This is the eleventh post in the Around the World Birthday Extravaganza Series. Please scroll to the bottom to see all the other posts in this series.
Welcome to Bordeaux!
Bordeaux was the second stop of my 3-week long birthday trip around Europe and Asia.
To be perfectly honest, I had mixed feelings about going to France. We arrived on November 17th, the day before my actual birthday. The terrorist attacks in Paris had just happened on Friday, November 13th, a mere four days earlier. Several terrorists were still at large, and the nation was still reeling from the deaths less than a week away.
We arrived to a country where security was tight and a solemnity hung in the air. Though Bordeaux is three hours away from Paris, we saw no shortage of makeshift memorials filled with candles, flowers, notes, and photographs.
It was a somber reminder of what the country had experienced.
Our time in Bordeaux was short.
We had less than four days to cover Bordeaux along with the wine regions of St. Emilion, Pauillac, and Sauternes. It meant we really only had one full day to explore the city of Bordeaux.
One of the most famous landmarks in Bordeaux is Le Miroir d'Eau, a reflecting pool right in front of Place de la Bourse, a magnificent square surrounded by a "wall" of buildings built during the reign of King Louis XV.
The city is quite walkable (though NOT easy to drive!), with many narrow, stone-paved roads filled with all different types of shops.
We stumbled upon a cute pastry shop called Baillardran which specializes in canelé, a rum and vanilla baked custard. It wasn't until later that we learned that Bordeaux specializes in this tasty treat (ironically, I've loved these ever since I discovered them in Tokyo), and Baillardran is the most famous maker of them all.
Of course we had to stop in and buy a few to try.
Note, if you order an espresso, they give you a free canelé with your drink. If we'd known that in advance, we might not have ordered an additional box of six canelés. Oh well, we still ate them all!
For lunch our first day in the city, Bryan and I found a lovely restaurant in the center of town called Une Cuisine en Ville (Michelin Guide 2016). The decor was bright, cheerful, and pleasant. The prices were surprisingly reasonable (19 Euros for a three-course lunch), and the food was very good.
For the first course, we began with a gorgeous Veloute de Butternut, a silky smooth butternut squash soup topped with a barely poached egg and boudin noir, or blood sausage. It was a delicious dish, with the unctuous black sausage and decadent egg nicely balancing out the sweet soup.
The other first course was Lamelles de Cabillaud, strips of barely poached cod served over quinoa in a passion fruit sauce. This was good, though we found the sauce to be a bit tart for our tastes.
For the main course, we had Tartare de Boeuf, a generous portion of nicely flavored beef tartare served with roasted potatoes and mesclun greens.
The other main dish was Merlu de Ligne, or line-caught hake, pan-seared and served over a chanterelles risotto with cream from Loupiac, a local white wine region in the Bordeaux. The hake was delicious, though I found the cream to be a bit rich.
We tried both desserts on the menu. The first was Tres Leches au Praliné , a "three milk" cake with chocolate, which we enjoyed a lot.
We also tried Fruits d'Automne au Chataignes, or autumn fruits with chestnuts served with a mandarin orange sorbet and a pastry shell. We finished the meal with a simple espresso.
All in all, it was an excellent meal at a fantastic price (~$20USD per person all in for this three course meal!). Granted, the US dollar was quite strong at the time compared to the Euro, which helped a lot. Still, it was a lovely meal at a cute little place that was quite centrally located.
It's easy to stop here for lunch and then continue exploring the city by foot, which is exactly what we did.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the city, visiting famous sites as well as just exploring various streets. Bordeaux is a fun city to explore. Modeled after Paris, it's beautiful in a lot of the same ways, but on a smaller scale.
Upcoming posts include our visit to our first vineyard, first growth Chateau Haut-Brion and our first 2-Michelin restaurant in Bordeaux. Stay tuned . . .
Une Cuisine en Ville
7 rue du Palais-Gallien
All Posts In This Series
Around the World Birthday Extravaganza
Alba White Truffle Fair
Osteria Dei Sognatori - A Traditional Piedmontese Dinner
Italy Wine Tour - Barbaresco
Lunch at Donna Selvatica in Neive, Italy
Dinner at a Truffle Hunter's Inn - Tra Art e Querce
Trattoria Della Posta in Montfort D'Alba
Nighttime Truffle Hunting with a Dog in Alba
Osteria della Arco - last dinner in Alba
Stunning Images of La Morra and Barolo, Italy