Bordeaux : A City with Lots of Surprises

Bordeaux is a city that will surprise you! Some of the world's wine capital belongs to UNESCO heritage for its architecture of the XVIIIth century. The historic center of the city includes the port, the quays, the medieval intramural and a stretch of the right bank of the river Garonne. But the city center is not the only place to discover in Bordeaux! Indeed, the city has several assets through its different neighborhoods, providing charm and character. Do not hesitate to stroll through the streets to discover new places and have pleasant surprises. Some of these places fall into the prestigious UNESCO ranking. What to visit? Where to go? Which places should not be missed? Among the must-see monuments of Bordeaux, we unveil our top 10:

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Bordeaux : A City with Lots of Surprises:table of contents

1. The City of Wine, A World of Cultures

Photo by patrick janicek

Sometimes defined as the lighthouse of Bordeaux, wine tourism or the totem of Bordeaux, The City of Wine never ceases to seduce its visitors. In 2017, there were no less than 450,000 visitors to push the door of this unique architecture, which reveals all the wealth and diversity of the world wine. National Geographic ranks the place 7th among the best museums in the world! The City of Wine is a unique cultural facility dedicated to wine as a cultural, universal and living heritage.

2. Grand Theater

Photo by Dennis Jarvis

Bordeaux has in its heart a marvelous monument of elegance. The Grand Theatre has been shining for more than three centuries and far away from the dreams of its visitors. With the operas of Versailles and Turin, the Grand Theatre has one of the most beautiful theatres of the eighteenth century in the world! Of all public buildings in Bordeaux, the Grand Theatre is undoubtedly the best known and the most appreciated. It rises on the site of the former Temple of the Pillars of Guardianship which marked out the old Gallo-Roman forum.

3. Water Mirror

It is less than ten years old but facing a monumental building of nearly three centuries. Located opposite the Place de la Bourse, between the Quai de la Douane and the Louis XVIII quay, this spectacular work by landscape architect Michel Corajoud alternates extraordinary effects of mirror and fog. The regular transmutes of 2 cm of water on a gargantuan slab of granite turn the magical place into a permanent stage of games for children, daydreaming for lovers, refreshing strolls in hot weather, feet in the air and water. The most photographed place in Bordeaux, between Garonne and 18th-century facade, the water mirror is now part of the World Heritage site.

4. The Roads of Bordeaux Wine

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In Bordeaux, there are 6 wine routes! To the north-west, the Medoc and its road of the castles, to the south Sauternes and the Graves, the cradle of the vineyards of Bordeaux, in the north-east the region of Saint-Emilion and its medieval village, then, overlooking the estuary, Blaye and Bourg connected by the road to the cornice. Finally, the great region of Bordeaux-Entre-Deux-Mers, the "Bordeaux Tuscany" and the 6th road, the city of Bordeaux is a gateway to the vineyard!

5. Saint Pierre, The Historic Heart of Bordeaux

Photo by Alain Muller

The tourist who discovers Bordeaux is at first amazed by the imposing ensemble formed by the facade of the quays. This jewel of the eighteenth century is the Place de la Bourse, is the Saint Pierre Quarter, the historic heart of the city, with its picturesque old streets. It is on the mud of the old port that was built at the beginning of the Middle Ages - the first church. The street names still evoke trades of the past: the rue des Argentiers (silversmiths), rue des Bahutiers (chest traders) rue du Chai des Farines (grain warehouses); hostels to sailors: the Maucoudinat, the Three Candlesticks. In the sixteenth century, bourgeois families settled there and the court of the Aydes takes the role of the court.

6. Public Garden, Source of Oxygen

A place in the heart of the city, but in the countryside. A place where the blond stone of Bordeaux mixes the harmony of its 18th-century architecture with the nonchalance of a stream surrounded by hundred-year-old trees. A place where strollers, joggers, children and grandparents cohabit with swans and ducks in harmony. It has accompanied the life of all Bordeaux since its inception in 1746. Its 11 hectares of oxygen host many playgrounds for children, as well as the famous puppet theatre Guignol Guerin.

7. The Aquitaine Museum, A Concentrate of History

Photo by en.m.wikipedia.org

With nearly 150,000 visitors a year, the Aquitaine Museum presents the history of Bordeaux and its region, from prehistoric times to the present day, through its prestigious collections of archaeology, history and ethnography regional and extra-European. "Museum of Civilization”, it also presents, each year, several temporary exhibitions exploring themes on the history and cultures of the world. Finally, it offers the public a cultural program: conference cycles, screenings, round tables, guided tours, concerts, meetings with foreign communities, educational workshops.

8. Quays Left Bank

The river, the city, a contemporary long-distance stroll through 2,000 years of port history! The quays of Bordeaux constitute one of the most magnificent urban heritages of the world, with their 18th-century facades including many buildings classified or inscribed as historical monuments. They are at the heart of the exceptional Urban Ensemble, written on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 2007. Here, for the whole Bordeaux agglomeration, a new art of living around multiple stops is being created. On the lawns, in the parks and gardens, along with the Garonne, the quays are stopovers for relaxation, shopping and walking, on foot or by bike.

9. Pey Berland Tower and St. Andrew's Cathedral

Near the Hôtel de Ville stands the most beautiful religious monument in Bordeaux, places of so many royal weddings, solemn funerals. Separated from the Cathedral, its bell tower, the Pey Berland Tower, is a belvedere of choice on the surroundings.

10. CAPC, The Museum of Contemporary Art

Photo by Véronique Debord-Lazaro

Created 40 years ago in a former warehouse of colonial commodities, the museum of contemporary art is devoted to emerging artistic news. With a permanent exhibition of more than 1300 works by 190 artists (Robert Combas, Annette Messager, Mario Merz, Richard Long) the CAPC immerses you in half a century of culture and makes you discover the new art practices that unite this place to the international artistic sphere. A place full of history, the contemporary art museum sublimates the works, thanks to its exceptional architecture. Passionate about modern art or pure lover of beautiful things, the CAPC is a must-see museum during your stay in Bordeaux.

◎ Closing

Bordeaux is a surprising city, and the essentials are not lacking! Let a boat tour carries yourself, go with the family to see the water mirror that will delight the little ones and seduce the biggest, stroll in the heart of the public garden, visit the majestic Pey Berland tower and enjoy the unique atmosphere of the old Bordeaux.

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