We have held off visiting Bordeaux - just because we haven't want to do everything in one year. So we decided to wait until the time, for us, felt right.
It is beautiful! Stunning! We were all totally enchanted - and Christmas is a fantastic time to visit. We left after lunch - again we didn't want to do "Bordeaux in a day"; we wanted to experience Christmas and so wanted to be there at dusk to see the lights. It is incredibly easy to get to. It took 40 minutes to get there in the car and then we did "park and ride" (well signposted and lots of them). It cost 4.50 euros to park the car and for three of us to use the trams into and out of town (a 10 minute ride).
Immediately, we saw a Christmas market. Perfect for some festive cheer. Full of food, drink, old fashioned toys, beautiful wraps and hats.................with festive music all around. The atmosphere was relaxed and jovial. We then wandered off into what I assume was the main shopping area. To say it was busy was an understatement, and looking into the distance the crowds were on force, but there was no jostling or shoving or panicking. We were able to meandered along through the crowds eating our festive patisseries (couldn't miss those now) when we chanced upon a beautiful square full of restaurants and cafes. The children spotted an ice cream shop and indulged in the largest four scooper I have ever seen. I was very pleasantly surprised by the prices in the city. There wasn't a sense of "being ripped off", the food, coffee etc was all more than affordable. We parked ourselves by the river ice creams in hand, quickly realising we were at Place de la Bourse by the water mirror. One of the lovey things about this city is how easy and quick it is to walk from place to place; another is the outstanding architecture. We were in for a treat. Just as the ice creams were coming to an end the lights came on. Lanterns as far as the eye could see, and Place de la Bourse lit up in all it's glory. Oh my goodness a must see. We set back to pick up the tram and marvelled at the illuminations throughout the city. When we reached the centre, possibly the most beautiful spectacle of all lay before us, with the Grand Hotel Bordeaux all lit up, with the lights of the Christmas market in the distance.