The last weekend of September and Bordeaux is warm, sunny, its people out in force to savour the last dregs of the summer. The town has a lively buzz, particularly at night. Step outside around 10:30pm, and things are yet to hit full swing- you will see entire families of three generations out taking the air. Ask for a glass of wine at half past midnight and the waitress will snort “Zis eez a restaurant!”, at which point you’ll realise that the patrons around you are indeed tucking into their evening meal. Until around noon, on the other hand, the city is as quiet, fragile and sheepish as Lisbon on a Sunday morning. As you pick your way through the town centre, its narrow alleys are regularly interrupted by wide boulevards, lined by imposing buildings with big windows and corbels holding up wrought-iron balconies. The crumbling stone is a warm honeycomb yellow, carved in a florid baroque style and decorated with gurning faces in the keystones. What had been sold to me as the most English of French cities feels more like Sicily; this is no Eurostar jaunt to a rainy city that gets dark at 4pm, it feels entirely Southern European and it’s a pleasure to be here.