International Office - Aberystwyth University

The Bordeaux Saga….An Unexpected Journey

So I’ve just finished my third real day in Bordeaux (that is to say the third day of my course) and I think I’m in love! The city is so beautiful. It has everything you could hope to find in a French city with the old and quaint literally face to face with the more modern edgy aspects of the city.

Last night was the group’s first real venture into Bordeaux at night. Naturally we spent most of our time in an English bar called The Houses of Parliament where many drinks were consumed. This part of the night went off without a hitch; everyone was getting on, the drinks were expensive but strong and we even met some locals 🙂 No, the difficulty came when I needed to get home. I will now tell you the story of how a bus driver’s kindness and the superior language skills of a fellow stagiaire saved me from a night wandering the streets of Bordeaux on my own. My landlady told me that the last tram was at 12:30am-this was a lie. So I missed my tram, I had no other way of getting home except for a taxi which would have cost around 45euros- not good. But luckily I’d had half a bottle of wine at this point and was feeling very relaxed about the situation, the prospect of staying in Bordeaux until sunrise didn’t seem so bad. Flo (the other stagiaire) in contrast was losing her shit! She hadn’t in fact missed her bus but she was horrified for me and we spent the next nearly hour wandering around Place des Quinconces looking for a bus stop.


Eventually we had to stop and ask for directions which for me confirmed that the legend of the rude French is but an old wives’ tale. We asked a couple of guys about our own age (early 20s) where the bus stop was and after they’d given some ridiculously complicated directions and we’d responded with blank faces, one of them walked us all the way to Gambetta, a good 20 mins away. He made conversation with us the whole way and was nothing but polite.

The next challenge was the bus itself. Flo was fine, it was her usual bus, but it went nowhere near my house really. Cue Flo and her near perfect French. It turned out the bus driver lives on the same road as me and after some negotiations, he dropped me off at the end of my road. Contrary to popular belief, he tried his hardest to make sure that I understood everything that he said and all the directions he gave and he was not averse to trying to speak English.

After the bus it was a short (if scary) walk back to my house complete with leering white van man shouting French obscenities at me. Though it was a pain in the arse I feel much more confident in Bordeaux now and have started to travel on my own as I know that someone will help me if I cannot help myself. So my advice to travellers everywhere is to get lost- it’s old advice but it is sound. You’ll never discover anything if you stay on the beaten path.

See you in the next blog!

Lydia xoxo




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