Do you know the feeling of floating at the surface of a dream, fighting to stay in it rather than wake to reality?
That’s how I felt in Bordeaux.
On one hand, we were in a new, stunning city which was ripe for adventure. On the other hand, I couldn’t get it out of my mind that these were the last precious hours of our stay in France. We bade farewell to our trusty rental car, hailed a cab, and as we watched Bordeaux from the window, we took a moment to seriously discuss canceling our flight back all together.
But no, what would we do without Wyatt???
So we kept our flight home at the back of our minds, and checked into our last lodging: Le Boutique Hotel Bordeaux.
Le Boutique Hotel Bordeaux is host to quaint lodgings named after local wines, a gorgeous shaded courtyard where they served tapas and wine, and a cozy parlor complete with wine glass chandeliers and a giant chess board. Luckily for us, they also provided huge umbrellas…because just as we set out to explore, it started to rain.
Undeterred by the weather, we set out to explore. We were told that Rue-Sainte-Catherine was the place to go for shops and sights. Though it boasts many recognizable brand names and some enticing (though heftily priced) smaller shops, we abandoned the busy rue for a quiet square bordered by cafés. At this point we had imbibed in so much wine that the sight of a cold beer alone was enough to make us sigh with envy. So we plopped down at an outdoor table, reveling in the momentary dry sky, and unwound with a few cold ones.
Fueled by biére and starving for dinner, we went in search of the most epic of all epic steak frites. I poured through reviews, surveyed menus, evaluated authenticity, and finally settled on…Le Bar du Boucher. It’s a humble enough restaurant, with it’s rustic wood tables and dark bar. But once we took our seats at a little table outside, we immediately felt at home. With a bottle of wine and a plate of pain tomate and jambon, we tried to decipher the cuts of beef on the menu. Just as we were about to give up and take our chances, the waiter ushered us inside to a butcher’s counter. Every cut of beef was there, right in front of us, fresh as could be. We decided on our cuts, gave an order of weight, and left our steaks to be delivered a few feet to the chef. Um, amazing right? You know what else is amazing? The steak was served with duck fat frites.
End. Of. Story.
The rest of the night was a happy blur.
Our final day was spent meandering. We saw the infamous Le Mirior D’eau (water mirror) which wasn’t all too reflective, being splashed with fat raindrops. Never-the-less I took off my shoes and splashed around, looking like a bit of a lunatic I’m sure.
Our self guided tour took us through quiet squares, around grand fountains, and into a mini Notre Dame. Stopping only for pastries at Paul’s and Macarons et petit cafe at Baillardran, we walked until we could walk no more. Hours later, we sought shelter once again back at the hotel; showering, napping, and sipping champagne until dinner.
For our final meal of the trip, we went big. Le Noailles was perfection, from cocktails to dessert. Our waiter was patient with our French, but periodically broke into perfect English to tell us about the menu or ask questions about us and about America. He brought us some lovely marinated olives to start, as well as a beer for Mike and a Lillet and Champagne cocktail for myself. (I’m still working on re-creating that one).
We started with the most fresh salmon tartare, which we wolfed down in a decidedly un-French way. Oh well. C’est la vie.
There was a plate of delicate buttery diver scallops in a wild mushroom sauce for Mike, and the most perfect seared duck breast for me (along with a skillet of frites on the side, of course).
Finally, lingering over the last of our wine and willing the night not to end, our darling waiter surprised us with a very festive display of the dessert we ordered! I personally think it’s an outrageously fun thing when one’s dessert almost singes one’s eyebrows clean off! It could not have been a lovelier evening, and if we ever find ourselves in Bordeaux again (fingers crossed), we will most definitely become Le Noailles regulars.
France, you are missed. You will be held in a very special place in our hearts.
Until next time…