining or the most up-scale clientele or the most  extensive wine-list. This is a list of those cafes that excel at being places to linger, watch the world go by and indulge in a little fantasy life in which you are meeting Catherine Deneuve later for dinner and earlier you had lunch with  Jean-Paul Belmondo.

And he insisted on paying.

Numero Uno. Utopia  because it is a successful mix of community- lead cinema and streetside cafe.  About 100m from Rue St Catherine  – turn left onto …..

Secondo Au Reve on Place de Marche  de Chartrons which despite my regular falling-outs with the waiting staff has the right combination of ambiance, clientele, and drinks prices. Not that the drinks prices are an issue when J-P is paying.

Number three: Down the other end of town is a split decision: in the square around St Michel there is


Fourth: On Place Gambetta



5 best entertainments for children

22 Nov 17
Graham Davidson
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First of all because it requires the least effort is the Jardin Public with its carousel, Punch and Judy, ducks to feed and space to run around in. 500m from Quinconnce and maybe 750m from the Tourism Office

Second but only just – the Skate park  on the riverfront where other people’s kids risk life and limb to entertain passers-by and those who take a ringside seat to watch the action

Third: the Mirroir d’Eau just across from the Place de La Bourse If too old to enjoy water play without embarrasment then let them use your camera to capture the magic photos on offer.

The fourth has to be the ferry to Lormont. it may not be very long  but thyen that is part of its attration

The 5th – if its open must be the Base SousMarine down by the Bassin a flot

Bordeaux’s attractions: five best public art features in the city centre

22 Nov 17
Graham Davidson
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Bordeaux’s attractions include  a generous dollop of public art  – traditional as well as more challenging. Our five favourites are currently:

Bordeaux’s attractions Number Five: Big, Bronze and …. 

NOT the two dimensional face in the square by the Grand Theatre but the Girondine Monument at the top of Quinconnces (follow the tram line to get there), The squashed face has its interest but its rusting brown  patina cannot compete with the bronze ladies disporting themselves around the base of the tower.

This tower commemorates the Girondine deputies who fell foul of more radical contemporaries during the French revolution. But the sculptor did not settle for some somber allegory in massive bronze. Instead he had some fun by mixing in some oddities and letting his imagination rip. Worth  taking time out to circle and admire the sculptor’s (and foundry men’s) skill. Wear swimmers for a selfie with the reclining gossip.

Bordeaux public art number four: 

It may not have the presence of the buxom bronzes but author Georges Mauriac’s portrait(?) in the Jardin Public is well worth a squint at. In case you haven’t read him recently his novels and other fiction got him a Nobel prize for literature and Bordeaux, as his birthplace, claims him as their own. A better claim is made by St Symphorien – his family’s home in the Landaise forest. And to see his papers, study and similar arts paraphanalia visit his last home near St Macaire Chateau.  But the idiosyncratic head and shoulders in the park displays artistic bravery that you would not expect with a local ‘hero’. Perhaps a private sponsor got their own way as no committee could have agreed to it. First right as you enter from the southern park entrance.

and at Number Three Le Bourse de Travail

Perhaps not a conventional piece of ‘public art’ and not accessible ‘all hours’ but in its time it was a very powerful statement to rival any religious or fine art. A statement about the value of labour – muscular, most male and unionised that was embodied in a building that puts the ‘Art’ into Architecture. From the cathedral square’s south-west corner head south along Rue de Marechal Joffre. This becomes Cours de Jean Burguet and when it reaches Aristede Briand  the Bourse is on your left.

Bordeaux’s Attractions: Second Place.


5 best picnic spots in Bordeaux

21 Nov 17
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