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Tourist Places To Visit In Bordeaux
Bordeaux, best known for being a hub of the wine-growing-and-producing region, is situated along the Garonne river in the south-western part of France. While there are more vineyards here than you could possibly visit in one trip, there are other numerous treasures in the city of Bordeaux that completely justify its position as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether it’s the architectural brilliance of its historical monuments or the city’s exceptional dining scene, the world-class museums or the vibrant parks and gardens; visitors will find themselves wanting to cram a little something of every aspect of this culturally versatile city into their trip. Here are our recommendations for some of the best places to visit when in Bordeaux.
La Cité du Vin
A premier museum dedicated to all things wine, La Cité du Vin is the place to be for all wine aficionados when visiting Bordeaux. A tour through this museum will take you across the different wine-making processes and techniques that are practised around the world, with digital models and an audio guide that helps you turn this sensory experience into an interactive one. At the end of the tour, you can get up to the top of the 55-meter tower to enjoy a wine tasting session along with breath-taking panoramic views of Bordeaux all around. There are also different events and exhibitions held regularly in this museum, with occasional workshops as well that celebrate the cultural history of wine.
People who travel with kids know the struggle of keeping them entertained on a trip. In the city of Bordeaux, the Jardin Public is the best place to let your children loose and have them enjoy a fun day on the carousel or the playground, while you make yourself comfortable with a picnic or a book. This enormous 18th-century English-style park was initially created for the rich and affluent population of Bordeaux – a place where they could go to relax and unwind. Even today, the park holds immense sophistication and consists of numerous historical structures, bridges, fountains and even a botanical garden and museum to explore. It is easily a place large enough to spend an entire day in; something that can be a very good idea on a warm summer’s day.
Wine tasting tours are usually the chief attraction for tourists when visiting Bordeaux. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Saint-Emilion is one of the top spots in the city that produces world-renowned wines in the setting of a picturesque village. Visitors are at liberty to stroll through the old cobbled streets of the village and explore the ancient Roman churches here all by themselves. The vineyards of Saint-Emilion were also planted by the Romans as early as the 2nd century, according to records. Chateau La Dominique is one such local vineyard where you will find the opportunity to taste award-winning wines.
Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion
Most of Bordeaux’s wine estates are located outside the city and often involve quite a bit of travel time to reach these places. If you are looking to include a winery visit in your Bordeaux itinerary but are running short on time, the Chateau Les Carmes Haute-Brion is a wine-producing estate located within the city limits of Bordeaux and is just a 30-minute tram ride away from the city centre. Here, visitors will find exquisite architecture and beautiful gardens that have been designed by the same person who designed the popular park Jardin Public.
The foundation of Saint-Seurin Basilica dates back to somewhere around the 5th-century, but a major reconstruction in the 11th-century resulted in the monument we see today; more additions have been made constantly to the structure till the 18th-century. In 1998, the basilica was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and became a landmark building of Bordeaux.
The crypts of the basilica consist of two parts – the original crypt contains sarcophagi with the remains of early bishops and is free for all to enter while the archaeological crypt requires a small fee for entrance.
Place de la Bourse
Designed by King Louis XV’s architect, Ange-Jacques Gabriel, Place de la Bourse stands as one of the most recognisable sights in the city and, like many of Bordeaux’s other landmarks, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The square consists of a number of buildings and sculptures that are important representatives of French architecture from the 18th-century. Additionally, the famous Water Mirror situated across the road from the square makes this place one of the most highly visited spots by both locals and tourists. The 2 cm-deep pool of water is an art installation by the artist Micheal Corajoud that alternates between a foggy appearance and a clear-as-a-mirror reflective appearance.
This 19th-century park is a great place to simply steal some quality time among nature with your family and friends, or even by yourself. Originally a public promenade, the park is now covered with more than 3000 trees and lots of greenery that makes it a great place for a weekend picnic. Locals of Bordeaux frequent the park often, and if you are travelling with kids, it is an amazing place to bring them here for a fun day out.
Cathedrale Saint André
The Saint-Andre Cathedral is an example of magnificent architecture and intricate stone-work in Bordeaux and dates back to the 11th-century. It holds immense historical significance and boasts stunning interiors that often reverberate with the symphonies of the local orchestra. If you are lucky, you may find the opportunity to experience a live organ recital on your visit as well.
The Pey-Berland Tower that serves as one of the bell towers of the cathedral is also a key landmark of Bordeaux. Climbing the 229 stairs that lead to the top of the tower is a fun task most tourists love to pursue; the top of the tower offers some stunning views of the city and tranquil moments to enjoy in solace.
Dune du Pilat
Best known as the highest sand dune in Europe, Dune du Pilat is more than 100 metres high and located in the Arcachon Bay area around 50 km from the city. The summit of the dune is accessible through a staircase that helps visitors get to the top and enjoy stunning views of the Arcachon Bay on one side and the Landes forest on the other side. Paragliding off the top of the dune is also a popular sport here, especially during the summers.
Place des Quinconces
The largest public square in France, Place des Quinconces is an area packed with landmark monuments and also a popular venue for concerts and festivals in the heart of Bordeaux. History buffs will love the Monument aux Girondist, which was constructed in 1902 to honour the martyrs of the political group Gironde, and the influence they had in the French Revolution. A fountain with beautiful bronze horses at its base – the Fountain des Girondins – displays four different scenes and is a majestic sight in the square. The name of the square has been derived from the trees that were planted here in a haphazard fashion.