Tag Archives: france

Bordeaux, France

2 Feb
Cafe au lait

Café au lait avec du croissant

 

The Space

Unlike Paris, Bordeaux is more spread out and open. Both cities, however, share beautiful architecture and open displays of art.

open space

Open square at the intersection of four streets

 

rue st catherine

Shoppers returning from Rue Catherine, the largest shopping street in Bordeaux

 

fountain

And then a cool fountain with a non-cool poser

 

 

The Street Art

face art

dancers

Street dancers performing at brunch

street performers

This nonsensical display

The People

Cyclists, skateboarders, and lots of dogs and babies. Bordeaux had a very suburban let’s-settle-here-and-raise-a-family-but-still-be-cool vibe.

bikers

I don’t actually know these people, but they seem nice

bikers again boarders

sometimes riding a bike is scary

NB: European bikes are NOT like North American bikes, or at least any I have rode before. The handles are lower and extremely sensitive, and this requires a quick, but terrifying learning curve. Hence, the panic.

 

The Wine

Bordeaux has been making wine since the 8th century and is home to thousands of wine producing châteaux, and some of the most expensive wine in the world. Naturally, I needed to take a tour.

more grapes

chateau

Un château

wine boots

Vineyard

Vineyard

This is Kevin, our tour guide, explaining the different kinds of grapes. I forgot what he said about them. But after the tour he did invite us to his office to have even more wine and recommend restuarants in the area. His bookshelf was decorated with empty wine bottles, but I didn't take a picture.

This is Kevin, our tour guide, explaining the different kinds of grapes. I forgot what he said about them because I didn’t write it down. After the tour he did invite us to his office to have even more wine and recommend restaurants in the area. His bookshelf was decorated with empty wine bottles, but I didn’t take a picture. Regrets.

steel barrels

Stainless steel wine barrels

Wood barrels painted with spilled wine. It smelled absolutely amazing in there, a blend of oak and red wine.

Wood barrels painted with spilled wine. It smelled absolutely amazing in there, a blend of oak and red wine.

We played "name that scent" with our tour guide to help us better distinguish the flavours and aromas of all the wine we tasted.

We played “name that scent” with our tour guide to help us better distinguish the flavours and aromas of all the wine we tasted.

le nez

I did pretty good.

wine

Some good ish

wine bar

There’s cheese, cured meat, almonds, and dried apricots on the platter which are excellent palette cleaners between tastings.

chateau margeux

This is Château Margaux, the second most prestigious château in Bordeaux. It wasn’t exactly on the itinerary and Kevin parked on the side of the road and let us walk until the gate (he told us to stop so we wouldn’t be arrested or tackled by security). The gate happened to be open so we got a good shot.

 

 

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Paris

13 Oct

I went to Paris this summer as part of a trip to France and Spain. This is what I found.

view of tower

The People/L’Amour

There are a lot of Arabs, Sri Lankans, and Chinese in Paris. And it’s super weird to hear them speak French. I know, I’m a racist.

People openly drink in the streets and everyone smokes. Great for my love for wine, terrible for my asthma.

wine

It’s true, the French are very amorous. They are loving people that don’t shy from public displays of affection (and then some). I don’t have pictures of this because it made my non-romantic and North American stay-out-of-my-personal-space self very uncomfortable.

Love locks on a bridge in Pont des Arts, Paris. Lovers leave these behind to symbolism their love, often tossing the key into the Seine River below. But, what happens if they break up? I didn't see anyone with pliers.

Love locks on a bridge in Pont des Arts, Paris. Lovers leave these behind to symbolism their love, often tossing the key into the Seine River below. But, what happens if they break up? I didn’t see anyone with pliers. Love Lock sites can be found around the world.

People have picnics along the Seine River and pack wine bottles and glasses for these picnics.

La Langue 

Parisians are pretty fluent in English and it’s amazing how quickly they can transition between languages. I’ve been studying French since the third grade and have taken adult level classes, and I still don’t feel comfortable speaking to a francophone. Considering French is a national language in Canada, that’s pretty disappointing. We need more exposure.

It’s endearing to hear a familiar Apple ring tone amongst the foreign chatter.

The influence of the English-speaking world is apparent is the anglo-isms

Angloisms in Pariswiz

 Architecture and History

There is so much history in Paris and the buildings are so old. It’s surprising everything wasn’t destroyed in WWII.

Paris has very quaint places, and very grand places. There’s little in-between space.

hotel

Tiny hotel room

elevator

One-person elevator

buddha

Big ass statue

Notre dame

Notre Dame Cathedral

notre dame inside

Inside Notre Dame

luxembourg

The grand Luxembourg Garden, formerly the garden adjoining the Luxembourg Palace. After the French Revolution, the Palace was transformed to the French Senate and today the public can enjoy the beauty of the garden.

 

    Replica of the Statue of Liberty that was sent to New York as a gift from France. It was designed and built by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the man behind the Eiffel Tower

Replica of the Statue of Liberty that was sent to New York as a gift from France. It was designed and built by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the man behind the Eiffel Tower

towerarchitecture architecture

tombstone

Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides, the military museum of France.

gravetop of invalides

d'orsay

Orsay Museum. Shh, you’re not supposed to take pictures.

louvre

Area outside of the Louvre.

street view

L’Art

gold man

accordian

Accordion player performing on the Archbishop’s Bridge crossing the Seine River

Art store

One of many book stores spotted in Paris

One of many book stores spotted in Paris

statue art

Fashion

Black is the new black in Paris. Colour is less common but not unseen. Accessorize with scarves and hats, and hold your head up high for you are fabulous.

paris fashion

Finding my inner Chanel

police

Only the French can make a uniformed man sexier. Drool.

my french fashion

I’m like 30% model

fashion vspa

Pop of colour on a vespa.

Food and Wine

I have to admit, I was not a fan of French food, it is far too indulgent for me. There’s only so much foie gras and cheese I can eat. However, what I skipped in solid sustenance, I made up in liquid luxury.

Brunch was my favourite time of the day

Brunch was my favourite time of the day

rich food

wine 2

cheers

Cheers

 

The Metro

metro

No, I didn’t get robbed on the metro (phew).

graffiti

Graffiti outside of the subway appears to be universal

 

 

Fin.