What can I say about the city side of Bordeaux other than “I love it!”? Let me show you why. Join me on the Bordeaux city tour . It’ll take your breath away.
Bordeaux City Tour
If I was in the business of designing a modern city, it would be just like Bordeaux.
Perhaps that’s why the mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Marie Juppé, is thought of like a rock star. He is considered a monumental player in promoting and revitalizing the city — from infrastructure to visionary new projects such as the La Cité de Vin.
Throughout its existence Bordeaux has been a city fraught with war and nation-changing. From 300BC when a Celtic tribe settled Burdigala through the eighth century, Bordeaux was ruled by Romans (the capital of Aquitaine), the Vandals, the Visigoths, Franks and marched on by the Muslims, Basques, and the Vikings. (Click on the highlighted links for more history information.)
Port Cailhau, shown below, is part of the city wall from 1496.
In the 12th Century, Bordeaux gained importance throughout Europe with the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to the heir of the French throne, Louis VI who became King Louis VII. Eleanor later divorced Louis and married Henry of Anjou, aka King Henry II of England.
Some girls have all the luck!
OK … right … Eleanor also spent a good amount of time fighting in the Crusades and years in prison, but still … on with the Bordeaux city tour!
Cathédrale Saint-André is the site of the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII, the future king of France, in 1137.
Bordeaux City Tour: 19th Century Architecture
Bordeaux hit its stride in the 1800s when most of the city’s downtown buildings were built with such elegance that it became the model for transforming Paris to a “modern” capital. Today many of those structures still frame the boulevards, pedestrian walks, neighborhoods and parks.
From the fine details of art and color found on private homes and public buildings, to the massive and ornate statues and churches, Bordeaux is a masterpiece of art and architecture.
One of the places I walked past dozens of times was the Opera House. My hotel was only a few steps away. I didn’t plan ahead and there were no tickets available for the current performance; however I sneaked into the lobby to take a few photos. Photos inside the Opera area were not allowed. (Be sure to check out the Opera’s website)
A memorial to the Girondins, a political faction during the French Revolution, is the centerpiece at the Place des Quinconces and one of the most vivid reminders of the French Revolution.
And who isn’t amazed at the Miroir d’Eau — the Water Mirror created in 2006 along the UNESCO sited Port de la Lune between The Place del la Bourse and the River Garonne?
Bordeaux Food and Shopping
Restaurants, food and places to shop are just as diverse and colorful as the rest of the city. Here are some of the stops I made through the city.
A cheese shop here …
A canelé store there …
(a pastry that’s a legend – read more here)
Unique shopping galleries, big-name brands, and charming boutiques fill the town.
Bordeaux At Night
Perhaps the most memorable is Bordeaux at night.
This isn’t a fraction of the sights and sounds of Bordeaux. I could go on and on. Now you know why I must return!
Bordeaux Travel Guide:
Bordeaux Day 1: The Secrets of Great Wine
Bordeaux Day 3: The Magnificent City
Categories: Around France, Blog, Bordeaux, Loving Art, Loving Food, Loving History, New Aquitaine
When I was reviewing this wonderful Bordeaux blog again it occurred to me that with all our France plans in May/June (River cruise from Lyon to Avignon, visit to Uzes and on to Bordeaux, I hadn’t made hotel reservations in Bordeaux…eek! Any thoughts on places to stay? We’ll be there three days in June. Thank you.
Hi Elaine. I’m so happy for you about your visit to France. You have a wonderful tour planned. Glad you’re including Uzes and hope you’ll let me know when you’re here. The hotel in Bordeaux is very modest but clean, nice continental breakfast, gracious staff and a fabulous location near the Opera. Here’s a listing: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187079-d581110-Reviews-Hotel_des_4_Soeurs-Bordeaux_Gironde_Nouvelle_Aquitaine.html Enjoy!!
Super, Deborah! I want to go back. I haven’t been there for 25 years!
You must go back! It’s absolutely the best! Let’s make plans.
Great piece Deborah, your pictures and descriptions really do Bordeaux justice and make me want to hurry back!
Thank you, Lori. There are even more photos of more places. It’s an amazingly beautiful and meaningful place.
Excellent! Could you live there?
I think I could, Paula. Only drawback for me is that it’s a big city. I’d have to find a village nearby.
WOW you have finally out done yourself with this piece. The pictures are wonderful but more than the pictures you have made Bordeaux come alive and just make me and all your readers want to jump on any form of transportation to go for a visit. This is a great account of what the City has to offer.
This was a hard one to do, Rich. There are so many things I wanted to show and talk about…and that’s only from 3 days. Must go back!