A day in Bordeaux
The gateways to the Gironde vineyards, wide open to the region’s unique terroirs and heritage, Bordeaux and its Cité du Vin are at the forefront of international wine tourism.
The “Cité effect” in Bordeaux
The term “Guggenheim effect” refers to the prodigious economic uplifting effects the Guggenheim had on the declining city of Bilbao since the museum opened in 1998, attracting 25 million visitors ever since. The audacious building revolutionised the way urban architecture and tourism were perceived. Similarly, in Bordeaux, we can already speak of a “Cité effect” comparable to the Basque model. The opening of the Cité du Vin in 2016 has indeed spearheaded Bordeaux towards a new destiny. The majestic golden tower on the banks of the Garonne River gives visitors from all over the world the opportunity to embark on a playful and sensory journey into the culture, history, and civilisations of wine. The museum’s exhibition trail winds up around a 3,000 sqm nave. It ends with a tasting on a 35-metre heigh platform boasting splendid panoramic views of the city. A magical moment, not to be missed.
Wine in the city
Long nicknamed “the sleeping beauty,” the capital of the New Aquitaine region has managed to trade its austere image for a laid-back style that appeals to hedonistic travellers. Riding the wave of the city’s newfound attractiveness, Bordeaux Wine Festival, organised in even years in June on the quays of major events, allows Bordeaux producers to meet urban consumers.
Exuding a more intimate atmosphere, the city’s wine bars, like the Bar à Vins (on the ground floor of the CIVB - Bordeaux Wine Council) form part of a wine tourism trail dedicated to wine tasting: the Urban Wine Trail. This delightful wine route in the heart of the city brings you a taste of excellent food and wine pairings inspired by the gastronomy of South-Western France.
The stone and the vine
Forming an “outstanding urban and architectural ensemble,” Bordeaux and its landmarks are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city as a whole is an invitation to stroll and contemplate. Discoveries await visitors at every street corner: from the “Miroir d’eau” (Water Mirror) to the neoclassical façade of the Place de la Bourse, the Grand Theatre, the old quarters of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Michel, the Capucins or Chartrons markets, the Porte Cailhau...
Depending on the weather, you can enjoy the city’s sumptuous parks and gardens, or visit a museum: explore contemporary art collections at the CAPC, learn about maritime history at the MMM (Musée Mer Marine), and discover regional heritage at the Musée d'Aquitaine... Splendidly fusing tradition and modernity, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan) is also a Bordeaux monument. While a dozen or so wine estates can be visited within a few minutes’ drive of the city centre, Les Carmes Haut-Brion is the only winegrower situated within the city’s walls, and accessible by tramway. Enclosed in the city, this stunning 5-hectare urban vineyard, surrounded by a park of century-old trees, features a contemporary metal wine storehouse designed by Philippe Starck. In Bordeaux, the “Cité effect” has only just begun.