The 18th century port city of Bordeaux on the Garonne River in southwest France is world famous for a variety of reasons, but mainly for being the capital of the region with the famous wines. Its inhabitants (Bordelais) are said to have an easy-going humorous attitude and relaxed view of life. The local climate is wet but relatively mild winters and long, warm summers.
There’s lots to see in Bordeaux. The 6th century Basilica of Saint-Seurin is the most ancient church in Bordeaux, There’s a 2nd century Roman amphitheatre and the Place du Parlement and Place Saint-Pierre are also worth visiting. For modern architecture try the Nuyens School complex on the Bastide and the wood and furniture research centre CTBA. You should also visit the reinforced concrete WWII German U-boat pens, currently used as a cultural and exhibition centre. The old train station on the right bank of the river Garonne near the Pont de Pierre has been converted to an area with cinema and restaurants.
From the many museums, try Vinorama, the Musée des Arts Décoratif, Musée d’Histoire Naturelle and the Cap Sciences. Rue Sainte-Catherine, starting at Place de la Comédie by the Grand Théâtre and running as far as Place de la Victoire is the shopping area of Bordeaux.
Day trips to different parts of the city are possible using the combined bus-tram system and there is a boat shuttle on the Garonne river. Bordeaux’s position and importance make it a crucial transport hub, for example you can reach Paris in 3 hours by the fast TGV. Also try visiting the wonderful Bassin d’Arcachon area on the west (Atlantic) side, a grand and natural wetland with much wildlife, and some of the great wine areas (e.g. Mouton-Rothschild, Médoc, Haut-Brion and Graves).
Posted : Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 11:00
Karen Bryan is the founding editor of the UK based, multi author Europe a la Carte Blog which features Europe travel tips about the best places to visit in Europe.