All experienced travelers know that France can be quite a challenge (and highly-enjoyable) to explore because of the numerous interesting destinations one may find.
If you happen to visit France, I very much recommend dropping by its southwestern part which is the near-coastal region of Bordeaux. Easily reachable via road, train or plane, you might know or heard of Bordeaux as a beautiful place where they take their wine seriously. And they should because wine-making in Bordeaux is a tradition which started 2000 years ago. At present, the thriving wine-making business is a billion dollar industry. But surely, there’s more to Bordeaux besides its top-notch wines. Here’s a few remarkable stuff worth mentioning about the wine center of France, Bordeaux.
1. Travel through Time
Like a grandiose 17th century setting out of a fairytale book, Bordeaux has at least 5,000 uniquely-styled gothic-baroque inspired buildings which portray the region’s rich historical background.
Fun fact: Bordeaux features some of France’s oldest museums that houses important specimens and artifacts, ranging from zoological samples to historic documents and displays from the French resistance in the Second World War.
2. Culture and Art on Wheels
People from Bordeaux are passionate about art just like they are passionate with wine. To help facilitate art and culture awareness in Bordeaux, the Modern Art Bus was established to travel all around Bordeaux in search of different art exhibits.
Fun Fact: The Modern Art Bus is a great way to see the works of famous visual artists such as Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.
3. Shop till You Drop
Known as the longest shopping strip in Europe, the Rue Saint Catherine is a 1.2 kilometer-long stretch of high-end shops, brasseries, cafés and shopping centers. This includes the famous department store “Galeries Lafayette” which has its interiors designed to resemble a royal palace.
Fun fact: Bring your walking shoes and be careful when walking around Rue Saint Catherine when it’s raining because the polished pavement can be pretty slippery!
4. Authentic French Cuisine
It’s not difficult for restaurants around Bordeaux to get the freshest ingredients to whip up the best dishes. Try a delicate-tasting foie gras (fattened duck’s liver) or choose from the many different cheeses of the region. How about some fresh Atlantic oysters?
Fun fact: A scrumptious meal is best accompanied by a great-tasting wine so try to find that perfect vintage to complement meals at the many wine bars scattered around Bordeaux.
5. Dynamic Bordeaux Nightlife
There’s a wide variety of things to do in Bordeaux after sun down. Chill at the local pubs, cafes and bars around Place de la Victoire for some live music paired with a relaxing atmosphere for a stress free evening. Or check out the night scene at Quai de Paludate if you’re into loud music and wild dancing.
Fun Fact: along the Rue Saint Catherine is the 250-year old Bordeaux Grand Theater. Wouldn’t it be nice to catch an opera, concert or ballet on stage after dark?
Top 5 Hotels in Bordeaux City Center
- Hotel Burdigala – 4-Star Hotel – Double Room €210
- Quality Hotel Sainte-Catherine – 3-Star Hotel – Double Room €87
- Hotel Le Chantry – 2-Star Hotel – Double Room €57
- Best Wester Grand Hôtel Français – 3-Star Hotel – Double Room €139
- Hotel Gambetta – 2-Star Hotel – Double Room €96
Photo of the Fontaine des Trois Grâces in Bordeaux, France, by Arnaud Bertrande