The arrow on my discomfort meter didn’t move up much in Paris. True, Parisienne women were exquisitely dressed and coiffed, but there were enough tourists around that I didn’t feel too out of place in my khakis and hiking boots. My spartan traveling wardrobe raised no eyebrows when paying my respects at the Normandy beaches, touring Mont Saint Michel abbey, or visiting chateaux in the Loire Valley, but when I stepped off the train in Bordeaux I became painfully aware that France had succeeded where all other countries had failed; I officially felt like a slob.
I rode the tramway four stops to Place de Bourgougne and walked half a block to The HomeAway holiday rental apartment that would be my home for the next week, courtesy of HomeAway.co.uk. The property manager, Charlotte, peered down the stairwell as I wrangled my luggage to the third floor.
“Do you need help?” she offered.
I shook my head and plodded on, thinking that the day I can’t handle my own luggage is the day I need to stop traveling. I struggled up the last few steps, gratefully shed the heavy backpack that holds all my camera and computer equipment in the front hall, and followed Charlotte into the living room. My Home Away Rentals apartment was drop-dead gorgeous! Floor-to-ceiling windows looked out on beautifully restored 18th century buildings and the serene Garonne River.
In the unlikely event that I grew tired of the view, a flat panel TV mounted to the wall offered hundreds of channels. The kitchen was superbly equipped and the bedroom, with a double bed topped by a faux fur comforter, looked oh so tempting. I perused the tasteful contemporary French furnishings and then looked down at my boots and cargo pants; once again, I felt shamefully under-dressed.
Before departing, Charlotte provided a brief orientation, pointing out Saint Andre Cathedral, just a few blocks away, as well as grocery stores, squares where I could find cafes and restaurants, and a pedestrian shopping mall filled with upscale shops. Amused by the latter, I contemplated my reasons for visiting Bordeaux. Most come for wine-tasting tours of the surrounding vineyards but as a teetotaler the area’s fine wines held no allure for me. I had chosen Bordeaux because, according to UNESCO, the city is one of the finest examples of architecture from the Age of Enlightenment. With 347 historic buildings (more protected buildings than any other French city except Paris) enclosed in a fairly small geographic area, it was the perfect city for long walks and discovery. Now it seemed that my stay in Bordeaux would have a secondary theme: shopping.
Can’t view the above slideshow about Bordeaux, France? Click here.
I quickly settled into a routine, breakfasting each morning on warm bread from the nearby bakery, drizzled with rich green olive oil and topped with chunks of mouth-watering Comté cheese. Despite gray skies and persistent drizzle, I spent the afternoons exploring the city on foot, alternating between visiting historic buildings and shopping. Each evening I whipped up simple dishes with fresh ingredients from the local grocers and wrote long into the night.
As my departure date grew near, I ramped up my quest for a more appropriate wardrobe and finally found a lovely shop that had just what I needed. The saleswoman explained that French women buy just a few pieces of fine clothing and change the look by accessorizing. She helped me pick out black pants, a black and white V-neck sweater, which she layered over a 100% cotton ivory top embellished with gray and white patterned silk turn-up cuffs. To that we added a grey silk scarf and Voila! – I was transformed. It set me back a cool $200, but when I departed two days later, I did so with the assurance that I looked like a true Parisienne.
My stay at the Bordeaux River View from Home Away Rentals apartment was provided by HomeAway.co.uk, the UK’s number one holiday rentals site that connects private home owners and property managers with holidaymakers around the world who enjoy the space, freedom and value of a private holiday home over a hotel. However, the receipt and acceptance of complimentary items or services will never influence the content, topics, or posts in this blog. I write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 thoughts on “Lazy Days in a HomeAway Holiday Rental Apartment in Bordeaux, France”
Great article! We will be linking to this particularly great
article on our website. Keep up the great writing.
Looks like an awesome apartment! We love apartment stays, great way to travel. As far as your wardrobe, I can totally relate. I’m not a dressing up, fancy, trendy person at all. Most of the time I assume I look like a tourist no matter what, so I just don’t worry about it and dress for my own comfort, maybe a little more conservative in certain locations.
Ali, this was the best vacation rental apartment I ever stayed in, and HomeAway.co.uk was wonderful to work with. I hear you on the wardrobe, but my wrinkled khakis and dusty hiking boots got to the point where I was embarrassed. At least now I have some decent traveling clothes that don’t make me look like a bum.
Good summary – that is exactly how my wife and I felt when we stayed in Bordeaux. The city is like a miniature Paris but even more classy. Even the tram looks good. Every morning as we sat in a café across the Grand Theathre, we would comment on how elegant the French women looked.
Hi Eduardo: I LOVE your description of Bordeaux as a miniature Paris! It really is. I left there dressed much more smartly than I arrived, but I can never hope to look as good as all those fashionable French women.
Very comfortable way to spend time in one of my favourite regions in the world.
I can understand why you like it Mark. Someone else commented that Bordeaux is like a mini Paris. It certainly is!
That, m’lady, is a REALLY AWESOME APARTMENT.
Absolutely, Erica – best one I ever stayed in.
Barb, when I travel to Paris I always bring a lightweight pair of black dress pants, black ballet flats (comfortble enough for an evening walk), a pretty sweater (cardigan style to dress up a plain tee shirt) and a scarf or two. It doesn’t take up much room in my small suitcase and it’s dressy enough for most restaurants…
Hi Lyn: I think that’s going to have to be my plan from now on.
Looks fantastic. Much better than the apartment I stayed in a couple years ago when visiting. It’s a great city.
Bordeaux is absolutely lovely, Reg. Next time I’d like to wander the surrounding countryside as well.
The room looks awesome!
It was Jam! Definitely the nicest holiday rental apartment I’ve ever stayed in.
I spent happy summers in Bordeaux on a student exchange with a family – perhaps it’s time to go back and revisit my youth
It’s a gorgeous part of France, Heather. And there’s a gourmet cheese shop there that’s to die for -I’m writing about that next.
What lovely photos of a great city. Thanks for the rental website, will check it out when I am ready to visit next year.
You’re welcome, Jim. If you can rent the same apartment, you won’t be sorry. It was fantastic.
Now we would love to see a picture of your new look!
Hi Wendy. Unfortunately, I’m a little camera shy. But you’re not the only person who has said they’d like to see more photos of me on the blog. I’ll have to work on that.