Part 2: Bordeaux, France

As much as I love exploring a new city or spending a drizzly day hidden in a dreamy wine cellar, our visit to the Dune of Pilat was by far my favorite adventure in Bordeaux. There’s just something about eating oysters by the dozen at the sea, with sandy toes and wind swept hair that feels right (says the Maine girl in me!) Add some awesome friends and a glass of crisp white wine, and you have the makings for an idyllic French adventure.On day two in Bordeaux, we were blessed with some beautiful weather. No-jacket, bare-legs kinda weather, which was quite the departure from our previous day in Bordeaux, when we roamed around bundled up like bunnies (do bunnies bundle? I don’t know, but it sounded cute :) To take advantage of the balmy weather, we popped on our flip flops and headed to the seaside for the day.The Dune of Pilat is the biggest sand dune in Europe. Although we saw some mixed reviews online, Kai had been to the dune on a previous Bordeaux-trip, and assured us it was well worth the visit. In fact, when we first started dating, Kai once told me that his favorite day was spent in Bordeaux, playing boules on the beach, drinking white wine in the sun with friends. Man after my own heart! and an adventure we were eager to recreate :) It takes about an hour to get from the heart of Bordeaux to the dune, but the drive was easy and uneventful. By the time we’d finished drinking our coffee and playing a few rounds of never have I ever, we had arrived at the dune. While there is an official entrance with snack shacks, loads of parking, and gift shops, we drove a bit further down the road and chose to enter through a secret hiking path in the woods.This seemed like a great idea until we got to the sandy base of the dune and realized . . . . it was GINORMOUS! We weighed our options, but in the end we wound up hiking back through the woods, past the car, and back to the main entrance where there are stairs and hand rails. Like any natural wonder, exploring the dune should be treated with caution, and the sandy, steep, off the beaten path slopes seemed a little too risky on such an otherwise gorgeous day!So we trekked up the dune with a hundred other tourists at the visitor’s center, which was fine, because the dune was so big, there was ample space for everyone!The views from the top were breathtaking, and we were treated to our first glimpse of the French ocean from the tip of the dune. Totally oblivious to the sand creeping up my dress and into my scalp, I took a 20 minute cat nap in the bright April sun. It was bliss!
By the time we got down from the dune, it was late afternoon, and we were hungry! We drove around to numerous oyster shacks in search of sustenance, but most had closed around 4pm. In France, dinner is typically enjoyed around 8pm, and a lot of restaurants close after lunch for a short break, before the dinner rush begins. It was also April which didn’t really help our cause, as our visit was during the off-season. Sad face. After a bit of hunting, we finally found an open seafood shack perched right on the harbor.Lé Fé Bassin’s sunny terrace and quick service were a godsend when our hanger was just starting to get the best of us! You can’t beat a dozen fresh oysters for €8. I don’t know how we stumbled upon this gem, but their oysters were delicious and we each helped ourselves to a heaping platter, along with a few snails for good luck (from this photo, can you guess which friend doesn’t like seafood?!)Between the five of us, we shared three bottles of white wine, which is what you do when you’re perfectly situated in the sun by the ocean with oysters, right?! Fast forward two hours and we were tipsy and stuffed! Thankfully, Kai had offered to be our designated driver for the day, and so the car ride back to Bordeaux was smooth and filled with laughs. I can easily see why this place is the backdrop of one of Kai’s favorite memories. The sunshine around Bordeaux is surprisingly warm for April, the oysters and wine are inexpensive and scrumptious, and there are so many charming seaside gems to be discovered! While I can’t wait to share my final Bordeaux installment with you, I also can’t help but look back at these photos from the sea and think, that truly was the best day!

x Ali

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