September 3, 2018
Walking down the street in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood. Searching for a free place to sit for an evening drink. I’m on my phone, quickly checking my inbox. And there is only one e-mail which caught my attention. Promotion. Flights to Bordeaux for 20 Euros. „Tino, I know where we’re going for a glass of wine! To Bordeaux.“ Shouting at Tino who’s walking just a few steps in front of me. „Yes, let’s go for a bottle..“ Deal! Tickets bought just like that…
Warning: That’s all great, but.. You have to know there is no way to travel to Bordeaux only with a carry-on luggage:) I wasn’t willing to give up the idea of bringing home wines and other foodie gifts (understand gifts for me). So be careful as the checked baggage can cost you more than a flight ticket:)
And here are my Bordeaux Foodie TOP TIPS:
1. Wine: Vins Urbains
To travel to Bordeaux in August means you probably won’t find all of your checklist wineries-to-see-and-wine-to-taste open. But some we did find. Vins Urbains is a nice, modern, but still cozy wine bar. They are open only in the evenings and a majority of wines isn’t coming from the Bordeaux area. Local inhabitants want to try wines from different regions, they say. And the fact is, there were only locals when we were there. The owner was serving us wines up to our taste. And he chose well. We tried mini Croque Monsiers with white truffle and if you can still find it on a menu – go for it! Sipping wine at the bar with the view to the street, listening to a beautiful French accent, we were tipsy happy..
Vins Urbains, 27 rue des Bahutiers, 33000 Bordeaux, France
JustToKnow: Croque Monsier? Ham and Cheese Toast? Not at all! Boiled ham is lying between 2 brioche bread slices. Upgraded with a perfect bechamel sauce. A thin layer of the sauce is spread on the top of the toast and “covered” with grated Gruyère or Emmental cheese. Baked or grilled. That is a Mister Crunch, as a literal translation says. Sir becomes a Madame (Croque Madame) when a fried egg is placed on top of it.
2. Croissants & Baguettes: La Boulangerie de Saint Michele
We ate a lot of them, however – the best croissants are.. hot, taken freshly out of the oven! I think you can hardly go wrong in France with real butter croissants. Our Airbnb apartment (more on that later) was in an ancient quarter of Saint-Michel, right in front of the Basilica. Just a few steps from our apartment, there was a bakery La Boulangerie de Saint Michele. You can’t miss it – follow the smell of freshly baked brioche, baguette, and croissants. I waited at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday in a queue. And I waited on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. in a queue (with other “butter obsessed” French people). And it was worth it! Look at our breakfast table at 7:30 on our terrace.
La Boulangerie Saint-Michel, 49-51 rue des Faures, 33800 Bordeaux, France
JustToKnow: Croissant originally comes from Austria. Why the half-moon shape? The most widespread is that the Viennese made the pastries in the same shape as the Turkish flag when they won the battle against them. ‘Croissant’ means ‘crescent’ (referring to its traditional shape). It’s been a French national product since 1920.
Bonus: I know that one croissant is not enough. Head to Boulangerie de l’Hôtel de Ville if you long for more French atmosphere. Sipping a perfect cup of strong coffee along with perfect French sweet treats, looking behind the shoulders of pastry chefs in the back of the patisserie… That’s my kind of a perfect coffee break.
Boulangerie de l’Hôtel de Ville, 76 rue des Trois-Conils, 33000 Bordeaux, France
HistoricalMust: Let’s walk off all the “moon-shaped” calories:) City Hall (Hotel de Ville) and Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Andrew of Bordeaux) is very close to the Boulangerie del’Hôtel de Ville. Have you noticed its freestanding bell tower?
3. Fine Dining: Miles
On their webpage, they say: “Miles is a fine dining restaurant with a warm and casual atmosphere in which we would be able to share our work and passion.” I agree. We have chosen to go for a lunch degustation menu with wine pairing. You can choose 3, 4 or 5-course menu, but.. you cannot choose what you eat. Surprise Menu. Great! We love surprises (that’s why we have our own pop-up restaurant Forbidden Taste, right?:)) The atmosphere was so nice, so relaxed. And the food was the best I have experienced in Bordeaux. 10 out of 10 for me!
MILES, 33 rue du Cancera, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Bonus: We liked the atmosphere and food (that was well priced too) in Bistro Le Chien de Pavlov. We tried one of the most traditional Bordeaux dishes – Magret de Canard (duck breast seared skin-side down so it becomes crispy on the outside and juice in the inside). A perfect dot was their dessert (combo of Apple, Cucumber and Wasabi).
Le Chien de Pavlov, 45-47 rue de la Devise, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Due to the Augusts’ closure, we missed quite a lot of our to-taste wishlist. Here are our picks (unfortunately not tested – and not tasted – yet though): Garopapilles, DAN Bordeaux, Le Taquin, Le Symbiose.. Be sure to check Bordeaux Food Club. They did not have any events during our stay, but they gave us many great foodie tips.
/P.S. We were really looking forward to our visit to Racines as we heard a lot about it. However, it didn’t quite meet our taste buds’ expectations. Dishes and servings seemed to me a little bit ordinary, with not much of a fantasy. Don’t get me wrong – I have to say – the food was good and the staff was nice, as well. But next time I would rather choose a different spot for a more creative French degustation dinner./
4. Cocktail (with a view): Mama Shelter Rooftop
For a drink on a rooftop of the hotel. Yes. Mama Shelter is a visually crazy place. The colors are surrounding you and swimming wheels are hanging from the ceiling. But when you head up to the rooftop, there is another world. Beautiful view, great cocktails and a really nice atmosphere for a summer-long night.
Mama Shelter, 19 rue Poquelin Molière, 33000 Bordeaux, France
5. Canelés de Bordeaux: Anywhere and Anytime
You can find macarons all over France, but Canelés (or Cannelés) are diamonds of Bordeaux. Originally invented here, Canelé is a small pastry with a caramelized crust, but with a soft custard inside, flavored with vanilla and rum. They are baked in beautiful cylindrical fluted molds. There is no way you miss it in Bordeaux.
Baillardran has its branches all around the town, even at the airport (in case, you really really leave for the last minute:)). However, try to taste these small pastries in an artisanal bakery. I tried in different places. By the way – La Boulangerie de Saint Michele was again great.
JustToKnow: It is said that canelés were born in a convent before the French Revolution. Winemakers used to clarify their wines with egg whites. All the eggs yolks were donated to this convent and nuns used them for baking these mini cakes (along with flour they recovered from the docks).
6. Secret Hidden Spot: Julo
This is a place you just want to sit in. In the evening, with a glass of wine, with a plate of Iberico ham, with a basket of fresh baguette and with the view of the moon above the St. Michelle Cathedral. Just hidden around the corner of St. Michele square there is Julo. A small wine bar and Charcuterie is owned by a great owner Julien who will happily help you choose the best wine and the best slices of ham. Locals were sitting outside, drinking wine, chatting like if there was nothing else to care about.
Julo, Place Saint Michel, 33000 Bordeaux, Francie
JustToKnow: Part of the Julo wine bar is “Épicerie”; a gourmet shop with not only French delicates. So I ended up buying their signature wines but also canned sardines from Portugal:) OK, I bought Fleur de Salt Cabernet too:) Wine salt. What an invention♡ I use it for cooking venison dishes, coq au vin.. but it’s great also for salads with figs, grapes or goat cheese).
7. Hipster pick: Darwin Eco-System
Nice walk from the center along the river bank, you end up among the warehouses of a former military Barracks. In an eco-friendly space, surrounded by a speakeasy bar, art walls and a restaurant with vegan food, good craft beer, wine and an organic sustainable shop. Darwin is a space to hang out but also a place shared by companies and associations with the same mindset and the same idea – to reduce the environmental footprints and to promote the urban culture. There are also many events happening so make sure to check it in advance.
DARWIN Éco-Système, 87 (Quai Des Queyries), Bordeaux, France
8. Market: Marché des Capucins
The largest Market. The belly of Bordeaux. Pastry, bread, cheese, ham, wine, olives, oysters.. Everything. We headed here before our trip to The Dune of Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe. We had to be prepared and needed to buy everything necessary for a great picnic on the top of the dune. If you are not hungry, just come here to watch. People selling, people buying, people chatting, laughing and eating.. I am sure, you won’t leave without a small piece of quiche or at least a big oyster. Or a glass of wine. Let’s see :)
Marché des Capucins, Place des Capucins, 33800 Bordeaux
GoodToKnow:Market is open every day, except Mondays. From Tuesday to Friday from 6 am to 1 pm, on weekends from 5.30 am to 2.30 pm.
9. Best Specialty Coffee in Bordeaux: SiP & Black List Café
Just across the street, opposite of the Boulangerie de l’Hôtel de Ville, there is Sip Coffee Bar with specialty coffee, cakes and something small to bite. Another tip is the Black List Café just on the other side of the Cathedral.
SiP, 69B Rue des Trois-Conils, Bordeaux, France
Black List Café, 27 Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux, France
More caffeine? The Perfect Daily Grind sums up perfectly the best coffee places in Bordeaux here. Because we need coffee only on days ending on “y”, right? Have a great day (in Bordeaux)!
10*. Where To Stay?
We chose to stay in the lively Saint Michel Quarter. The square around the Basilique holds several weekly markets – fruit and vegetables, flea market or even festivals. As well as a lot of antique shops. By the way, the bell tower (“La flèche”) of St. Michele Cathedral is the highest monument in Bordeaux with its 114 meters. Former “not so safe area” is now considered to be soon a new Chatron, actually the most trendy part of Bordeaux. Saint Michele neighborhood is also a multiethnic area and you will notice the influence of many cultures here. For example with a smell of Morrocan mint tea serving at one of many cafés or shops with Middle East spices.
ToSleep: Size isn’t important (regarding our Airbnb apartment). The flat was really tiny. When we unpacked the bed, there was literally no space to unpack our luggage:) But the terrace… The terrace was just excellent. Bigger than the apartment itself. I wanted to give you here a link, unfortunately, I found this flat is not available anymore.. I will check it and definitely give you an update if anything changes!
And as always: Photos by Tino’s Analog camera Olympus Mju: