Bordeaux à deux-roues - Sébastien R
The sun has just begun to be reflected by the Garonne and it's still cool outside. However, from the Pont de Pierre to the Pont de Jacques (Chaban-Delmas), joggers and cyclists are already out on the quays.
Since Sleeping Beauty – the nickname Bordeaux was somewhat mockingly called until not so long ago – has awakened, she has encouraged motorists to go outside their comfort zone, to avoid slow-moving and polluting automobile traffic, and to go places by bike. And the city has given itself the means to become bicycle friendly.
Crossing the centre of town on a bike is actually fairly natural, even if it calls for being considerably alert and skilful to slalom along the famous pedestrianised rue Saint Catherine going from Place de la Victoire to the Grand Théâtre without having to put your foot down.
Cyclists' biceps will be jolted as they ride along the narrow cobblestone streets in the old part of town. Far from the harshness of the north, a bike ride through Bordeaux is a great treat. One has the impression of going through an open-air museum.
Of course you can take your bike elsewhere than the heart of the city. Wine lovers from all over the world come to visit the famous Bordeaux vineyards, but the wine country is also a great place for cyclists, with its beautiful countryside and prestigious châteaux. You know the saying boire ou conduire, il faut choisir (drink or drive, but not both)... On the other hand, believe me, tasting and cycling are good for your health!
All the cycle paths in the Gironde department go to the ocean – aslong as you're pointed in the right direction! Adventurous cyclists may wish to go along the Gironde estuary, but most visiting cyclists prefer to head southward to the Landes de Gascogne forest, which is never very far from Atlantic beaches.
A good place to end a day cycling is on the quays of Bordeaux. There are always other cyclists and joggers there, and they only leave when the sun sets. It is now high time to have a drink on a café terrace, because the after-work aperitif is a sacred tradition in Bordeaux and most places have happy hours. A votre santé!