Bordeaux - Dordogne

4 – 7 April – Bordeaux - 3 nights

Train: Paris Montparnasse to Bordeaux St Jean – (2:03) – reservations reqd

Hotel: Aparthotel Adagio Bordeaux Gambetta in BORDEAUX.

40 rue Edmond Michelet


Opera: Opéra de Bordeaux – April 5 – 8 PM

Pretty tired after a brief but spectacular stay in Paris. Departing from Gare Montparnasse (southern Paris station), we got to the capital of southwestern France by midday. We stayed just outsde the city center at an Adagio, same hotel chain we used in Strasbourg last summer. It was an easy walk to a restaurant, Grand Cafe, with a large outdoor patio in the sun. Had a wonderfully rich gratin of ham, cheese and mushrooms with a side salad. We were relaxing so long we didn't realize it had been a late lunch, we still needed to get our bearings, and we had an opera that evening!

This ancient city originally settled by Gauls and Romans is surrounded by some of the finest vineyards in the world. The city is full of tasting rooms and ecoles du vin (wine education centers), and every restaurant menu offers great local vintages.

The city is a series of half-rings in a crescent shape hugging the Garonne, shaped much like New Orleans. Its location since ancient times provided stragegic and economic advantages throughout the region. More on that later.

The natives call the wine regions here 'between the two seas' because the Garonne and the Gironde Rivers both empty within miles of Bordeaux into the Atlantic.

A Night or Two at the Opera

Hurriedly drank and snacked across from the Bordeaux Opera House, then I looked at the calendar. Our tickets were for the following night!

All dressed up and no where to go but back to the hotel. Enjoyed another day of seeing parts of the old walled city and a monument to fallen French patriots. Finally, L'Elisir d'Amour, The Elixer of Love, by Doinizetti. Farmer loves girl, but can't win her over. Meets a traveling magician who gives him a potion to make him attractive to her. He thinks it works because it makes him carefree. When he wants more, he can't pay for it and has to get money by joining the army, under a commander who also loves the girl. Of course, it all works out in the end. And, the elixir? Bordeaux wine!

The opera house is one of the oldest in Europe; it's interior stairwell was apparently copied by the Paris Opera House. The ceiling is a baroque tribute to the economy of the region and its place in world trade. Grapes aplenty, but also links to the slave trade. Like much art we will see on our travels, places don't shy away from unsavory depictions or paint over them, but describe them factually in site literature or art notes.

A huge park dedicated to the heroes of French conflicts was the site of our second drone video. The city was getting ready for a large book fair the size of this public space can easily accommodate. At one side of the square is the Quinqunx -- trees specifically grouped in squares of five. It was still early spring, so the trees were not yet in full leaf, but you get the idea.

7 - 11 April – Sarlat – 4 nights

Train: Bordeaux St Jean to Sarlat – (2:21)

Hotel -

Le Lys Dort Sarlat

Impasse Robert Couzinou, 24200 Sarlat-la-Canéda, France

Day trips:

· Les Eyzies-de-Tayac Five trains arrive from Sarlat daily the trip can take anywhere from 50 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes.

· Rocamdour

· Lasceaux

11 - 15 April – CroisiCruise – 5 nights

The exceptional region of Bordeaux