Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2068: Going for the Gold in France. Part 3: Dawdling in the Dordogne
By Roz from California, Summer 2013
Page 11 of 12: July 1 - 2, 2013: Bordeaux - Boston - Napa
Plensa sculpture on a street of "Soldes"
Weather lovely in Bordeaux, becoming quite warm. Summer arrived just as we departed, and followed us home to Napa with a vengeance!
Our Bordeaux hotel was quite near the main shopping street, which is the longest pedestrian mall in Europe (3 km). Almost every window bore signs proclaiming "Soldes" (Sales). This is the first time we've been in France during one of the sale seasons, as regulated by the government. Official sales are five-week periods only twice a year -- the winter sales starting in January and the summer ones at the end of June.
We weren't really in shopping mode, but discovered by chance how much you can save on these sales. On Monday morning we bought a scarf in Galeries Lafayette. It was marked 20% off its original price of €13, but when I took it to the caisse, the clerk went to a book, looked it up, and eventually charged me only €5. In typical French fashion, nothing we saw had indicated that further markdowns would be taken off the sale price. One of those things that "il faut savoir." (See Part 2 of this report for more on that expression.)
We had ordered a cab to pick us up at the hotel to take us to the airport for our 3:30pm flight from Bordeaux to Paris. The cab driver was a nice guy who seemed eager to practice his English, and we enjoyed chatting with him.
At CDG we boarded the plane to Boston. Since we had started this trip with a few days visiting old friends in the Boston area, we booked our round trip to and from there. It made for a much more restful trip than a single very long flight from SFO.
The Air France return flight was much better than the one coming over. The food was at least acceptable (probably because it had been prepared in France), and the seats were better, although they did kill my back. The premium economy seats give you more legroom, but I just don't find them very comfortable.
We arrived in Boston right on time, and spent the night at Embassy Suites near Logan. The hotel was fine, with a good-sized room, although it took way too long to get service when we ordered a light meal at the restaurant. They made up for it the next morning with a very lavish free breakfast, even omelets made to order. Our Jet Blue flight to SFO was very good.I find JB's extra-legroom seats a lot more comfortable than the AF variety, for which we paid a much higher premium.
We arrived home in Napa to a heat wave -- we sure wished we'd had a bit more of this heat in France. Still, even though the weather had not been what we anticipated for late June, that was a minor issue among all the great memories we brought home.
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