Europe 2022 – Bordeaux

Blog Post 12-11-22

June 14

Breakfast the next morning was as good as we anticipated with fresh baguettes and croissants upon which to spread different flavors of that house made jam, fresh goat cheese, local pork Rillettes, fruit salad, yogurts and more.  As we were beginning to come to appreciate, it was well worth the 10-Euro charge per person. 

We checked out and walked a little less than a kilometer (roughly half a mile) to Gare Chinon where we arrived in time to catch our train for St. Pierre des Corps where we had a half hour layover before boarding our high-speed TGV coach to Bordeaux.  We needed seat reservations at a cost of 24-Euros ($26.40) for this leg which did make it much easier to store luggage and find your resting place for the journey.

We arrived in Bordeaux midafternoon and then spent a frustrating 30 minutes or so (it seemed much longer) in the hot sun trying to find our way to the Meininger Hotel Bordeaux Gare Saint-Jean, which in reality was a short 700 meters (half mile) away.  We finally figured it out though with the help of our phone’s GPS (thank you T-Mobile) and arrived hot and sweaty at the hotel to discover we were there too early to check in.  The very friendly and helpful front desk manager let us store our bags and after downing a Coke Zero from the vending machine, we went out for a short walk around in the neighborhood. 

We started off towards the Garonne River which flows through the heart of town, stopping briefly to admire La Meca, the city’s cultural center.  Opened in 2019, after 30 months of work, it sits on the site of the former slaughterhouses of Bordeaux and hosts several cultural agencies of the New Aquitaine region.  It is home to 13,000 square feet of temporary exhibition rooms, a 90-seat auditorium, an 80-seat cinema, two production offices, a project incubation space, an annual program of film screenings and an annual program of professional meetings.  

La Meca

We soon located a nearby market and picked up a few supplies and then returned to the Meininger, checked in and hit our room, which was modern and nicely appointed, reminding us a bit of our stay at a Ibis Budget ( lodging in Geneva in 2014.  Our room here featured a nice queen-sized bed along with a bunk bed, just the thing for a family traveling together. 

The hotel itself had a spacious bar with reasonably priced drinks (also a nice happy hour) and some food for sale.  One of the features of the room we found interesting and had seen it before in other European hotels was the use of a control device in each room where one needed to insert their room key card into a holder on the wall near the door to operate the electrical functions (lights, heat and cool, etc.) of the room, all in the name of energy conservation. 

Unpacked, we repaired to the bar for some refreshments, a couple of cold beers for me and a wine spritzer for Joanna and relished being in a nice place for the incredible rate of 72.5-Euros a night ($79) with good Wi-Fi and nice amenities.  Thoroughly hydrated we decided to head out for dinner and having noted that a Vapiano was located a block or so away on the river, figured we’d give it a go.  We’ve enjoyed this chain in the past, not only in Charlotte, but also when on the road, as we did in 2014 in Berlin (

For those not familiar with this chain, it is a German restaurant franchise company headquartered in Cologne that offers fast-casual Italian food.  During our past visits, upon arrival at the cashier’s station you were handed a charge card and used it at the many stations available to choose from, such as pizza, pasta, salad, dessert and of course, at the bar.  Here we instead ordered from a menu but found the options to be adequate for our purposes. 


Curiously, I don’t find this branch of the chain listed at the Vapiano web site.  We did enjoy the visit none-the-less, tolerating through no fault of their own how uncomfortably hot it was, a manifestation of the warmer than normal weather and the fact that much of Europe doesn’t have indoor air conditioning.  After ordering drinks, a glass of wine apiece, we started with a salad croquante (small salad), followed by a Bruschetta Scampi, and finishing with the Carbonara. 

It was all fresh and tasty and we left after paying our tab of 39.20-Euros ($41.20) eager to return to the Meininger for its refreshing air-conditioned environment.  The next morning, we hit the large breakfast room for what turned out to the be the most spectacular breakfast of the entire trip for the quite reasonable sum of 9.90-Euros apiece.  There was so much here to enjoy that it was hard to keep track of what one was consuming. 

As we gorged on the available selections (meat, cheese, cereal, yoghurt, many kinds of breads and rolls, etc.) we decided to do what we’d seen others do which is to build a couple of sandwiches to take with us on the train to Montpellier, something we should have been doing for the last few stops.  It’s probably a commonplace practice but one we didn’t think of utilizing until then.  And it would pay off for us as we would be traveling on a nonstop train with limited food options as we headed for our much anticipated reunion with our good friend, Francois. 


Meininger Hotel Bordeaux Gare Saint-Jean:

La Meca:


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