We’ve now spent a week in Bordeaux. It’s a university town, with a huge campus sprawling right across the outskirts of the city. The bus and tram ride from the campsite to the centre of town takes around 40 minutes, though this would probably take less than half that time if the bus didn’t wind its way around so many university buildings and halls of residence.
The city is built along the west bank of the River Garonne, with old town situated in the Saint-Pierre district, the focal point of which is the famous Place du Bourse overlooking the river. There are a couple of other nice districts within walking distance – Saint-Paul and Saint-Michel – which are also worth visiting. To the north of the city lies La Cité du Vin – the wine museum, located next to the amazing Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas. At a height of 77 metres, it’s the tallest lift bridge in Europe. Unfortunately the road is only lifted once a month at the moment so we didn’t get to see this, but there is a picture of it here.
We spent four days in the city centre, exploring the different areas, and Saturday turned out to be an interesting day. We’d just got on the bus from the campsite when we noticed that the display boards were warning that tram services would be disrupted because of demonstrations, at which point the penny dropped that this would be the Gilets Jaunes who have been marching in the big cities at weekends protesting against the policies of the Macron government. Later in the day we did catch the tail end of the Gilets Jaunes march through the streets, and whilst the protesters seemed to be in good humour there were plenty of riot police about barricading side streets at key points along the route, and we even passed some armed soldiers. The next morning we read that it did all kick off the previous evening, with cars overturned and set on fire and the police using water cannon – fortunately we were back at the van by then!
Tomorrow we have a driving day, nearly 250 miles/400 km to Tours, where we’ll be spending a couple of days before moving onto Calais.