The major reason for my France trip was the Manger (Cooking) Workshop with Mimi Thorisson in Medoc. To maximize my trek to the other side of the globe, I looked for other activities to do in the vicinity and found the cooking course with Marlene Deparis of Le Gargantua. Meanwhile, there was one day in between these two courses when I had nowhere to go! So… Bordeaux— listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO— it was!
It’s quite overwhelming to choose from “TripAdvisor Bordeaux Hotels.” But I was so blessed that God led me to Hotel Normandie on the list, so perfectly situated in the heart of the 18th century city center across the train station, the Bordeaux Big Bus Tour stop, and a short walk from many points of interest. Reception had English-speaking staff every time I came by and their service was very good and courteous.
When the Manger workshop concluded, after leaving the lovely guest house, Real en Medoc, I drove my dear fellow parent/ cooking friend Maura to the airport and took the (thank God) easy drive to Hotel Normandie. It has a short term parking spot in front of the hotel giving me enough time to unload my luggages and check in before heading for the huge basement parking lot under Place Tourny practically a stone’s throw away. Such blessings, these!
The room and bathroom are very clean. There’s air-conditioning and free wifi.
The immediate vicinity around the hotel….
A wine school just across the street (Hotel Normandie’s frontage is reflected on l’Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux’s window pane).
Just behind the hotel is Place des Quinconces with the Monument aux Girondins fountain…
The city’s popular Canelé shop, Canelés Baillardran (10 Cours du 30 Juillet) in front of the Big Bus tour stop (the bus ticket comes with one free canele!) is a few paces away. Every store we visited in Medoc, Maura looked for Canelé molds. They’re quite delightful with the contrasting crispy chewy soft textures blending together.
I took the last bus tour to get an overview of the city’s major points of interest eyeing which ones I’d like to see up close.
After the bus tour, I went to nearby Cafe Noalles (12 Allees de Tourny) just above the hotel’s parking lot. Before I left Medoc, Mimi had graciously shared her list of recommended places to eat and this was one of them. I very very much enjoyed the foie gras terrine, Cepes, and fresh steamed artichokes… all sooo good. And the first wine I’ve ever ordered in my life, a glass of Lillet, fondly remembering my wine orientation at the Manger Workshop.
Then, a little stroll in the vicinity to see the market, a quick stop at Tara Jarmon just a few minutes before their early weekend closing, and a quick photo in front of Bordeaux National Opera – Grand Theatre…
The next day, bright and early, I took a taxi and asked the kind driver if he could take me to the sights on the route of the Big Bus Tour so I could see them up close and he did. He also took my photos.
Soon it was time to pack up and head out for my next cooking course. But first, a souvenir shot above the parking lot on Allées de Tourny… No cars because a Sunday Marathon was ongoing.
and one more restaurant on Mimi’s List…La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez.
The Meal… you would think it was the last supper with everything they were trying to feed me! I especially liked the fish carpaccio with an herb flavored granita.. It’s the one that looks like a flat white tortilla with cranberries and green stuff on it.
If you wanted to know what those artistic gourmet concoctions were:
Then off I went on the Autoroute (the highway). I wasn’t used to no-traffic at high speed so I first stayed behind trucks if I could find any until I got the hang of driving so fast. The drive to Anzec for my Le Gargantua cooking course with Marlene Deparis would take over an hour.
After the cooking course was over, I passed by Bordeaux again on the way to the airpot to check out the Quai Des Marques outlets by the water. I didn’t buy anything (because I was mindful of the baggage allowance too. I had already purchased spices and (even red drinking glasses) souvenirs at the E.Leclerc supermarket and Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook at Village de Bages, Pauillac before I left Medoc. But the outlet was very nice, right in front of the water.
Praise God for His provision, for sustaining me physically and keeping me company every day of this trip far away from home.