Mike and Yvonne in Bordeaux, France.

How did you find your exchange?

I contacted the other member in search of an exchange.

What attracted you to this exchange opportunity?

We loved the stylish and central home from the images.  Bordeaux is a lovely looking city and the home was centrally located in the old part of town.

How was your arrival at the home?

Communication was very easy with our host. Our host welcomed us at her apartment. She gave us maps, advice and all the info we could have hoped for. She was friendly and helpful. We felt very at home and confident in the exchange.

What did you see or do during your exchange?

For someone who’s not a wine drinker like me, why did I even think of going to Bordeaux?

Well firstly, our hosts home looked just lovely and was in a perfect position right in the heart of the old town. We’d heard that Bordeaux old town is a UNESCO World Heritage city and highly walkable with most of the loveliest areas reachable on foot, so this in itself sounded perfect for a long weekend away.

When we arrived it quickly met our expectations. The characterful alleyways of the city and pretty squares filled with restaurants, cafes or bars and outdoor seating were just so… well utterly French.

We’d heard that Bordeaux could be a little expensive but we didn’t even need to buy any transport tickets as we loved walking around the streets of Bordeaux just to get lost.

We were very lucky that it was sunny and warm while we were there, so picnicking by the river also meant our costs were kept very low. It was also really lovely to cook in our hosts apartment and eat on the balcony. When we did eat out we found there was so much choice to cover every budget, so Bordeaux we decided, especially if using HomeExchange wasn’t expensive at all.

Being a non wine drinker I wasn’t sure how interesting I would find La Cité du Vin. The quirkily designed wine museum, was also somewhat out of town, but as we found it was reachable by a picturesque stroll along the river we took the trip anyway. The area around the museum had a fantastic covered market and the museum building itself was interesting enough without even needing to go inside.

We also discovered a little jazz club in this area, so stayed the evening (and discovered that I liked jazz a lot more than I anticipated). On the way home we passed on the way, The Miroir d’Eau (water mirror), just a couple of centimeters of water giving the perfect combination of reflections. Watching children and dogs paddling in the shallow water, was a joy and when the evening lights came on and were reflected in it, it was really a very romantic spectacle.

So even if your teetotaller - Bordeaux is the perfect French city, with so much more to offer than the obvious. There’s Majestic architecture like the Grand Theatre, the wonderfully imposing building in the main plaza. The longest shopping street in Europe, Rue Sainte-Catherine a 1,250m-long pretty pedestrianized shopping street lined with more than 250 shops. Antique and food markets. Romantic traffic free strolls in quiet alleys or along the wide peaceful Garonne river. Good coffee shops and endless quintessential cafe’s. And it’s all even lovelier at night, with so many twinkly bistro's offering the coziest of atmospheres. All in all Bordeaux has become my favourite French city and if our host will have us we hope to return again someday.

What is your favorite memory from the exchange?

Sitting by our little balcony, digesting our happy day.

How would you describe home exchange to your family and friends?

We'd highly recommend it. It's changed the way we holiday and has opened up experiences that we would otherwise never have had (or afforded).

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