Bordeaux is a beautiful city in western France not too far from the ocean. With a history that goes back 3,000 years and some of the best wine production in the world, there are several attractions in Bordeaux to put on your itinerary.
Cite du Vin
The most impressive attraction in Bordeaux is the new Cite Du Vin, a state-of-the-art wine museum. Unsurprisingly, National Geographic labeled it as one of the best museums in the world. The permanent exhibit on the second floor covers three-quarters of an acre and has 19 interactive, thematic areas covering all aspects of wine. The exhibit is child-friendly (not that kids should be drinking). On the 8th floor is the belvedere where you’ll get a wine-tasting as part of your ticket while enjoying beautiful views of the city. Plan to spend at least half the day at this museum. Tickets are $22 or free before noon with the Bordeaux CityPass.
Personally, this was my favorite attraction in Bordeaux. The Palais Gallien is a section of a Roman arena, the last major remanent of the Roman city that used to exist there. Most of the arena was demolished over the centuries to make room for housing. The last section of the arena wall still standing is impressive, and can be explored with guided tours between June and September (or photographed outside the rest of the year).
Tour Pey Berland
I love heights, so this one was for me. The tower of the Bordeaux Cathedral was built in the 15th century, and the monumental statue of Our Lady of Aquitaine was placed on the top in 1863. You can climb to the top if you don’t mind 231 stairs. I would highly recommend making the climb to get some of the best aerial photographs of the city. Tickets are $5.50 or free with the Bordeaux CityPass.
Rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux
If you’re the type that likes to shop, even if it’s just window shopping, the central walking street of Bordeaux is the place for you. Rue Saint-Catherine is actually in the same location as the original Roman road that bisected the center of town. There are hundreds of local and chain stores along the street and in the Sainte-Catherine Promenade. Sure, this isn’t the cheapest place to shop (walking streets rarely are), but it’s still worth the stroll. One product you must purchase is a canelé, Bordeaux’s unique pastry made using leftover egg yolks from the wine production. It tastes similar to flan and is oh so delicious!
A Wine Workshop
No visit to Bordeaux would be complete without a wine workshop. Saying something is the best is always relative, but Bordeaux really does have the best wine in the world, as evidenced by many of the top award-winning wines of the world coming from Bordeaux. There are several wine tours and workshops around the city and out to the 9,000 chateaux in the Bordeaux region. I’d recommend the workshop at Le Boutique Hotel’s Wine Bar. The sommelier there will take you through a wine tasting with several vintages, answer your questions, and show you just how and why the wine in Bordeaux is the best.
The above list hardly covers all the attractions in Bordeaux. I spent two days there, which wasn’t nearly enough. There are also several more activities in the summer compared to the winter. When you visit, make sure to pick up a CityPass and put the five above attractions in Bordeaux on your itinerary.