Hey travelers, here we are ready for a new adventure. Today we are heading to another major city in France, Bordeaux. So, it’s time to start but first let’s present it.
Bordeaux is a french commune, capital of the Gironde department. The city is the sixth most populous in the country and is crossed by the large Garonne river. It overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is a port accessible mainly by the most important and impressive ships. Furthermore, Bordeaux is known worldwide for its wine (that has the same name of it) and for its great importance (historical, cultural…) and beauty, so much so that Unesco has defined its historic center as a world heritage site. We take this opportunity to tell you that in irregular years takes place the vinexpo, one of the largest exhibitions for professionals or lovers of wine all over the world. As for the airport, you have to move to the municipality of Mérignac to reach it, but nothing easier as it is very close to the city center and easily accessible by efficient means of transport. Bordeaux has several cantons, 5 of them. Ok, now it is time to start exploring.
To know more (what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
Are you all there? So we can start.
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux
- Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux: it is the cathedral of the city in romanesque style and is a historical monument of France. It was also decided to inscribe it on the list of World Heritage Sites on the Way to Santiago de Compostela in France. The external structure consists of two tall pointed towers and flanked by other small straight towers on the lower part of the structure. The interior is majestic and with many relics, not surprisingly has all the denominations previously seen.
- Another important place of worship is the Basilique Saint-Michel de Bordeaux. The church has the particularity of being flanked by the bell tower (one of the highest in France) and is considered one of the main places of worship in the city so as to be inscribed on the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites. The interior also won’t disappoint you. To these places of worship to visit is added also the Abbatiale Sainte-Croix classified as a historical monument of France.
- Tour Pey Berland: is the bell tower of the Saint André cathedral. This high tower is composed of different levels, the ground floor where there is a bell cell and two terraces from which you have a 360 degree view of the city (the first is placed at 40 meters high, the second at 50 meters). Everything can be reached via spiral staircase (come on, we know you have lots of energy!). It is part of the list of world heritage sites as all the other monuments of the historic center of Bordeaux.
- Cité du Vin: it is a museum, a place where there are exhibitions, shows, film screenings and academic seminars all based on wine theme. In addition you will find different activities, from didactic to sensory, offering the time for some thoughts and deep analysis. There is really a great attention to the image and the layout, not only for its external structure (with this particular geometric shape and reflective silver color) but also of the individual rooms. On the ground floor you will find a bistro, the wine and souvenir shop. On the seventh floor there is the panoramic restaurant and on the top floor there is a belvedere where you can enjoy a glass of wine while admiring the panorama of the city. Wine lovers come forward, you cannot miss this great opportunity.
- For those who prefer to visit a wine cellar with exhibitions of different wines and obviously tastings, there is the Musée du Vin et du Négoce and for something more sophisticated, refined and elegant (as the structure suggests) there is Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion.
- Musée d’Aquitaine: is a Bordeaux history, archeology and ethnography museum. The interior offers historical and archaeological finds from the Aquitaine region that trace the history of Bordeaux and its region from prehistory to the contemporary age. Plus there are several reproductions such as those of a grocery store, a miniature ship and so on. However some collections come from Africa and the Atlantic ocean. The museum houses a library as well. A very interesting place.
- Palais Gallien: is a roman amphitheater located in the center of Bordeaux which has been declared a historical monument. At one time it had wooden terraces that are no longer there, since it consists only of some remains of what was once an important structure. Despite this, the find is still in good condition and it is really very interesting to see and discover its history. Among other things, there is a miniature reproduction of the amphitheater exhibited in the Aquitaine Museum that we have just visited.
- Musée des arts décoratifs et du design: its headquarters is located in a luxurious home (hôtel de Lalande) and this already speaks for itself. In addition to its elegant external appearance, inside we find som collections (distributed in several floors) composed of furniture, ceramics, glassware, silverware, musical instruments, miniatures, tableware and personal objects, all testimonials of the history of Bordeaux and its style of life of the wealthier classes at the time of the French Revolution. Then for a very particular art, which takes the name of raw art with the characteristics of being natural, abstract, spontaneous and sometimes psychological there is the Musée de la Création Franche.
- Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez: it is an enchanting chateau, a castle (but not the fabiesque ones), not far from the center dedicated to exhibitions of contemporary art with exhibitions by local artists. The exhibits change regularly so there is always something new to see. The structure consists of beautiful gardens with lots of well-kept bushes and with a particular shape. Really nice!
- Musée national des douanes: is a national museum on the history of french customs located in the Place de la Bourse. The museum houses collections of paintings but also historical objects such as uniforms, hats and various objects. The architecture of the building is very beautiful and vast and long. A perfect place to know our destination in depth.
Another historical museum but focused on the period of the Second World War is the Center National Jean Moulin.
- Two museums that we recommend you to visit if you are a science and natural history lovers (perfect if you have children too) are Cap Sciences and Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Bordeaux. There are many activities you can do and many curiosities and stories all to know.
- BETASOM: it was the naval base of the submarines of the Regia Marina (Italian naval army) in Bordeaux during the Second World War. Currently the base hosts a very visited cultural space and therefore even if the historical-military theme doesn’t interest you, we recommend it because it is a very nice experience to live as you enter in a place that will take you back over time making you learn everything about the history in a very original way.
- Château du Hâ: is an ancient fortress in Bordeaux, where the Palace of Justice and the National School of Magistrates are currently located. To stay on topic, if you want to visit another castle, the beautiful Château Thouars is located not far from the city.
Tra i vari teatri che troviamo a Bordeaux ci sono: Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, Théâtre Femina, Café Théâtre des Beaux Arts, Théâtre National de Bordeaux en Aquitaine e Rock School Barbey (che però è più utilizzato per concerti di vario genere).
We continue to explore with no stop. Let’s go!
- We start our tour immediately, turning far and wide through the city: Place des Quinconces, one of the vast squares of the city. In the center a fountain and a statue (the monument aux Girondins, classified as a historical monument), around small gardens and a “wooded” part; in addition, the square is often used for various uses such as markets or mini amusement parks. Place du Parlement is a very nice italian-style square located near the Place de la Bourse. It is a historical monument of the city. Porte Cailhau is a historic Bordeaux gate that connects the historic center. In any case, this doesn’t really seem to be a door but it seems the entrance of a magnificent fairy-tale castle that at night becomes more suggestive through the play of lights of the lighthouses. Porte Dijeaux is a historic Bordeaux door built in a classicist style that you will surely encounter during your walk as it is located at the western entrance of the city, in the medieval part that gives access to Place Gambetta. Palais Rohan is the city hall located at Place Pey Berland.
For the shopping we have Rue du Pas Saint George where there are shops selling handmade bijoux, vintage clothes and various objects. Rue Saint Catherine which holds the record of the longest pedestrian street in Europe and is a commercial street with shops of the most well-known clothing chains. Cours de l’Intendence is a large pedestrian street where high fashion shops are located, think that it is the most elegant area of the city. Place des Grands Hommes a small shopping center where you can spend some free time.
- Pont de Pierre: it is a suggestive bridge over the Garonne river that leads to the center. It is a pedestrian zone but there are area dedicated to buses and trams as well, obviously in the appropriate lane, you can also go for it by bike. And when the night falls and street lamps light up there is such a magical atmosphere!
- Jacques-Chaban-Delmas: it is a movable bridge over the Garonne river, that it rises when a ship have to pass to reach the other part of the river. It has a very modern appearance especially its four lateral pillars. In addition, in the evening the bridge is completely lit from bottom to top. A sight to see.
- Miroir d’eau: literally a stretch of water and that is exactly what it represents. It is a vast open space with water (a few centimeters of water to be specific) inside which reflects a palace in the famous square, Place de la Bourse, located right in front of it. But we must add that it seems to be functional only from April to October. However, it is one of the most photographed places in the city and we can understand why.
- Jardin Public Bordeaux: is an urban park in Bordeaux where there is also a botanical garden and the herbarium of the Bordeaux natural history museum. The park is full of long paths lined with meadows, trees, flowers, ponds (inhabited by geese), plays for the little ones and very suggestive bridges. Amazing!
To be even more in close contact with unspoiled nature, we suggest the Réserve écologique des barails but also the Parc Rivière, a beautiful park to rest for a while.
- Not far from Bordeaux, there is a very unique and absolutely worth visiting place, Dune du Pilat. What is it about? Well, they are real sand mountains, the so-called “desert” of Bordeaux. There are various ways and methods (for every need and suitable for everyone) to “face” these small mountains. We assure you that once you get to the top the view from up there is phenomenal! Go there, it’s beautiful, fun and it’s an experience to live.
However there are other ways to have fun in the city such as: Bègles plage a small swimming lake where you can refresh on hot summer days. Casino Théâtre Barrière de Bordeaux or two escape games, Virtual Room – Réalité Virtuelle Bordeaux, John Doe Escape Game Bordeaux. Boat ride with dinner on the Garonne river. Go for a ride on a bike in the many cycle paths that the city offers. There are also many panoramic ones for a city tour that is a little different from normal. Skatepark Le Hangar Darwin for a full of street art with a rink where you can use your (or not yours) skate.
- If you are in Bordeaux during the weekend, you can’t miss the morning at the Marché des Capucins, a market that offers all the best of french food products, plus the opportunity to taste the local delicacies, including the famous oysters that come from the nearby bay of Arcachon.
- Le Port de la Lune is the nickname given to the port of Bordeaux for its crescent shape along the Garonne. It extends from the Quai de Bacalan to the Quai de Paludate. All around there are several boutiques, bars and classy restaurants. A pleasant and elegant area to visit and we are sure it will conquer you. In addition, the area has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Place de la Bourse
The nightlife in Bordeaux is very lively and present especially in the areas such as: Saint-Pierre full of clubs, Rue Sainte-Catherine, Place du Parlement, Bassins à Flot district (for a very funny night), so there is a lot to choose.
More specifically, we see some places where you can go:
- La Palmeraie: night club
- Bora Club Bordeaux: disco
- La Chaloupe: disco
- BT Club: disco
- The Donkey Who Cough: bar
- Café Oz
Lamproie à la bordelaise
It is the turn of the typical Bordeaux dishes. We have the honor to present them!
We would like to clarify that Bordeaux is one of the gastronomic capitals of the world and therefore we will certainly not go out on an empty stomach! We want to specify that the city is the homeland of the wine on which it has built part of its fortune.
- Among the typical dishes we can find the lamproie à la bordelaise, a kind of eel from the Garonne which is cooked with leek and red wine.
- Entrecote à la bordelaise: rib of beef cooked with onion and red wine (a constant for the city).
- Caviale della Gironda: famous all over the world (as well as Bassin d’Arcachon oysters) that usually open every Bordeaux lunch or dinner.
- Canelé: these are small spongy cakes in a cylindrical shape with a thick caramelized crust flavored with rum and vanilla. A real goodness!
- Bouchon: just as the name suggests (literally means cork stopper) it is a small crunchy dessert outside with almond paste and raisins inside.
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
After knowing which typical dishes await us, we just have to go find some place to taste them.
- Loco By Jem’s: gastropub with French and international cuisine.
- Arcada: French,European cuisine.
- Le Metropolitain: wine bar with French, vegetarian cuisine.
- Le Comptoir Fromager: wine bar with French, European cuisine.
- Restaurant Son’: French, European cuisine.
- O p’tit bahut: wine bar with French cuisine.
- Rest O: French, European, vegetarian cuisine.
- Bo-tannique: French, European cuisine.
- L’Originel: French, European cuisine.
- La Rotisserie Saint Michel: French cuisine.
- La Taupiniere: French, European, vegetarian cuisine.
- La Taniere: bar with French, European cuisine.
So we come to the end of this other French adventure. However our mind is already into the next destination. What do you think it will be?
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.
Below we will list the accommodations that you can find in Bordeaux.