Friday, January 27, 2017

Bordeaux Rooflines

Every now and then I get a jones for a little more action than the small village of Bourdeilles (“bor-day”) has to offer and I’ll head over to the big city of Bordeaux (“bor-doe”).

How quickly the scenery changes from rolling farm fields, to flat vineyards, then abruptly to a city skyline in the sort-of short two-hour drive to Bordeaux.
My toots to Bordeaux are intermixed with shopping, people watching at cafes, and wandering. 

It’s hard to say which is more alluring, the beautiful shop windows or the city folks dressed up to the nines. Trying to blend in, I’ve dressed my best, but somehow I still manage to feel like the country cousin from the sticks. Maybe it’s my practical, all-weather foot wear that gives me away.

For the first part of the day I’ll leisurely wander around window shopping. I love the french expression for this: “faire du leche-vitrine” which translates to “lick the shop windows”. After awhile my tongue is dried up and my feet are quietly saying “give us a break”.  Selecting a cozy cafe I’ll take a pause to recharge. But it’s only so long that I can sit in the cafe watching the beautiful people passing by. Soon I start getting ideas that maybe instead of just licking the windows I better go back out and cross a few thresholds. These beautiful people are sporting a new fashion statement that I wouldn’t mind copying. The problem is that because I am in ever-so-elegant Bordeaux, this must have will surely break the bank and will make me look like a city slicker back in Bourdeilles.
 So before heading back out on the streets I place my wallet in one pocket and my camera in the other. Sort of like a cowboy with her double holster. I’ve proven to have a pretty quick draw with the wallet so I keep it on my left side to slow down my action. My camera, loaded and ready, is in the right pocket. 

Time now for some aimless wandering. I am lured to turn left or right by glimpses of architectural elements. I’ve said the big city of Bordeaux, but actually it isn’t all that big. Population 250,000. The city center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of the 18th century. Paris might be bigger and grander, but Bordeaux comes in second for the highest number of preserved historical buildings in any city in France.

Today the low angle of the winter sun highlights the mixed architectural elements of the city’s rooflines. It seems extravagant that so much time and money was put into elaborate details almost out of sight and often in shadow.

I love how passersby stop to see what I am taking a photo of. Their gaze follows the angle of my camera to see what the heck I could have spied.  I’m glad I give them a reason to pause and  observe the art show passing above our heads.

The city’s rooflines are a mix of plain and elaborate. Some rooflines are proof of a clearly rich builder. Other rooflines were clearly built by folks whose means were modest, but whose ambitions were grand. I want to see them all. 

My feet may be tired, but maybe even worse is the crook in my neck. I wander the city for hours, or until my feet and legs can go no further. Even my country walking shoes are no match for the miles covered on hard pavement. However I pass up a ride on the city bus. I want to continue to pursue the beauties of Bordeaux between the city center and the apartment where I am staying. It would kill me to be on the bus and see some beautiful facade pass by in the blink of an eye. Better to suffer tired and weary feet than fall to frustrated curiosity. Now is the time to soak it all in before heading back to where I belong, the small village of the country cousin with ugly shoes.


Anne said...

So enjoyed this post - Bordeaux has become one of our favorite cities in France. We were delightfully surprised, when returning after a ten-year absence, a couple of years ago to see it freshly scrubbed - all those beautiful facades gleaming. Aren't the mascarons interesting too? So many of them in a relatively small area.

Bonnie L said...

Lovely portrait of Bordeaux, Susan! Gotta go. And, I'd be right with you in the comfortable footwear!

Joan L. said...

Joan L. said: I so enjoyed your travelog of Boudeaux! And I enjoy your other entries immensely too. Hope to come to France and visit. It is certainly on my bucket list.