The French are famous for their style, their culture, their history and above all else; their wine. So if you find yourself wandering in the streets of Bordeaux in the southwestern part of France, consider yourself lucky; you will find all of the above harmonically intertwined.
Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it offers everything from breathtaking views and picturesque locations, to incredible museums and churches. Its current shape and form with the classical and neoclassical buildings was heavily influenced by the Age of Enlightenment during the 18th century. The most eye-catching site standing out is undoubtedly the Place de la Bourse. Built during the 18th century, the square oozes magnificence and no trip to the city is complete without setting foot here, if only for a selfie with the photogenic Fountain of the Three Graces.
Another simply unmissable spot in Bordeaux is the Mirroir d'Eau, also known as The Water Mirror. Designed by French architect Michel Corajoud and fronting the Place de la Bourse, Mirroir d'Eau is a spectacular and extremely expansive ‘pool’ that ingeniously reflects its grandiose surroundings. It is the most photographed site of the city so be sure to have your camera at the ready! Bordeaux is brimming with churches and museums, each of which have their own unique charm. Yet if you are pressed for time there are few places that shouldn’t be overlooked. Have a peek inside the 12th century Sainte-Croix Church, which also plays host to free organ concerts during summer. The flamboyant Gothic church of St Michel is equally impressive; ascend the tower for rewarding vistas. Museum-wise there are plenty to discover, but the pièce de résistance has to surely be the Musée d’Aquitaine. Through its numerous artefacts, this 18th century history museum portrays Bordeaux’s antiquity and influences, from the Romans to the Atlantic commerce and the slave trade.
Despite everything to see and do, let’s not forget about the wine! The Cité du Vin offers an innovative in-depth analysis on the subject of wine from all around the world! This splendid wine museum houses 800 wines - 200 of which originate in France and the rest from every other country in the world. A glass or two can be sipped at one of the three nearby tasting rooms.
As for retail therapy, the cosmopolitan confines of Bordeaux will not disappoint shopaholics. Stroll down the never-ending Rue Saint Catherine in the old city for a dizzying array of fashion brands, or for a quirky alternative in a revitalised medieval setting, head to the boutique stores and vintage shops in the nearby Place Fernand Lafargue. While in Bordeaux, to not purchase some wine would certainly be a crime! Why not visit the wine cellars and bars such as L’Intendant and choose from the 15,000 bottles on offer? And of course there’s the famous French cuisine. Featuring heavily on several menus, the seafood is divine - sample some fresh oysters or perhaps splurge in style on a lobster at La Petit Commerce, a Michelin-starred bistro. Alternatively, dine at Magasin Général, where everything is organic and sourced locally. But since you are in France, one of the most romantic countries in the world, Bordeaux is not short of restaurants to ignite such an ambiance. A candlelit dinner with a loved one at Bocca a Bocca will stimulate the taste buds, and is the fitting end to a hard day’s exploring one of France’s greatest cities.