Gare Montparnasse

Gare Montparnasse

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Paris has six major railway stations covering access to the rest of Europe.  Gare Montparnasse handles traffic to and from west and southwest France and on into Spain and Portugal. 

It's 10:25am by the station clock so we have 20 minutes to be on board train 8417 departing for Boreaux at 10:45.  Don't even think about being late.  When they say "10:45" they mean that at 10:44:58 the doors close and at 10:45:00 the wheels roll. 

It's a three hour trip to Bordeaux.  Along the way we will discover that the nice French lady sitting across from us has a little secret: her dog is under the seat.  The dog is no problem; almost without exception French pets are well-behaved and used to travelling with strangers. 

This trip also illustrates for us the danger of failing to make reservations.  When we entered the train a young man was sitting in the vestibule with his backpack.  He has a ticket for the train, but not a seat reservation, so he has to sit where he can find a flat spot.  At the first stop, forty minutes downrange, several people get off and the young man takes one of the empty seats.  Within moments he is evicted when the person for whom the seat has been reserved shows up -- and back he goes to the vestibule.  This scene is repeated twice more during the trip until finally at Libourne the lady with the dog leaves and the young man gets a comfortable seat -- for the remaining 25 minutes of the trip. 

In Bordeaux we picked up our car at Hertz, checked in to our hotel and headed out for dinner and sightseeing.  Within Bordeaux itself there isn't much in the way of "things to see"; at least we didn't find much of interest.  We did find a very nice restaurant, nice enough that we wrote its name so that we could recommend it:
14 Place du Parlement