08 Feb DMC In Bordeaux
Bordeaux is well known by wine-lovers for its world-class wine, but less known to be a great place to be too. A brief fling with this French femme fatale will make you discover its attraction.
The capital of southwestern France is a port city, perched on the sleepy Garonne River, and a great destination to enjoy life and its pleasures. With its exceptional 18th century architecture, the city has earned the title of ‘Little Paris’ around 200 years ago. If it was once known as ‘the Sleeping Beauty’ (La Belle au Bois Dormant), she has now definitely woken with two decades of renovation. Indeed, so complete was the makeover from decrepit backwater to glamorous modern city, that the Queen concluded that Bordeaux was ‘the very essence of elegance’, following a recent visit.
At its heart is the UNESCO-listed city centre, which boasts romantic parks, landscaped quaysides and colonial-era warehouses that now brim with chic bars and restaurants. The so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ that occupies the area bookended by Cours Clemenceau, Cours de l’Intendance and Allées de Tourny is a prime example of this innate sophistication, featuring a spectacular collection of 18th-century, golden stone neoclassical architecture. Most now house upscale boutiques and glamorous restaurants, although the presence of the Place de la Comédie and the Grand Theatre means you can experience its charms on the cheap.
Dotted with shops and restaurants, and overshadowed by the mighty Palais de la Bourse, the Garonne riverfront is another spot not to be missed – though the picturesque St. Pierre district with its mediaeval cobbles deserve attention. The area is also home to the Musée d’Aquitaine, which takes visitors on a whistle-stop tour through Bordeaux’s past, from the Roman-era to present day.
Bordeaux is a city where life is good : gastronomy and culture have the place of honour. There’s plenty of gourmet strolls where you can taste the local products, especially some world’s finest wines produced in famous vineyards around the city.
The best time to visit the city is during the Bordeaux Wine Festival, every two years in the last week of June. It is the first tourism event for wines in France, and offers a very unique program which boasts many simultaneous festivals.
For all its beauty, Bordeaux remains most famous for wine and for that, you need Quai des Chartrons. Home to a cheerful blend of quaint wine cellars and upmarket shop selling industrial quantities of the stuff, it is also the site of the Musée du Vin et du Négoce – an essential stop before facing the Bordelais vintners !