Saturday, May 16 - Bordeaux

After a good breakfast at the hotel we went to another building around the corner - the hotel is the union of two - where we met Brigitte Benjamin, our guide for Bordeaux. She gave us a lecture on the history of Bordeaux. Then we had lunch and were ready for a walking tour of this beautiful city, "the location of one of Europe's biggest 18th Century architectural urban areas."

On the way back form the restaurant we saw the towers of the cathedral in the distance, and that would be our ultimate objective. First we went to the big intersection near the Grand Theater where the light rail system turns. The light rail system has no exposed overhead wiring. It's relatively new and quite impressive. We then walked down past the theater toward the river.

The riverfront has been turned into a park, the warehouses and such previously there having been banished. At the point we reached there is a water park with fountains that spray mist, rather than water. Very popular with all ages and huge. Then we crossed over to the former Bourse. The building landscape is most impressive and very 18th Century.

We then meandered through the city streets in a fairly old part of town until we got to the Cathedral of St. Andre. Here is the description form the Internet:

In the south of the old town is the Cathedral of St. André, which is comparable in size with Notre-Dame in Paris. The nave, built in the 12th C, was altered in the 13th and 15th centuries; the choir and transepts date from the 14th century. The west front is plain, since it was too close to the town walls. The finest feature of the exterior is the north doorway, richly decorated with sculpture (Last Supper, Ascension, Christ in Majesty) and flanked by two tall towers.

Also on the north side is the Porte Royale, with fine 13th century sculptural decoration (five figures of Apostles on each side of the doorway, Resurrection of the Dead on the lintel, Last Judgment in the tympanum).

Opposite the west front of the cathedral is the former Archbishop's Palace (18th C), now the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), with a handsome staircase hall and finely appointed rooms.

After that we walked back to the hotel, with a stop to purchase the local favorite, canelets, which we ate at the hotel. Very good, dense sweet pastry . We went out to find some wine and went back to our room for a rest. Dinner was at Le Chapeau Rouge.

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