2018 really started off with a bang. Spent New Years Eve with my boyfriend and his family, celebrated and had a lay-in on the 1st, and on the 2nd, we were off on holiday! After having worked my butt off for the last two months of 2017, both at work and at uni, it couldn’t have come at a better timing, to be honest! So here’s a little diary post of my Bordeaux holiday.
The Frugal Frenchie
We left on January 2nd for Gatwick airport, simply because we live about 2 hours + away, so we thought it might be tight arriving for an 8am flight in case something happened or sod’s law… there was a strike on public transport.
Ironically, there did end up being a strike on the trains, so this started a big twitter thread of updates and the passing of many confusing places we weren’t even meant to be anywhere near! Not sure what it is about January, but it seems to trigger the protest of many transport workers! Our direct train from Southampton Central to Gatwick was completely cancelled, so we were informed that we had to go to Brighton and then change there for Gatwick, “however if that’s cancelled, then there’s no way you can get there, unfortunately.” Well, that was helpful, luckily we had grabbed bargain tickets then!
Thankfully, we did board that Brighton train, but before it got to Brighton, it said we had to change for another train, because a Brighton train was not running, so we wouldn’t even get there! We ended up in the rain, humorously being told to swap platforms twice so a whole crowd of confused people were just constantly going back and forth in the bridge under the rails, on the lookout for our train!
Nevertheless, we arrived at Gatwick Airport in a reasonable time (a miracle in my opinion) where Fraser, my boyfriend, had managed to keep a surprise from me: we were staying overnight in a Hilton hotel! I’ve never stayed in a Hilton hotel before so I was very excited. I’m more of a Premier Inn type of girl traditionally!
After our last flight, where we did an unintentional all-nighter in Amsterdam airport, it was amazing to be able to dump our bags with no sense of paranoia and fall back on a nice, soft, well-made bed. We watched TV for a bit, surprised to see Mr. Ramsay’s face on it (Kitchen Nightmares is our favourite), took a nice warm shower and went to bed.
In the morning, we woke up at around 6:30, left by 6:50, all ready for looking at our flights. We took a few bits and bobs for breakfast and made our way to the gate, which we found easily and voila, that was it!
Because I’m half French, I have a lot of family spread out everywhere. My Grandma is from the North, however, my Auntie and cousins ended up in the middle/south of France: Cognac and Bordeaux (both wine places, I know). I haven’t seen my cousin and his wife in 3 years, so that meant that I never saw their son who was 3 and their now newborn son of 6 months old. Heads up, I’m already broody so this trip certainly didn’t help, but boy did it make my year.
After having found each other at arrivals, and doing our cheek-kisses (I have no idea how you refer to it in English haha) and making introductions, we squeezed ourselves and our suitcases into the car and made our way. The little boy was definitely a shy little one, a fact that my cousin found highly amusing and told us to wait until we got home. It was quite a sight seeing my boyfriend of 5″10 squashed in between two car seats, a sleeping baby and a shy, withdrawing toddler, but as predicted, all was well when we got home!
I thought that it would take a little introduction and play before he trusted us, but once he had his shoes off at home, it’s like he had known us forever! Despite the language barrier with him and Fraser, he started throwing toys our way asking that we play with him, with yours truly translating (or attempting to) toddler talk as we went.
A little favourite of his was a bit like Buckaroo, but if you touched certain parts of the body while throwing the objects on, you’d get sprayed with water, so it’s safe to say there was a bit of intentional cheating going on!
After lunch, while the little ones took a nap, we were shown around Bordeaux centre a little bit, reminiscing about the last time I went there and there was a boat festival in the summer. It really is a beautiful city, some of the architecture is just insane! Turns out they were just business offices and flats for very rich people, which is just unreal! We also passed this statue called “Monuments des Girondins” which is so tall it’s difficult to get into one picture, very detailed and stately though, it’s a real landmark of Bordeaux!
On our second day in France, we were taken on an awesome trip to a seaside town called Arcachon. With it being only about 2 hours away from the nearest Spanish town, it was clear that it had Spanish influences, with the architecture’s colour and designs occasionally fooling us into thinking we were elsewhere than a French town.
The little three-year-old was having a ball of a time, so after eating a little something at a nearby Boulangerie, Fraser and I decided to have a little walk along the front ourselves, climbing amongst the rocks and taking just a few pictures.
Later on, we saw two (of what could only be described as) of nature’s wonders. Who’d have thought that the largest forest in Europe, would also be next to the largest sand dune in Europe and the beach?
Honestly, as somebody who has never gone to a “deserty” place before, had you made the temperature super high and made a blazing sun beam down on us rather than cold wind, I could’ve been in the Sahara desert!
Predictably, climbing up and sliding down it was hilarious and messy, but totally worth it! Despite it being last month, I think I still have some sand in my shoes from it haha. Oh, and how cheeky is this little munchkin? So adorable.
The third day was a little more chill after our “sandy workout.” We had a lie in, breakfast and just relaxed all morning with the little ones. The little three-year-old is so cute, he’s really into Disney songs and even in French, they’re as addictive! After listening to them a few times, I’m pretty sure I started getting the chorus of “Let it Go” in my head after a while, not to mention some new French shows featuring ladybird and cat superheroes!At around lunchtime, Fraser and I went out into town by ourselves, while the two boys had their nap and my cousin worked from home. We were out for a good 3/4 hours, just wondering around and soaking in the atmospheres. Among many other commonly found stores, there were some really sweet independent French boutiques, filled with French fashion or cosmetics. Despite my love for writing posts, I still am not “doué” for taking photos naturally, and so we just enjoyed our time instead. Memories are just as good, right?
Unfortunately, as it always does, reality kicked in and made me realise that my statistics (ew) coursework was due in, so I did have to resist the temptation just a little while of playing with the boys when I got back, and do a little bit of referencing and editing.
Overall it was a relaxing day though, with a new adventure planned for the next day!
Gee, I think such a day-to-day description might have been easier presented in vlogs! Especially on our 4th day, when we went to an amazing old castle and village (you can see more pics in this post). Shamefully I didn’t get the name, but it was really beautiful, you could only imagine what each part was used for and what happened in each area.
Can you guess what we assumed this part to be for?
Knowing it was quite a long drive, our little companion did amazingly to be some calm, although he cheated by sleeping most of it! Nevertheless, he walked loads and, on the condition that he was good (which I also said applies to Fraser haha) he was allowed a McDonalds, so after a lot of sport with his new best buddy, off we went to guzzle down some French chips and hamburgers.
I can’t help thinking that in all these pictures, I look like the boring one that never plays haha. I am fun I promise, I just think this week, Fraser was the favoured one to play with (tottttally not offended) although I definitely could’ve fit into this small McDonald’s play area better!
On our last full day in Bordeaux, we want for a little trip to the nearby countryside. It wasn’t too far away, yet was so different to the commercial, more industrial side we had previously seen.
We watched a football match for a little bit, then walked around the park kicking about a ball and then spent the rest of the time in the playground. We probably took the most pictures then, so enjoy a few of my favourites!
Today we got to visit a French school, a little primary school and got to reminisce about the low-hung clothes hangers outside and the extremely colourful walls of the classrooms. Our little companion had school on our last day, unfortunately, but luckily we managed to say bye to him before we left.
Our last day was of course the one with bright sunshine, but we still went out and had a look around a local shopping centre. I had my first look at a Sephora store and saw the most amazing craft/general bits and bobs store ever. Honestly, it was like a bloggers dream. What do you think?
Our flight was in the evening so we got a very overpriced baguette to share between us, queued for ages, had a very justified fright that we were going to be late (they checked passports before boarding, but for several flights at the same time???) and then boarded.
We met Fraser’s dad and sister at Gatwick and arrived at his about 2.5 hours later where we crashed and slept like absolute babies until morning.
This was a really amazing way to start 2018, and was the last time of seeing Fraser for a good 1.5 months after (ie. I just saw him) so it made it extra special. A big thank you to Vincent and Elodie, and I can’t wait to see you all again soon! xx