|Monday in Bordeaux
||[Jan. 24th, 2016|10:23 pm]
Since our first day in Bordeaux was a Sunday, it follows that our second day was a Monday. This was not something we had planned; it was a consequence of an assignation in the Gers a couple of days later. Even if we had known that Bordeaux is closed on Monday, we couldn't have rescheduled, and we had a splendid time notwithstanding.
We started with breakfast in a café in the Place de la Victoire, where we met karinmollberg by the monument to the tortoise who brought the vines to Bordeaux:
A tortoise brought the vines to Bordeaux? This was news to me, and I haven't managed to find out any more about it. I did find the story that the sculptor was commissioned to make the column (seen in the last picture in that previous post). But when it arrived, it was accompanied by two tortoises...
After breakfast we set off in search of culture. We hadn't planned to visit any museums, so we weren't worried that the Musée d'Aquitaine was closed on Mondays. The cathedral was closed too, apparently for works rather than because it was Monday: the door we tried to enter by was blocked by a white van. We admired the exterior, and carried on to Saint Seurin, the oldest church in Bordeaux, where Charlemagne, according to legend, placed Roland's horn on the altar after his death at Roncesvalles. How could I not want to see that? But it was closed. Bizarrely, although the church itself was closed, the crypt underneath wasn't, and we visited its collection of Merovingian sarcophagi, with its unbelievably old fresco:
Fourth or fifth century, according to the captions, and depicting a duck, which is clear enough, and a nereid riding a seahorse (well, maybe). Next stop, something even older:
The Palais Gallien, the information boards explained, is neither a palace nor the home of the Emperor Gallienus. It's the massive remains of a Roman amphitheatre, a bubble of green within the city, and it wasn't closed.
After this we went our separate ways. karinmollberg and her partner had taken mercy on us, and declared that since no right-minded restaurant would be open on Monday evening, we had better dine with them. So she went home to help with preparations, and we made our way back to our hotel by public transport. The trams of Bordeaux are named after places which have twinning partnerships in the locality: I was disappointed that the City of Bristol was not going our way.
Could there be a more perfect ending to our first visit to the city of Bordeaux than dinner with friends in their eyrie above the Quais? Good food (the best meal of our holiday so far), good wine, good company, what more could we ask? Fireworks, perhaps? Well, as it happens there were fireworks too, a magnificent display down along the river. The internet claimed that there was a fireworks symposium in town, but we knew that it was really laid on just for us.