A city brimming with typical French flair and style, Bordeaux is best known for its international wine production, though it has a lot more to offer than just great wine. Boasting over 350 historical buildings including gothic cathedrals, 18th century mansions and fairytale castles, Bordeaux has earned the lofty status of a World Heritage site in its own right and together with beautiful parks, award-winning art galleries and landscaped quaysides it´s an absolute must-see city in France.
Bordeaux has been regarded as La Belle Au Bois Dormant – the Sleeping Beauty – for a long time, but since the turn of the Millennium it has been rejuvenated and has well and truly woken from its slumber. The lively atmosphere has been amplified by the student contingent that throng the streets around Victoire quarter, one of the city´s largest squares and a good starting point from which to get your bearings.
But it is the Saint Pierre quarter at the heart of the city which is the place to be for the charming architecture and bustling pockets of gourmet restaurants, many of which can be found offering exquisite meals at affordable prices. It is also the location of the 15th and 16th century St. Pierre Church built on the site of the former Gallo-Roman port.
The focal point of the city is Saint Eloi quarter, home to the medieval Grosse Cloche that sits proudly next to the Saint Eloi Church. If shopping is your forte head for here to mill around the fashion stores and chic boutiques that line up along the mile long shopping street, Rue Saint Catherine. If you´re interested in antiques the shopping village in the Chartrons quarter is the place to be.
Art lovers will not be disappointed with the choice of art galleries and museums, with the magnificent Centre of Contemporary Art (CAPC) and the Musee des Beaux Arts the pick of the bunch. The Saint Michel quarter is a thriving multi-cultural hub and a great place for eating and drinking whereas the Station quarter is well known for its bustling nightlife and ample sex shops.
Walking round Bordeaux is a pleasure for its fascinating insights and wonderful architecture, but to see more of the city during your stay travel on the la navette du centre-ville, an electric bus service with no designated stops. It´s the only form of public transportation allowed on the pedestrian streets throughout the city centre and give visitors the added convenience of boarding and disembarking anywhere you like. Just wave your hand at the driver to get on and let him know to stop when you want to get off.
Travelling to Bordeaux by Ferry
Although Bordeaux is positioned on the coast, there has not been a direct ferry from the UK to Bordeaux for many years. You will need to sail to one of the northern French ports and drive through France.