Known around the world for its high caliber of wines, a visit to this French city reveals far more than just grapes and cellar doors. Bordeaux is a city loved by its residents for its laid back approach to life, and a progressive community of musicians and artists. Spurred by a large student population from one of France’s largest universities, the city has a vivid nightlife centered on the historic La Victoire district. The Garonne River provides a stunning backdrop to the picturesque city, and visitors to the city will love the scenic Les Quais quarter.
Bordeaux is a particularly flat city and, with 360 miles (580 kilometers) of paved cycling routes, a bike is the ideal mode of transport for visitors. Hire a bike from one of the many vendors in the city center, or make use of the city’s bike sharing program, with stations at regular intervals throughout the city. Bordeaux’s mild winters mean that bikes are a great way to see the city year round, although bringing a raincoat couldn’t hurt, even in summer.
The city’s major attractions are focused around its historic attractions and cultural institutions. Head to Sainte-Catherine Street in the pedestrian center of the city for excellent shopping and views, or climb the more than 200 steps to reach the top of the Basilica of St Michel’s gothic spire. The Musee D’Art Contemporain is a must for anyone with an interest in art, while those more interested in the outdoors will love Bordeaux’s botanic garden.
Once you’ve explored the city it’s time to sample its wares, and the vineyards around the city are a great place to start. The area is a world renowned region for wine production, and tours of the most famous wineries are available from the city center.
Bordeaux is located just 31 miles (50 kilometers) inland from France’s southwest coast. Bus or train to the city from Barcelona, Marseille or Paris, or fly to Bordeaux’s international airport from further afield.