I want to tell you a little secret about me today. Ever since I was little, I enjoyed exploring places that don’t fall into the ‘top 10 must see’ category. Why? I always found myself needing a peaceful and quiet place to relax, somewhere hidden and private. Also, I am someone who appreciates ‘my time with myself.’ I know that there are people out there who know exactly what I mean. Therefore, after spending a couple of years in Bordeaux, a city full of life and vibrancy – I needed to find what I call ‘breathers’. A place where my introverted mind could recharge. In a city like Bordeaux, where there are hidden spots almost everywhere it wasn’t that hard, to be honest. But today I want to talk about my TOP favourite secret places in Bordeaux (you are welcome my introverted brothers and sisters, you are welcome!)
Parc de Majolan
I will start with one of my favourite places to go when in need of some alone time – Parc de Majolan. I have talked about it before and it is not a coincidence. Here, let me paint you a little picture of this place. It is important in order for you to understand why it is my perfect hideout. First of all, it is huge. And since our objective here is to relax, the absence of distraction in the form of many people is crucial.
The Bordelaise loves its parks. So finding a quiet spot in a place with green grass and trees is not an easy task. But since Parc de Majolan is spread over around 20 hectares it is quite easy to find that sweet spot (by which I mean a ‘people-free’ spot.) I a lot of work and thought has been put into creating this place and it can be seen by the fact that you have a little bit of everything there.
You can enjoy picturesque walks, on beautiful bridges made with wood, and iron in Gothic style or a more natural look. But you can also go off the beaten path and find yourself in a wild, seeming untouched by humans’ areas where you can play your Indiana Jones in the jungle fantasies. Or if you are really into the spirit of exploring – ‘dive’ into the artificial caves.
Museum of Decorative Arts of Bordeaux
Don’t be fooled by the title of this stunning museum. They do have art – of course, and it is decorative – for sure, but the reason why I consider it to be one of my favourite, secret spots to visit in order to relax is the suiting atmosphere that lingers around the building. A product of 18th-century French architecture, it was once built in order to serve as a residence for a rich, parliamentarian family.
In 1887, the house was turned into police barracks and the gardens into a jail. Next, it was made into a museum of ancient art and subsequently into a museum of design and decorative art. If you want to avoid the crowd, which I will highly suggest in order to experience the full potential of this place, go during the week. So why do I love this place you ask? Well, first of all, it doesn’t feel like a museum to me. Whiles, I walk among the rooms, beautifully decorated in old-century furniture it feels like I am in someone’s home.
It’s a bit surreal, to be honest. I love hearing the old, wooden floor creaking and I enjoy imagining how people in the old times used to live. It is like taking a step back in time. You actually see the history that used to be part of this place hundreds of years ago. I love this feeling and if you are a history lover like me I guarantee you it will tickle your fancy, so give it a try.
Palais Gallien Square
A reminisce of Bordeaux’s Roman period, the remains of this amphitheatre have a special feel and a spirit of tranquillity around them. Hidden between the modern building and the ancient ruins, could probably tell hundreds of stories if you are willing to hear them. I don’t know if it is just me, but sometimes when I look at places like that I feel more connected to this world, through the past. But wait. Palais Gallien, by itself for sure is well-known by tourists, so why you ask, am I including it here?
Because when there are no groups of tourists (if you want to visit the actual ruins you need a certified tour guide to enter) there is a little square right above the ruins where you can see the front of the amphitheatre. Surrounded by trees that give a lovely shadow during a hot summer day, you can enjoy the experience of exploring this magical place from the comfort of a bench. Close your eyes and listen to the shouts of the crowds, the sounds of fighting and the echo of history.
Life is all about go-go-go these days. Crowds of people, rushing in the centre of a city like blood through arteries. Yes, it is something that Bordeaux experiences too, as most of the big cities around the world. The busiest street in the town must be Rue Sainte Catherine – a pedestrian stretch of a promenade that is ideal if you need a bit of shopping. But in case you need a little rest, there is a hidden pocket of peace right next to it. Le square Vinet – between rue du Cancéra and rue Vinet. What is special about this space is the 100-meter vertical garden. Enjoy your lunch, while looking at the pure art that is this tableau of many colourful types of vegetation.
I hope you give me secret places in Bordeaux guide a go and let me know if you found those hideouts as beneficial as I did!
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Cover Photo: Bordeaux-Tourisme