You would be forgiven for immediately thinking of wine when you hear the name Bordeaux.
From as far back as the 8th Century, the Aquitaine city on the south west coast of France has been making wine that many feel rivals non other in the world. The tours of the numerous vineyards are what flock tourists here in their droves, but information on them is for another article at another time. This one is to tell you a little more about what else Bordeaux has to offer.
1. The Grand Theatre
Make sure you don’t leave before giving this majestic building a good look around both inside and out. Found just off the Rue Esprit de Lois in the centre of town, you might think you were in Rome at first as the huge pillared forum-like structure. Its history is extensive, beginning by design from Victor Louis in 1780 in a neo-classical style but with 12 pillars, each one representing the nine muses and three goddesses, who, in ancient Greece, inspired art and literature. The wooden frame remains the last European wooden structure to remain intact in its original form. If there is a ballet or opera performance while you’re in town then don’t miss it.
2. Saint Andre Catherdral
Every city has it proudest church and Bordeaux is no exception. If you make your way over to the Hotel de Ville tram stop then you won’t miss this grand building. The very oldest part of the cathedral dates way back to the 11th Century and to Pope Urban II. But only a small part of that remains as large chunks of the building were rebuilt in the 15th Century. The famously imprisoned Eleanor of Aquitaine was married here in 1137 to Louis VII, this being a few years before she married King Henry II of England. Find the energy to walk all the way up to the top of the tower for a great view of the whole city.
3. Le Calle Ocho
For something much more energetic and musical, this live music bar and nightclub will have you shaking your hips all night long. On 24 R des Piliers-de-Tutell, it’s small and quite hard to find on a weekday but come the weekend and the evening it springs into life. The Cuban spirit bursts from the speakers and the mojitos and beers start to flow as much as the torsos. It’s a very popular spot for locals and one of the best nights out in the whole city.
4. Bordeaux Botanic Garden
A fabulous open space in the more industrial area of town around Place Bardineau on the river. There has been quite an effort to boost the site in recent years, which has led to a brilliant new collection of plants and flowers from China and Japan.
5. Museum of Aquitaine
You’ve been to the cathedral so don’t leave before you’ve been to the museum. The four floors give you a great idea about the local history, archaeology and ethnography. Right in the centre on 20 cours Pasteur it’s been around for a few hundred years and is a great place brush on your facts ready to tell you family and friends when you get home.
Popular Bordeaux Hotels on Venere.com
- Hotel de France – 2-star Hotel – Double starting from €64
- Hotel Chateau Grattequina – 4-star Hotel – Double starting from €152
- Hotel Comfort Suites Victoria Garden – 3-star Hotel – Double starting from €51
Photo of the Grand Théâtre, Bordeaux, France, by Arnaud Bertrande