A city best known for its wine, Bordeaux is the capital of the Gironde department in the region of Aquitaine in the South-West of France. It is a port city located on the Garonne River with an overall population of approximately one million inhabitants.
The harbor is the key tourist location, where cafes, museums and gardens have developed over time and a large number of university students can also be found here due to the presence of the University of Bordeaux, which is the largest university of France.
Whether you’re travelling for business or for pleasure, Bordeaux can provide you with a relaxed environment where you can enjoy a lot of art and culture along with musical shows and concerts. The city is sometimes referred to as ‘Little Paris’ due to the resemblance of its architecture with Paris and its inhabitants are called Bordelais (used for males) and Bordelaises (used for females).
Bordeaux is nicknamed as La perle d'Aquitaine (The Pearl of Aquitaine) and La Belle Endormie (Sleeping Beauty) due to the quaint and quiet atmosphere of this sleepy little town. However, today, it is a busting metropolis that ranks as the sixth largest in France.
As it was ruled by the British for almost 300 years, remnants of the English domination can still be found here in the architecture, history and culture of the area. This city usually enjoys warm summers and temperate winters, so a trip to Bordeaux can be pleasant no matter what season you choose to visit.
Where is Bordeaux?
Bordeaux is located approximately 500km from Paris, on flat plains that encompass both banks of the Garonne River.
How to get to Bordeaux?
The Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport is the major airport located to the west of the city and in order to reach the city centre, visitors can opt to hire a taxi service to and from the airport. You can either book a taxi in advance with one of the companies or hire one directly from the airport after your arrival in Bordeaux.
Attractions in Bordeaux
Bordeaux has a historic background and boasts a number of tourist attractions.
Sightseeing & Museums in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a heaven on earth for the history lovers, as it has got a large number of ancient buildings and museums that are appealing for a lot of different interests.
Here is a list of must see places in the city:
- Les Quais: where you take long walks along the shore or enjoy a boat ride. A lot of nightclubs are also located here, as well as bridges that provide scenic views of the landscape.
- La Victoir: the historical area of town where amazing nightlife can also be found.
- The Pedestrian Centre: the main location for shopping and cultural festivals.
- Gambetta Square: the rich district named as ‘Little Paris’.
- Quinconces Square: with its historic fountain monument.
- Meriadeck: a district where the administrative centre and one of France’s biggest libraries is located.
If you visit La Victoire, do not miss seeing the Victory Arch located there that shows the Roman origins of Bordeaux. If you wish to relax and enjoy a picnic, visit the Public Gardens near the Gambetta Square or go to the Jardin Botanique, (Bordeaux's Botanical Garden) to enjoy natural beauty. The city also has many theatres and cinemas and the Opéra national de Bordeaux hosts many musical performances for enthusiasts.
A number of museums can be found in Bordeaux, such as, the Musee D'Art Contemporain (Museum of Contemporary Art) and the Musee D'Aquitaine that showcases the historic exhibits found in the area. The Musée du Vin et du Négoce (Museum of Bordeaux Wine and Trade) is also an interesting place to visit to discover the history behind the trading of wine and to get your personal tasting tour of the finest wine in the world.
Shopping in Bordeaux
The main shopping complex is The Pedestrian Centre, where you can find all kinds of stores that sell clothes, art work, local crafts, food and the local wine, etc. if you are looking for a more luxurious shopping spree, head to Gambetta Square, where you can find a range of luxurious items to purchase.
Bordeaux music groups are gradually gaining fame and if you happen to visit this city, do not forget to buy some of the local music for yourself and your loved ones back home.
Buying clothes in Bordeaux is cheaper as compared to other major tourist spots, such as Paris, so go to Rue Sainte Catherine, which is the best place to shop for clothes and is also the longest (1.2 kilometers) pedestrian zone in Europe. From here, you can also reach the nearby district of Cours de l'Intendance, where some of the finest boutiques and shops are situated.
Even if you decide not to buy any souvenirs for your trip, you cannot go home without the famed Bordeaux wine that is beloved by locals and tourists alike.
Dining & Nightlife in Bordaeux
Bordeaux has a large number of restaurants located throughout the city that provide local French delicacies as well as African, Arabian and Asian cuisines.
If you want a seat with a view, head to the Cafe du Port near the bank of the river or choose to satisfy your hunger at the Cassolette Café, where you can order la menu goutatout, which includes your choice of 5 dishes from the overall menu.
Go to the French bistro named Couleurs Café for a light snack or visit La Tupina for a hearty meal of traditional French cuisine.
The city is juat as lively at night as in the day, especially due to the large number of student population that likes to hit the bars and night clubs after dark. Most of the bars are in the district of La Victoire, but if you prefer to go to a night club, visit the area locality of Les Quais that offers you a choice of disco, techno, rock or dance music in a number of clubs.
Excursions in Bordeaux
Most of the tours and excursions in Bordeaux are wine tasting torus that can take you on a trip to sampling some of the best wine produced in the area. A number of tour operators offer wine tours within the city and you can call ahead to make reservations as well.
One-day tours are also available to the vineyards near the city, where fully equipped vehicles can take you to all the major vineyards of the area with the help of professional guides and drivers.
Among the other French cities, Bordeaux has got an important place when it comes to being a perfect place to hold international events. A lot of large scale congresses, conferences, seminars, symposiums, trade shows and fairs take place in Bordeaux ever year. The event attendee kills two birds with one stone by attending an event in the city as the captivating beauty of Bordeaux is something to witness and the professionalism of the organizers, the quality of the hotels and venues turns the event trip into a pleasure.