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BORDEAUX

Destination Aquitaine: Why Not Choose… Bordeaux?

Often described as the pearl of Aquitaine, the city of Bordeaux is still known as sleeping beauty, because of its peaceful, historical city centre. Yet in recent years, the city has woken up: many buildings have been classified as historical monuments and certain neighbourhoods have even made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. Obviously, tourists also flock to Bordeaux to visit its wine cellars and taste its grand cru wines!


Abundant Architecture and Culture

Start your exploration in the Old Town, inside the old city walls. You will soon see that the city truly makes the most of its magnificent architectural and historical heritage. The gates at various points around the circumference of the Old Town (Porte de la grosse cloche, Porte Cailhau, etc.) are magnificent mediaeval remains which are sure to please history lovers.

From Saint-André Cathedral to Rue Sainte Catherine and the Place des Quinconces, you will discover that every monument and every street contains something of the city's unique cultural riches.

The Port de la Lune, a UNESCO World Heritage Site created during the Enlightenment, is an exceptional urban and architectural site.

The city has plenty for art lovers too, with numerous museums. To find out all about the history of Bordeaux , from prehistory to the present day, visit the Museum of Aquitaine, and don't miss the fascinating section on the role that the city of Bordeaux played in the slave trade. You can also visit the Fine Arts Museum, the Natural History Museum, the National Customs Museum (the only museum on the history of customs in France), or the Wine and Trade Museum.

Need a moment's respite? Take a break in the splendid Public Garden, where you will find a magnificent arboretum!

The World's Wine Capital!

Aside from its historical heritage and its cultural diversity, the capital of the Aquitaine region is world famous for its wines. Some even consider it the world's wine capital. And with good reason: Saint-Emilion, Sauternes, Pomerol… the wine-growing domain around Bordeaux produces the most prestigious vintages! Your holiday wouldn't be complete without tasting a good Bordeaux cru, or taking an excursion in the Bordeaux region. The Bordeaux wine trails are a great way of discovering the most esteemed château wines.  Why not take home a few bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour or Château Margaux?


Top 10 Must-Sees

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Saint André Cathedral: the most beautiful religious monument in Bordeaux, which although it cannot compete with Amiens, Chartres or Reims, brings a little something unexpected and charming, particularly with its independent spire.

The Aquitaine Museum: museum of the archaeology, ethnology and history of Bordeaux, which presents the history of Aquitaine from prehistory to the present day, with almost 70,000 items.

The Palais Rohan: this magnificent building was the city's archbishopric at the end of the 18th century, then became the City Hall in 1835. The sober, Louis XVI-style architecture welcomes you into the courtyard of honour with a sculpted gate flanked by columns.

The Contemporary Art Museum: the CAPC stands on regenerated former brownfields, like a symbol of Bordeaux's renewal. As its name suggests, contemporary art takes centre stage.

The bell-tower of the Basilica of Saint Michael: France's second tallest bell-tower, it stands 114m high, offering a unique view of the city. However, it is above all famous for its crypt and its mummies: a terrifying sight!

Place des Quinconces: on the banks of the Garonne, this huge esplanade surrounded by trees is the largest square in Europe. The Girondins Monument is one of the emblems of the city. All year long, the square hosts fairs, concerts and other cultural events.

The Port de la Lune: this treasure on the UNESCO World Heritage List bears witness to over 2000 years of history. From the 16th century to the 20th century, the left bank was the main site of this very active commercial port. The port was then moved downstream, so this zone is now only used for leisure boats and the old hangars have been replaced with pedestrian and cycle routes to shops.

The Saint-Michel district: get lost in the streets of this area filled with designer shops and sunny terraces. At the nearby Place des Capucins, there is a huge market every morning.

Explore the Médoc: Margaux, Pauillac , Saint-Julien... These prestigious wine-growing communities are essential stops on the Médoc wine trail, right near Bordeaux.

Cap Ferret: if you're visiting in the right season, why not enjoy the charm of the Gironde's beautiful beaches and the coastal forest?


Indulge Your Taste-Buds!

Gastronomy occupies a very important place in the city, which is bursting with restaurants, wine bars and bistros of all kinds. Gourmets will want to explore the Saint-Pierre district and the areas around Place Gambetta and Place des Chartrons.

If you want to sample a regional speciality, try lamproie à la bordelaise (a fish dish using lamprey), entrecôte de bœuf à la bordelaise (rib steak with wine, shallot and parsley sauce), or foie de veau à la bordelaise (veal liver).

When it comes to sweet dishes, don't miss out on trying canelés. When you bite into one of these pastries, it is slightly crispy on the outside, yet melts softly in your mouth, releasing a delicious, sweet flavour of caramelised vanilla and rum onto your tongue. To be enjoyed without moderation during your stay!


Cultural Events

 

February: Blaye au Comptoir in Bordeaux

The flagship wine event of the Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. Dozens of winegrowers with the "Côtes de Blaye" appellation and restaurateurs of the Bordeaux region invite wine lovers to taste and discuss their produce.

May: Bordeaux Grand Crus Weekend

The Bordeaux Grand Crus Union holds a tasting weekend focusing on Bordeaux's wine appellations. At the stands and around the tables, you can meet wine producers, and of course the oenologists with the best noses. Perfect food and wine pairings guaranteed!

June: Chahuts Festival in Bordeaux

In the Saint-Michel neighbourhood, this arts and spoken word festival includes performances, readings and street theatre, in honour of the storytelling tradition and the love of words.

September-November: Mascaret, Bordeaux Occitan Festival

A festival devoted to Occitan culture in the Bordeaux conurbation. A rich and varied programme, with a very wide range of artistic currents and disciplines, allowing you to discover this still living culture: markets, exhibitions, conferences, concerts, cinema, theatre, storytellers and balls.

October: New Wine and Flea Market Festival in Bordeaux

On the 4th weekend of October, dealers of antiques and second-hand goods celebrate the coming of autumn with a flea market on Rue Notre-Dame. Almost 80 dealers come to sell their antiques. Stroll and hunt for bargains while you nibble on roast chestnuts and sip Federweisser (new wine), in between street theatre and other events.


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