From here it was just a short ride to Gare Saint-Jean railway station, one of the four public transport squares to collect on the Bordeaux Monopoly board (solely railway stations in the original editions). On the other side of the railway lines lies the Belcier quarter which is, along with Bassins à Flots, currently the cheapest square on the board (60 Monopoly dollars, or M's). There are run-down, semi-demolished houses, rows of no-frills low-rise échoppes, but also a number of modern office and residential buildings taking shape and heralding the area’s on-going re-birth, which is likely to move up a gear when the very high-speed rail network is complete in 2017. Property here will then be just two hours from central Paris, i.e. almost as accessible as some of the capital city’s distant suburbs!
|Saint-Jean railway station.|
|Deep in the Belcier district.|
|The VCub bike station near Sacré-Coeur and Place Nansouty.|
|Place de la Victoire.|
|Fort du Hâ.|
It was time to leave central Bordeaux behind though and aim for my penultimate stop: the chic district of Caudéran (M300), a town in its own right until 1965 when it became a quartier of Bordeaux. It was noon when I dismounted in front of the church, just as mass came to an end. The doors opened and the square soon filled up with well-dressed well-to-do Caudéranais!
After a short time spent people-watching I set off in the general direction of my final destination, the remaining transport infrastructure square: Bordeaux-Mérignac airport. After sticking to side-streets for much of that final stretch, I had no option other than to join the busy thoroughfare that runs through Mérignac retail park, over the Rocade ring-road and on to the airport zone which, despite welcoming incoming travellers all day long, is a strangely inhospitable environment for cyclists.
Not to worry though because arriving at the airport meant I had made it and, over the course of the morning had “collected” all the properties on the Bordeaux Monopoly board. To achieve this I had spent an imaginary 5,390 Monopoly dollars and, since departing from Le Lac at 8:30, had covered 33 kilometres over just under two hours of actual cycling time. That means I'd also spent a full two hours taking photos, jotting down notes, and posting pictures and captions on Instagram and Twitter!
Above all, the Monopoly trail had proved to be a fantastic way of taking in a wide spectrum of scenery, moods and atmospheres, with architecture ranging from the elegant to the almost derelict. By attempting the circuit on a Sunday morning, I had witnessed the people of Bordeaux waking, rising, coming to life, exercising, going about their activities and preparing for lunch. As I set off on the 13-kilometre course between the airport and my home in Saint-Aubin-de-Médoc, the roads were empty once again. Errands, mass and sporting endeavours were over for the morning and everyone had settled down for lunch. I was running late for mine but the meal tasted particularly sweet that day
|Thanks to the magic of GPS-enabled bike computers, the Bordeaux Monopoly circuit has been instantly mapped out here, from the departure point at Bordeaux-Lac to the arrival point at the airport.|