It struck me this week after finishing Le Grand Meaulnes, how similar the book is to another great novel I read three years ago when I first arrived in Lyon. The Great Gatsby.
I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic six times over that winter before finally trekking down to a bookshop one Saturday afternoon to unearth more of his books. I liked his writing, his style, his precision and wanted to read more. Continue reading “189 – Le Grand Meaulnes: Review”
After eight weeks here, the honeymoon period between me and the city is coming to an end.
I woke up this morning in a cloud. A freezing cold cloud that hid everything except the headlights of the 40 foot long bendy buses that roar along my street.
It’s winter now. And the city is not my friend any longer. Dank, dreary, depressing Bordeaux. Continue reading “188 – This isn’t Queaux. This is South Bordeaux, innit!”
Le Grand Meaulnes is a novel written by Alain Fournier and published in 1913.
It’s been on the living room table for months now, staring at me like the porcelain geese on the mantelpiece do when I’m trying to write something important.
I picked it up a few weeks ago. But put it down again when I read on the back cover that the author had been killed in action in 1914 and that this was his only novel. I simply couldn’t bring myself to read it. Continue reading “187 – Le Grand Meaulnes”
On Friday morning I had an interview at a business park that looked like a disused moon base. A shipment of white tiles, mirrors and concrete dumped there at some point in the 1980s and then forgotten about. Left to grow and evolve into the bland assortment of office blocks and budget hotels that is now west Bordeaux. A post-industrial form of natural selection that would work well in a JG Ballard novel I suspect. Continue reading “186 – Buffalo Grill”
Sitting outside a café this morning sipping an espresso, I wished I still smoked. The figure of a James Dean look-a-like opposite me smoking a Gauloises, reading a book and sipping an early morning brandy almost got me rushing to the Tabac next door.
I resisted. My lungs were wheezing anyway from my first cold in years. The last thing I need was a fag. Continue reading “185 – Weather Update (revised), James Dean and Gauloises Cigarettes.”
‘I can’t believe it rains in Bordeaux.’
These were the words I said to the baker on Sunday morning as I handed him two Euros for my loaf of sourdough.
‘It rains more here than in England,’ he replied.
‘C’est pas possible!’ I said pointing my loaf at him like it was a snubnosed machine gun. ‘I was told the sun shines all year round here. Like in the Costa Del Sol.’
‘Par un idiot!’ He waved his arms fiercely in the air. ‘In winter it rains here like it rains grapes at harvest time.’ Continue reading “184 – Weather Update (Bordeaux)”
A light hearted take on Bordeaux for a greasy November Saturday afternoon.
1) Gare St Jean
There are various explanations for this sign. None of which are very convincing. Any ideas, please leave a comment.
- Don’t walk on a triangle if the angles don’t add up to 180.
- Don’t use a springboard inside in a tent when there’s an air raid on.
- Beware! Pedestrians are liable to be catapulted into space at any time.
- You are not allowed to be lifted up by a drawbridge when the siren goes off (courtesy Stan Mellema).
- Warning! This road will turn into a steep hill when the siren sounds.
Continue reading “183 – Bizarre Signs of Bordeaux: Part 1”
I love to run because it makes me feel better. Keeps the wolf from the door as it were. Wolves in the form of Demons that tell me I’ve ballsed up my life and should change course immediately. Get a job in an office. Get my own parking space. Buy a 3D-TV. You might be familiar with them? (Demons not 3D-TVs.) Continue reading “182 – Running in Bordeaux”
I woke up this morning on a bench in the Jardin Public looking into the eyes of Nicholas Sarkozy. I’ll explain.
Yesterday afternoon I went to the park to read my book – A Hundred Easy Steps to a Better Memory – only to realise a minute after sitting down on my favourite bench near the duck pond that I’d left it on the sitting room table. Continue reading “181 – La Boite à Lire”
If you’re caught short sightseeing in Bordeaux, the shopping centre at Mériadeck is the place to go. Clean, warm, friendly toilets with an attendant on hand to pass you lavender scented towels as you leave.
Redeveloped in the mid-sixties, Mériadeck is the quartier d’affaires (business district) of Bordeaux. A world away from the neoclassical-baroque-Roman architecture of the city, but still strangely pleasant. Continue reading “180 – Mériadeck”
I’m about to destroy the myth about French coffee. But before I do, I’d like to make a statement.
‘I love France. They do things better here than in a lot of countries, including my own. From campsites, to employment laws, to healthcare, to public transport, to food, to wine, to films, to beaches, to mountains. It’s a joy to live here and if I was French, I’d be proud of my country.’
Except for one thing. Continue reading “179 – French Coffee”
The Palais Gallien Amphitheatre half a stride away from the Jardin Public is one of the oldest looking things I’ve ever seen. A two thousand year old crumbling ruin built from what looks like broken biscuits stuck together with chewing gum, it’s no wonder the Bordelais call it le vestige – the relic. Continue reading “178 – The Palais Gallien Amphitheatre”