One of my friends had spent a year in Bordeaux and she had told me what a lovely city it was so I expected to enjoy my time there – but I was surprised just how much I loved it! Lovely architecture, historic buildings, restaurant after restaurant and lively nightlife – what’s not to love!
During my trip I stayed in a studio apartment in one of the school’s ApartHotels and was pleased with the standard of the room and the facilities. I was a bit nervous about being able to find the school in Bordeaux as I have such a bad sense of direction, so I decided to take the bus the first day. However, I soon realised how easy it was to reach the school whether I walked or took the bus. The staff at the school were so friendly and helpful too. There’s also a comfortable student lounge where you can chill out on the sofa on your break and when the sun is shining you can make the most of the school’s garden.
The school has a comprehensive activity programme and I went on a “Chasse au Tresor” (Treasure Hunt) one afternoon which was great fun. It’s arranged by the Bordeaux Tourist Office and you are given 10 questions and have to find out information about historic buildings in Bordeaux, taking as long as you want to find the answers. I found this a great way to learn about the history of Bordeaux and see the sights including the Saint Pierre Church, Porte Cailhau, Place de la Bourse and Palais Gallien. It was also a good opportunity to get to know other students better (and find out whose sense of direction was worse than mine!)
One place you have to go to at night is the Saint Pierre quarter, which is bustling with people, all eating at one of the many restaurants there. The atmosphere in this quarter is infectious!
I would also recommend going to the Bar a Vin de CIVB. The Bordeaux Wine Council opened this bar in June 2006 with the aim of both raising people’s awareness of the wine produced in Bordeaux and giving them the chance to taste these wines. With this in mind, the prices are very reasonable, with the most expensive glass of wine only costing 3 euros! The bar is very impressive with lovely features – high ceilings, stained glass windows and seductive lighting. I like my wine, though I’m hardly a connoisseur, and I could have quite happily stayed there all night sipping all types of wine and eating delicious French bread and Camembert – that’s when I really knew I was in Bordeaux!