So you’re planning a trip to France and are doing all the usual sightseeing in Paris, but you want to visit somewhere a little different. If you’re up for a slower pace and just as much beauty as Paris (if not more!), then Bordeaux is the place for you! Like a scene out of the film Chocolat, Bordeaux is an incredibly beautiful and quaint French city, famous for its wine. Having visited this amazing city in 2016, I know that visiting Bordeaux for the first time can be a bit daunting for those who are unsure of what sights to see, which is why I’ve listed what you need to see and do in Bordeaux, France. Believe me, once you’ve had a taste of what this city has to offer, you’ll be wanting to return in no time!
What you need to see –
Bordeaux is located in the south west of France, along the Garonne river. Known for it’s gothic architecture and luxe gardens. In my opinion, the following buildings and monuments truly encapsulate Bordeaux’s beauty and are definite must-sees –
Miroir D’eau –
The Miroir D’eau or ‘water mirror’ as it is translated in French, is the world’s largest reflecting pool, casting the image of the Place De La Bourse directly opposite. Built in 2006 and made up of granite slabs, this pool sprays itself with mist to enhance the reflective state of the monument. As you can see below, the Miroir is stunning both during the day and at night – a photographers dream!
Place DeLa Bourse –
Place De La Bourse, the Royal Square showcases the amazing neoclassical architecture built around the reign of King Louis XV in the 18th Century. Situated along the Garonne River, this band of continuous buildings act as a building curtain for the city and was built to illustrate the prosperity of King Louis XV and the city of Bordeaux. Since then, the Place De La Bourse was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a main attraction of the city. The architectural symmetry and beauty will have you in awe and wanting to tell your friends about Bordeaux!
Cathedrale St-Andre –
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cathedrale St-Andre is a must-see for all travellers in Bordeaux. The oldest section of the Cathedral dates back to 1096, with most of the cathedral built during the 13th and 14th centuries. Gothic in design, the outside of the Cathedral is decorated with gargoyles, whilst the inside is just as (if not more) impressive. The inside of the Cathedral is stark and gothic in appearance, with old murals displayed on the walls and art lining the building. Architecture lovers, eat your heart out!
What you need to do –
Visit the Musee d’Aquitaine –
This art and history museum showcases Gallo-Roman relics dating back 25,000 years and explains Bordeaux’s history as a port city in the 19th Century. The museum is open from 11am-6pm Tuesday through to Sunday and is approximately 4 Euros a ticket for adults. To get an idea of just how important Bordeaux was as a trade city and learn some cool facts about the place you are in is a must! Don’t fret if you don’t speak French, there are plenty of bilingual guides floor plans and museum guides for you to grab 🙂
Visit La Cite Du Vin –
Resembling a wine decanter and situated along the Garonne River, the La Cite Du Vin museum explores what Bordeaux is notoriously famous for – its wine! You can pick up a digital guide to take you through all the stages of wine making, from cultivation to wine production and trade to emerging wine trends and what they mean for the city of Bordeaux. La Cite Du Vin is open from 9.30am-7.30pm and costs approximately 20 Euros to enter. For more information, or to book your tickets, visit the La Cite Du Vin website.
Sample some Bordeaux wine and cheese –
As you have already read, the Bordeaux region is famous for producing wine, in particular the Bordeaux variation, which is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines. Ultra rich and tasty, it goes without saying that sampling this wine is a must in Bordeaux! Bar a Vin is a trendy bar located within the Maison De Vin Du Bordeaux and is decked out with decorative wine bottles and elegant furniture. With a range of 30 different Bordeaux wines at approximately 3 – 8 Euros per glass, you will definitely be able to relax and unwind inn an indulgent manner at Bar a Vin. When sampling wine,pairing food such as cheese (or even chocolate) is a great way to experience different flavours of the wine, as the fats from these foods change the flavour and intensity of the acidity in the wine. You can purchase cheese, cured meat and chocolate platters for approximately 6 – 8 Euros. Open from 11am – 10pm Monday to Saturday, Bar a Vin is a great option for an activity in between sightseeing, or if you want to slow down your pace of travel.
Rich in history, architectural genius and delectable wine, there is much to love about the city of Bordeaux! I hope this guide has helped you to learn about what to see and do in the beautiful city and I would love to hear about your experiences – so please comment below!
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