Sud-Ouest France avec Zhu Ru

A trip spawned by my purchase of a vintage petanque set.  Really it was just an excuse to go to the south of france, which everyone says you need to do anyway.  first time going somewhere else in france besides paris.  we went to bordeaux, pau, a tiny tiny town called lahitte-toupiere, and biarritz

on the TGV on the way to bordeaux the clouds were so super low, like as low as a three story building.  weird cuz i don't think the elevation is that high there.  i couldnt get a pic to illustrate how low they were.

the tram in bordeaux

spooky section of bordeaux showing its super oldschoolness.

off of the gare st jean train station is the ugliest building i've see in france that looks like its made out of guard rails.

the only chateau (winery) that we made it to in bordeaux due to car rental problems.  this one is called Chateau Ambe Tour Pourret.  it's in the Saint-Emilion region.

this is what we ended up with.  in france most of the cars are manual and we tried many different car rental places and they either had only manual cars or they were too expensive.  after all these shenanigans it was getting late in the day and zhu ru said that she can drive manual but it's been a while.  i can't drive stick so we ended up going with that option.  we ended up stalling out at every traffic light, stop sign, toll booth, or other places where a stop was necessary.  we ran as many stop signs and did as many rolling stops as we could so we wouldn't have to stall out.  reversing was also very intersting.  zhu ru got the job done in the end but lets just say that i regret not getting an automatic transmission car even if it cost a lot more.

i guess that's the tower pourret

after the chateau we drove for 3 hours down to Pau.  We stayed with Valentin, the friend of the drummer we met a few nights before in paris.  he was such a nice guy. 

some basque dessert

pau is a small town and we met up with some of valentin's friends and did what you do in any small town, drive around from bar to bar and try to avoid the cops that have nothing better to do but drive back and forth on the bar streets.

this guy was awesome.  flip up shades at lunch

and out of it 100 yard stare eyes.

omg who is that for.  maybe the waitstaff?  i wish it was for us.  we ate at Le Berry which was delicious and recommended by our friends in Pau and now recommended by me.  Pau has the Boulevard Pyrennes where you can see the pyrennes but it was rainy and cloudy so we couldn't see much.  

the excuse for going south was to pick up this vintage petanque set i bought on etsy when i first got to paris.  it turned out that the seller lived in the south of france an hr from Pau.  the shipping was like 40 euros cuz there are 8 metal balls in a box so its heavy.  i proposed that i come pick them up and explore the south of france and she said she liked my adventurous spirit and invited me and zhu ru to dinner at their house.  well here we are, we finally made it after driving through corn fields and up mountains, all with the e-brake on for an hour.  seriously.

Christine is from Scottland and her husband is from Britain.  they bought this house a year ago and have been renovating it into a bed and breakfast.  Its a sweet house with a sweet back yard corridor.  the upstairs bedrooms have a view out over the land and a view of the Pyrennes.  Christine restores and sells vintage french stuff and restores furniture too.  she has one out of the 5 barns that they now own filled with furniture.  Check out her etsy shop with vintage french stuff, including a lot of enamel stuff and clocks and coffee grinders!

my new old boules.

projects.  Christine lives in Lahitte-Toupière, even people in Pau didn't know where it was.  It was just some scattered houses.

love their mid century stove

love this lamp.

on the way to Biarritz to see the atlantic ocean.

only it was gloomy and sprinkly

we left Biarritz on time but ended up missing our train in Bordeaux back to Paris.  we also had to fill up on gas on the way there.  we were close to bordeaux, the clock was ticking until our train departed.  first the lady came out to tell us their credit card machine doesnt work, which sucked cuz we had almost no cash and had to pay a 24 euro toll on the way.  then when we filled up and i rushed in to pay i get to the counter and there was a sign that said "pardon me but i'm off having a snack".  yes it said the word "snack".  it was both hilarious and maddening at the same time.  oh france.  well we got to bordeaux dropped off the car and missed out train by 2 minutes.  then we got a hotel by the station and somehow slept through 2 iphone alarms and missed our 7 am train and had to buy all new tickets back to Paris.  oh france.

oysters back in paris since we didn't have time to eat any in Biarritz by the ocean.  So long Zhu Ru!