Guys! My husband won a competition* and is getting sent to the finals in Bordeaux, France at the end of November! We JUST found out. I’m coming along, and we decided to spend a whole week over there. He has 3 days of scheduled activities that I can’t/don’t want to participate in, and he wants to spend most of the rest of the week in Bordeaux, which sounds good to me.
Since I have to fly separately, and can’t stay with him, I’m going to fly into Paris and dick around somewhere in France for a few days while he does thing, and then go meet him in Bordeaux. I want to spend that time in some smaller towns in between Paris and Bordeaux.
I’m thinking: first Orleans (apparently about an hour train ride from Paris). Then I am thinking to head to La Rochelle, and then finally Bordeaux. I would rather go down to Bayonne but that’s a much, much longer journey and I am trying hard not to waste too much time doing that (like, an 8.5 hour journey vs. <4 to La Rochelle).
Unfortunately, most wineries will be closed at that point for harvest, so the typical wine tour stuff may be out of the question.
Things I want info/ideas about:
- Any tips for traveling solo as a woman in Europe (bonus points for France, specifically)? I am not doing hostels and probably going to stay mostly out of nightlife for this reason (which is fine with me).
- Anyone who knows the area want to comment on my itinerary?
- Anyone been to Bordeaux? What did you like about it? How long should we stay there?
- I haven’t actually used trains in Europe since 2006. I remember you could just kind of show up and get on the train. I plan on buying all tickets ahead of time online, but has anything else changed (so I take into account when I schedule)?
- I know a bit of French but want to freshen up. Good news: I have a long commute everyday where I can listen and practice. Anyone got some advice for audio French-learnin’? Cheap would be AWESOME....
- I want to buy a fairly decent gift for my friend who will be keeping my two dogs. I am thinking a nice bottle of wine - can/should I take that back on the plane with me? Any other ideas?
*I think it might doxx us if I give more details about this, haha. Sorry folks!