Having family and friends that have played for or supported Gloucester Rugby Club, we were excited to find out that Union Bordeaux Bègles Rugby were hosting them in an Amlin Challenge Cup European fixture, so we decided to meet up with family from home and attend the match.
It also gave us the opportunity to spend more time in a city that where have only before spent time in transit at the airport or the station. It’s about a three hour train journey to Bordeaux from us or a two hour drive. Its airport also has great connections within Europe and further afield. Outside of Bergerac or Brive it is the next most convenient airport for visitors to the Dordogne.
Bordeaux’s centre is very pretty with grand squares such as the Place de la Bourse close to Pont de Pierre, and we stayed a few kilometres South of there near the Gare de St Jean. It was then a pretty, leisurely walk along the left bank of the river towards the city centre.
We spent some time enjoying the shopping and also over a couple of days had some very good meals in a few of the many restaurants you can find on the main streets or down the side alleys. There was a great atmosphere in the evenings in the city and we found some very good bars ranging from the quaint and cosy Cafe Brun (with live music) through to ‘Le Frog et Rosbif’ where unsurprisingly we bumped into many Gloucester supporters.
The UBB Rugby Stadium was conveniently located a few minutes walk from one of Bordeaux’s efficient tram services (note: there is also a City Cycle scheme with cycle stations all over). The club had a very welcoming atmosphere, Gloucester came out eventual winners and we enjoyed chatting and enjoying a beer with Bordeaux fans and Cherry and Whites alike until the last tram took us back to the hotel!
We look forward to revisiting Bordeaux and exploring more of the city and its bars and restaurants, and it is worth spending an extra night or two if you are travelling through it to enjoy one of France’s largest cities.