As the weather during our Spanish trip was not going to get better, we had to find a place nearby that was at least “not very nasty.” This was a place that we were interested about for a while, French Biarritz located on the border between the Basque lands and Gascony. All that I heard about it before – was that it was a French seaside resort on the Atlantic coast, popular for surfing due to the presence of “the right waves”. Since we arrived during low season, it was only possible to estimate its tourist potential. The city is really nice. Perhaps, it was due to the fact that it is located in France, where the atmosphere of enjoying life is in almost every region (in a good way, that is 🙂
Actually, being in a resort city during “off-season” causes a feeling that you sneaked into someone’s house, while the owner is away, to see how people live there. And all this time I had a “holiday eve” kind of feeling when you understand, that now it is good, but in a season it will be even better. Many places in Biarritz were closed during this period, and the others only had local residents and a few visiting tourists like us. And the attitude to such visitors was very different – there was some kind of homely cosiness. I loved spending time in the half-empty city, having a feeling that all of it was just for me. We even didn’t need to make the hotels price comparison – this time the prices were very low themselves.
Next, we headed to Bordeaux. This city is located in the famous wine region of France, on the banks of the Garonne river, separating it into a historic and a more modern part. We, of course, were interested in the perfectly preserved historical part. Most of it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a unique urban and architectural ensemble of the Enlightenment. There were much more tourists there than in the previous regions that we visited during this trip. As Bordeaux is a major industrial city and all its infrastructure is developed for year-round use, and there is no feeling of seasonality, all cafes, restaurants and bars were open and packed with visitors, there were open-air markets and street concerts happening as well. The city has a huge number of museums, it makes no sense to list them, and in addition to the classic museums, you can find a submarine museum, or, more interestingly, wine museum (there has to be one in this region!). The city left a most pleasant experience, we will be glad to visit it again.
The next point in our route was Toulouse – the fourth largest city in France, also located on the banks of the Garonne, between the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea. Like Bordeaux, in addition to cultural heritage, Toulouse is a large industrial city (center of space research and the related industry). Toulouse, with its special architecture, is called “the pink city” because of the color of bricks the old town was built from. Because our stay coincided with the football championship, we were able to appreciate the importance of this sport for the French: during the games the streets were frozen, and all activity was concentrated in the bars and restaurants broadcasting the matches. Well, in general, as we understand, the French love to spend leisurely time in a café over a drink and pleasant conversation, it’s part of their lifestyle. This is what we remembered about our time in Toulouse – a leisurely way of life, cozy cafes, and any smooth draft in all around you. And the journey through this region was very enjoyable, despite the weather, and the need to “live out of a suitcase” – the mobility of rented car provided us with the necessary freedom of movement.