Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.
The city of Bordeaux, with a population of 239,157 inhabitants in 2010, is the ninth largest city in France; its metropolitan area (aire urbaine) is the sixth largest in France, with a population of 1,127,776. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called “Bordelais” (for men) or “Bordelaises” (women). The term “Bordelais” may also refer to the city and its surrounding region.
The city’s nicknames are “La perle d’Aquitaine” (The Pearl of Aquitaine), and “La Belle Endormie” (Sleeping Beauty) in reference to the old center which had black walls due to pollution. Nowadays, this is not the case. In fact, a part of the city, Le Port de La Lune, was almost completely renovated.
Bordeaux is the world’s major wine industry capital. It is home to the world’s main wine fair, Vinexpo while the wine economy in the metro area takes in 14.5 billion euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of the 18th century.
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