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Story time: Bordeaux, when everything went wrong

Basilique Saint Michel by M.Strīķis [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

We believe that traveling is always wonderful, relaxing, enjoyable and we secretly envy those people who travel much (I was one of them, I must admit it). But the truth is that sometimes we have bad experiences while traveling. In another post, I will write about all the things I don’t like when I travel, but this time, I’ll tell you about a particular experience. When I traveled to Bordeaux, France.

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Traveling to Bordeaux from Amboise

While we were in Amboise, we booked a cheap hotel in Bordeaux, it was about 35 euro a double room per night. I was eager to visit Bordeaux, I had heard nice things from that area… the vineyards and gothic buildings, you know. So we took the train which took about 3 hours. I had read online that the area around Gare St. Jean in Bordeaux is not so nice, but I think is something typical of bus and train stations.

Check about my experience in Amboise here: What to see in Amboise, France

train station bordeaux St Jean By Jean-Louis Lascoux (l'auteur) [GFDL (
Gare de Bordeaux By Jean-Louis Lascoux (l’auteur) [GFDL ( via Wikimedia Commons

Our adventure began when we tried to find the way to our hotel, we really didn’t pay attention that it was so far from the station and from the center. We took a bus, we asked the driver about the address we were seeking, he said he would tell us where to come down. He didn’t speak much English and my French was non-existent. The ride on the bus was long, so the hotel was very far.

First night in Bordeaux, a bad hotel choice.

When we got off the bus we realized that we were not so near and that we had to walk (actually we were lost). We walked and walked, I don’t know for how long but it was getting dark. We finally found the hotel and we discovered it was a hotel for trailer and truck drivers (mostly). Overmore, all the rooms entrances faced the exterior. It was located near the main road (so quite noisy) and our door didn’t close properly.

The room was small and not very clean, the bathroom was the size of a plane’s restroom and it had a bad smell. When passing to our room, some men had their shoes on the corridor. We went to the front desk to tell about the door to the receptionist who came and tried to fix it but she couldn’t. She didn’t change our room either (she was polite though).

The hotel is called Première Classe Bordeaux Le Lac and I think it belongs to a chain. If anyone has stayed in this chain with satisfactory results let me know in the comments. Anyway, I was exhausted so I did sleep a little, but we had the intention to find another hotel the next day

Place de la Bourse Bordeaux story time
Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux

Trying to find another hotel

The next day we left, disappointed and tired (but of course, what we could expect for 35 euros in France?). We went to the Gare St. Jean area again to find the tourist office. The girl in the office kindly helped us to book a hotel. We went to that hotel near there but when we arrived they told us they didn’t have any room available. What?! We had just called! we told them so and they said it was a mistake of someone who was doing a practice there. I am not sure what was that… I’ll not make any guess…

Anyway, we had to come back to bother that girl in the tourist office, we were desperate. The poor girl even closed the doors so she can help us exclusively, she was not very happy with what happened at the previous hotel either.  Finally, she found us another hotel for 72 euros so we took that one. Hotel was near too so we walked. The hotel is called Aquitain Hôtel – GareSaint-Jean Bordeaux and the two women at the front desk were very friendly.

I must say that this was my first trip abroad and I had no experience at all outside my country. We made many mistakes, we had lost the charger of our tablet, we had problems with the battery of the camera, our next destination would be Madrid and we hadn’t booked a hotel there yet.

Here you can check my 10 travel tips for your first trip to Europe so you don’t have the same bad experiences than me.

Exploring Bordeaux and doing some shopping.

A little more relaxed we went out to explore a bit of Bordeaux and to seek for a place to rent internet. We needed to book our hotel in Madrid. Maybe it was due to our already bad mood but we saw some streets looked dirty. We did some shopping in a pedestrian street called Rue Sainte-Catherine located behind an arch called Port d’Aquitaine. This street and the streets around have many shops and restaurants including KFC and Burger King.

Port d'aquitaine, rue sainte cathering bordeaux
Port d’Aquitaine By Witte, S. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

But luck was not on our side, we couldn’t find a damn charger! We needed to use the internet, we went to eat something and we asked a boy there if he knew where we could get internet. He tried to explain us, he was kind but I guess he couldn’t find the right words in English and all we understood was Gambetta, which was a street. People in France hardly speak English, even in train stations, it was not easy at all to communicate.

We didn’t find any place to use the internet. But I did some shopping and I tried the french macarons for the first time in my life, I must say, it was love at the first bite.

Buying our ticket to Spain

we went to the Eurolines office to buy a bus ticket to Madrid. The salesperson was incredibly rude from the beginning. She didn’t speak English and I tried to ask some questions with few words in French that I could remember. In the end, we could buy our tickets for the next day but we were upset for the behave of this person. Later I found out that she speaks 4 languages including Spanish which is my native language.

In the night we went to have dinner in a restaurant near the train station. One of the few relaxing moments we had in this city. With all our stress and things to do, we didn’t have time nor mood to visit more places in Bordeaux. We didn’t take any photos as our camera had no battery. I had a phone with internet but it was not very fast and its camera was not so good either.

Tram in Bordeaux France, story time
Tram in Bordeaux

Au revoir Bordeaux!

In short, we didn’t enjoy it at all. We were happy to leave this city the next day. I am not saying that Bordeaux is not a beautiful or nice city to visit, just that my experience was not good. A lot of factors came to these results. Lack of common sense on our part together with our zero experience traveling abroad. And we allowed that the situation made us stressed instead of trying to relax and enjoy.

My point making this post is to tell you an honest story from a bad experience while traveling. And so you can see that traveling is not always marvelous and perfect. We must be prepared for any inconvenient and not to let it spoilt our trip. Now, remembering this experience we laugh and make jokes but at that moment, was not so enjoyable.

what about you? Have you experienced bad situations on your trips? And have you traveled to Bordeaux? Hope your experience has been better than mine. Leave your comments in the section below. And if you enjoyed this post share it on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading and bon voyage!!

Feature image source: M.Strīķis [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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story time. Bordeaux, when everything went wrong. la carte vintage



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The author LaCarteVintage


  1. It seems like something does go wrong whenever you travel (no matter where it is). I had a crazy experience when I got to visit Paris. Either way you have to just roll with the punches, great post.

  2. When everything went wrong? I thought this is my experience in Bordeaux and boy, was I having it so much worse than you. It was September 2012 when I went, I spent there more than 2 years and every day I had some kind of problem like all the universe was against me. Now I am still recovering and I have nightmares. The only ray of light there was a Spanish guy, came with his brother and sister or, they were cousins, I don’t know, that I saw in Auberge de jeunesse near the train station. But with my bad luck that was following me in Bordeaux at every step, they were talking with everybody else but me. They were speaking English quite well. They were keeping an eye on me all the time but never said a word. A few days after they left, because they found a place to live, when I thought we will never see each other again, I met him. I was so happy, wanted to say “Hi” to him but my brother who is living in London and came to Bordeaux to help me find a place to live, was walking next to me and the Spanish boy thought it’s my boyfriend, got furious and started flirting with the girl he was talking to. So the only good thing there also went south and that was it. I am deeply convinced this city is cursed. Or maybe it’s me.

    1. Wow! Sorry that you had such bad experience, maybe it’s a cursed city indeed 😥. Until now is the only city I didn’t enjoy at all. We met some rude people and they hardly spoke english, and we had other bad experiences that made it even less enjoyable. My husband says streets were dirty (he pays much attention to those details), I didn’t notice but I definitely felt lost there. Not saying is not a nice city… among so many problems I couldn’t see anything positive 🤷. Thank you for reading ☺

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