Since most businesses are closed in France on Sunday – with the exception of some restaurants and the gas stations on the tollways – it is a good day to travel. I left Beaune around 11am and made it to Bordeaux exactly in the 6.5 hours that Google Map said it would take. Tolls ended up costing around $30 Euros, but it was worth the fast smooth drive.
On the way out of town, I did have to take some of the smaller roads winding along the Saone River and through many little towns. It was charming, but quite slow as huge packs of bicyclers would hog the road. Once on the toll way, driving was fast – 130km per hour – and the French gas stations are huge, clean, and welcoming with lots of food, coffee, restrooms, and expensive gas. My little diesel car saved me some money on the trip, but it is still about double the price of our gas in the US.
Once in Bordeaux I found my apartment hotel, Cap Affairs, in an ugly industrial setting near the airport. It was not nearly as nice as my other apartment hotel and consisted only of a small studio with kitchen, rather than the 1 bedroom I thought I had reserved. However, there was no opportunity to change as there was no reception – even though I arrive around 5:30pm – and I had to call a number in Paris to get a code to open a lockbox and find my room key. Then when I headed to the grocery store to get milk and eggs for breakfast, I suddenly remembered they weren’t open. Therefore, I was forced to buy dinner at Quick – France’s version of McDonald’s. I got a cheese salad and chicken tenders, which I washed down with some of the excellent Chablis from the previous day, before settling in for the night for my big week in Bordeaux.