Following on from my article about the Bordeaux, I thought I would share with you another incredibly memorable moment from my FrenchToGo weekend with alpha.b in Bordeaux.
After the stunningly captivating Cité du Vin and all its amazing exhibitions (see my previous article), it was time for a well-deserved lunch. However, being part of the cultural learning experience of the FrenchToGo weekends, there was a twist: our lunch was to take place on a barge/river cruise so that we could taste local gastronomy (wine included of course!), while also enjoying a unique tour of Bordeaux with our qualified teacher to learn more about this great city in French (naturellement).
We boarded the boat at the waterfront in the centre of Bordeaux, were greeted by a welcome aperitif and were then seated for a delicious 3-course lunch. Our teacher told us that the food is prepared on board, the kitchen staff use seasonal and local ingredients in the dishes and the menu changes with the seasons. It is certainly safe to say that we had a rather large choice of gorgeous food: homemade terrine or mullet tartare with dill vinaigrette, followed by cod brandade or cockerel with lemon and seasonal vegetables, to finish with either molten chocolate cake or fruit panna cotta. All that accompanied by delicious Bordeaux wine certainly left a group of very satisfied people ready to enjoy the sites of the UNESCO-listed city drifting past while they nursed full tummies.
As we floated down the Garonne River (one of the longest in France), we gazed out at the beautiful buildings along Bordeaux waterfront and just let the knowledge of our teacher/tour guide sweep over us in waves of contented enjoyment.
- We passed the 18th-century Place de la Bourse which was designed by an architect working for King Louis XV.
- We saw the Quai Richelieu and glided underneath the vast and striking Pont de Pierre, the first bridge to be built over the Garonne River in Bordeaux. It was designed during the First French Empire, under the orders of Napoleon I, but was built during the Bourbon Restoration.
- We then spied the beautiful 15th century gothic Basilica of St Michael. Apparently a Gallo-Roman cemetery and catacombs were discovered under the bell tower in 1881, with several naturally mummified bodies. This was a little hard to stomach after a big lunch!
- Finally, after going under the Pont d’Aquitaine and reaching the Château Grattequina, it was time to turn around.
This was, yet again, another amazing and unforgettable experience that I never would have done or certainly been able to learn as much as I did without alpha.b’s FrenchToGo language and cultural weekend.