1 – WHERE DID YOU GO?
This trip I wanted to stay in smaller towns that I hadn’t been to before and this included:
- St Malo
- Paris (for an overnight transit)
- St Emilion
2- WHO WITH AND HOW LONG FOR?
I went with an old travel friend of mine who loves to explore just as much as I do. In total it was only a two week trip this time, but even those two weeks was enough to reignite the dormant travel-bug!
3- WHO DID YOU FLY WITH AND HOW WERE THEY?
Anyone who knows me knows I am a Singapore Airlines fan through and through. This time though I ventured outside my comfort zone and flew with Qatar Airways as I have always heard such good reviews. I was not disappointed; they were excellent! The level of comfort, service, meals, entertainment, etc was terrific (yes, even the airplane food got the tick of approval!). Also the little added extra amenities in the pack was a nice touch and these included a spare mask, gloves, santizer gel and a little lip balm which came in handy after 24 hours of wearing a mask! I am sure other airlines would be offering something similar, but these thoughtful little additions were very much appreciated in these Covid times!
4- WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT?
Definitely Bordeaux, I absolutely loved this city! I have wanted to visit here for a long time and it was even better than expected. The old part of town is really quite large and as you wander through there seemed to be little pockets of local neighbourhoods with their own cafes and churches and cute little stores. The main street of Rue Sainte Catherine was ALWAYS busy but somehow it never felt rushed. There were very few vehicles in the old town too so you really could wander to hearts content. On the weekend we walked along the riverfront and there was a nice market there and plenty of places for lunch (or in my case – ice cream!). One of the locals in a café picked up that we were tourists and was so excited to see us again they made a point of coming up to say “welcome”, something I doubt would have happened pre-Covid.
5 – WHAT WAS THE LOWLIGHT?
Probably the lowlight would be that although there were tourists around, it seemed somehow a little trickier than previous trips. I usually book a walking tour in the cities I visit to brush up on the local history and get my bearings but it seemed that many of the English speaking tours had been cancelled at the moment. I did book one tour in Bordeaux however due to a lack of numbers it was cancelled an hour prior to departure. I did go in February so perhaps this will change as they come into the peak Summer months again but I would strongly recommend to pre-book any of your English speaking tours to ensure you get the most out of your trip.
6 – BEST THING YOU ATE?
There is a Patisserie in Lille called Pâtisserie Méert which has been open since 1677. The little shop itself is so cute and even in February there was a queue but it was well worth the wait! They have all sorts of treats and the little cakes in the display cabinet are works of art. But the reason I loved it most of all was their famous waffles. As the Meert website puts it:
“The Waffle – A mythical delicacy
Iconic delicacy of the House since 1849, the Méert waffle, a brioche pastry filled with a vanilla paste from Madagascar, will transport you with delight to the land of sweet delicacies.”
7 – WHERE WOULD YOU GO BACK TO?
I would definitely go back to Bordeaux again, it is now one of my favourite French cities (along with Aix en Provence).
8 – TRAVELLING TIP POST HOLIDAY?
Try to pre-plan and pre-book whatever you would like to see and do in advance, English speaking tours may be limited until tourism really picks up again.
Write out a little timeline for any pre-travel requirements with dates and times as needed (for example, pre-departure testing, any apps you may need to download, forms you may need to complete, etc). This really helped me as all the Covid requirements seemed quite daunting until I had my little checklist in place.
Take paper copies with you. I know this seems rather “old school” but having a spare hardcopy of my International Vaccination Certificate helped when converting it over to the EU Certificate, and I also needed a hard copy of the booking form for my pre-flight test to return home. Hopefully all these testing and vaccination certificates will fade away over time, but for now I suggest taking at least one hard copy with you if you can.