Let's walk on the docks - Jean L
The strip of land along the Garonne is, for me, one of the places that best reflects the spirit of Bordeaux – for occasional visitors, tourists, people alone or in a group, and others with family or friends.
Are you the sporty type? If so, there are numerous infrastructures there for you…. Joggers, you have a 4.5 km trail along both sides of the river. If you enjoy sailing, you can enjoy watching the many ships and boats on the river, or take a public boat taxi from one side of town to the other. If you like skateboarding or on-line skating, there is a skate park where you can let yourself go with all sorts of acrobatics.
And if you are more interested in walking and discovering, you may wish to stop for lunch or a coffee on the terrace of one of the many cafés and restaurants along the way – that is, unless you prefer to picnic in the shade or in the sun as you watch the boats go by.
As for shopping – because there's something particular you want, or you have a gift to buy, or you would simply like to browse and see what's on offer – a superb range of brand name boutiques is waiting for you at the Quai des Marques, which features food, athletic, and decorative items, as well as clothing and furniture.
Speaking of discovering the city, special mention should be made of Bordeaux's many bridges, built in contrasting, but complementary styles. The Pont Jacques Chaban Delmas is a marvel of modern engineering, whereas the Pont de Pierre dates from the Napoleonic period. It features graceful arches and affords an ideal vantage point from which to admire the quays on both sides of the river – and to take photos.
Don't forget to go to the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool between the two bridges and admire its surprising series of effects starting with misting, going on to a calm, unbroken surface, and finishing with tiny waves. At whatever stage, there is a fabulous reflection of buildings on Place de la Bourse, people in and around the pool, and the sun and clouds.
There is every reason to cross the street and go into town to see the Three Graces fountain, the Girondins Monument overlooking the spacious Place des Quinconces, as well as the Bourse Maritime, the Porte de Bourgogne, the Conservatory, and Saint Michel basilica. You may then want to visit the former Niel barracks on the right bank with its skatepark and Darwin hangars... You will be delighted to discover these various places as you walk around the city.
As you have surely understood by now, Bordeaux is a city that I love enormously. I find it endlessly fascinating with infinite possibilities and places to discover. It is somewhere to come back to time and time again.