I had a short layover in Lille on the way to Bordeaux, so I spent an hour exploring the area around the train station.

Wall and canopy inside the station
Interior of Lille Flandres train station

Just outside the main entrance, there is a large statue, entirely bright Yellow. It’s impossible to miss.

A bright yellow bust of a woman with arms folded
The Lille Flandres station sign

While most of the buildings were quite modern, there were a few I found that were much older than the rest.

Saint Maurice Catholic Church
The towers and huge stained-glass windows are stunning.

I ended up missing my transfer because of train delays… twice. The rail company was reasonable enough to rebook me for free (both times), and even gave me a free upgrade to first class on one of my trains.

First class train seats
More legroom: more better

Overall, I ended up arriving earlier than expected, because my itinerary was moved to high-speed routes. Honestly not worth all that stress to arrive 2 hours earlier.

On my first day, I walked around downtown Bordeaux, just exploring. First I encountered a covered market, where I bought some fresh bread and produce for my lunch.

The main entrance to the Capucins Market
In addition to fresh ingredients, there were also a few restaurants

Afterwards, I took some time to admire the stunning architecture and monuments.

An archway over a narrow street
Porte de la Monnaie
The Bascillica steeple towering over the rooftops
Saint Michel's Basilica
An ornate fountain in the center of downtown Bordeaux
Monument aux Girondins

On the second day, I visited the botanical gardens. It was a very relaxing walk.

A sandy diorama filled with shrubs and short grasses
There were some dioramas of other biomes
A small songbird bathing in an artificial pond
A single purple flower
Most of the flowers weren't blooming at the time, but I saw some
A frog chilling on a bench
A hedge and some small trees bordering a stone wall
In addition to the wilder areas, there were also neatly kept displays in the garden.

I also visited two exhibits, the first being the Submarine Base. It has been converted into a multimedia extravaganza, with every wall covered in projected images and animations to music. It’s difficult to describe how stunning the experience is.

A set of heavy steel doors, at least 8 meters high
The main entrance to the Submarine Base

I stayed in the Base for at least two hours, there are multiple rooms, each with multiple sequences.

A projection of a submarine entering the base
A painting of sailboats on a sandy beach, projected onto the walls

Lastly, I visited the Cite du Vin, an interactive exhibit on the science, culture and history of wine.

The Cite du Vin building
Interactive demonstrations to explain the smell and texture of wine

For my entire visit to Bordeaux, I was staying with a local resident. He was an excellent host, kind enough to open his home to me. We cooked some meals together, and on my last night we went to the fair that was in town.

Me going down the drop of a fair ride
Down down DOWN