Bordeaux: More Than Just Wine Tasting

Most people visit Bordeaux to tour the vineyards and do some wine tasting in the French wine country. However your trip doesn’t have to be exclusively about wine. Whether you are interested in the gorgeous countryside, history or if you are the sporty type Bordeaux has something for you.

Bordeaux is the name of France’s 6th largest metropolitan area and the name of a port city on the bank of the Garonne River in Southwest France. Bordeaux can refer to the surrounding area or the city. The city of Bordeaux is the wine capital of the world, wine has been produced here since the 8th century. The city itself has an old historic center which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famed for its outstanding 18th century architecture. In addition to wine it is known for its history and art. There are over 350 historic monuments some dating back to the Roman era. The art galleries of Bordeaux hold valuable, world-class pieces by artists such as Rubens and Picasso. Bordeaux also has several outstanding parks and botanical gardens.

Things to See and Do in Bordeaux

Palais Gallien – See what remains of the 3rd century Roman amphitheatre (open June-Sept).

Place de la Bourse – This one of Bordeaux’s most famous squares with the Palais de la Bourse on three sides and the fourth side open to the river.

Place de la Bourse

Miroir des Quais – Situated opposite Place de la Bourse is the world’s largest water mirror spanning 3450m². The area is covered by a thin layer of water which reflects like a mirror in the winter and in summer is a popular place for people to play and stroll.

Eglise Sainte-Croix – The Church of the Holy Cross is a late 11th early 12th century church with a beautiful Romanesque façade. One of the highlights is the 18th century organ.

St. Michel – Visit this Gothic church completed in the 16th century. Catacombs were discovered under the church tower with several mummified bodies. One of the highlights is the view from the 114 meter high tower. You will have to climb 243 steps to get there but the breathtaking vista is worth it.

Grand Theatre – The Opera National de Bordeaux has a beautiful neo-classical façade and a grand interior in blue and gold. You can take a tour of the theatre or attend one of the concerts.

Tower of Pey-Berland – This ornate tower stands separate from the cathedral to prevent vibrations disturbing the church when the bells are rung. It has been used for many purposes since its construction in 1500 and today you can enjoy the tolling of the bells.

Place de la Cathedrale

Pont de Pierre – This impressive stone bridge spans the Garonne River. It was the city’s only bridge from the time of its completion in 1822 until 1965 when the Pont Saint-Jean was constructed.

Musee D’Aquitaine – Here you can see a selection of the finest Gallo-Roman statues and ancient relics, some dating back 25,000 years. The museum covers the history of the region. Highlights include the Gallic treasures from Gironde, the Montaigne Tomb and the reconstructed 20th century grocer’s store.

Musee des Beaux-Arts – Bordeaux’s fine arts museum is housed in the magnificent Hotel de Ville. The museum dates back to 1801 and holds works by Europe’s master painters from the 17th century works of Guillon-Lethiere to works by Matisse and Dorignac.

Les Quais – Shops, cafes, bars and restaurants line the riverside promenade with a backdrop of historic buildings facing the water. Round off your visit to Les Quais with a ferry ride across the river.

Jardin Botanique – This garden was established in the 1800s and is a tranquil oasis in the city. Here you can see both indigenous plants and exotic plants from around the world.

Shopping in Bordeaux should start at the pedestrian center. Bordeaux has many independent boutique stores catering to the fashion conscious. At Marche des Capucins you can soak up the local atmosphere, taste some of the fresh seafood and do some local shopping. Also visit the Marche des Quais for more newly-caught seafood. If you want to get out-and-about you can rent a bicycle or canoe and explore the countryside. And when the sun goes down then it’s time to enjoy the local wine together with some dynamic nightclubs, bars and restaurants.

Red Wine Glass

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