Located in the southwest of France near the Atlantic coast, Bordeaux is the sixth largest city in France and attracts more than 2,5 million visitors a year. The city has a busy and creative atmosphere with festivals, events and other cultural happenings. It certainly lives up to its name as the “City of Art and Culture”. Lovers of art prefer the museums with outstanding collections of artists such as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Verones, or the major modern art festival Novart Bordeaux in November. On the first Sunday of every month, Le bus de l’art contemporain (The modern art bus) tours all over the city to promote contemporary art. At each stop, passengers can listen to commentary by an art expert, and artists and gallery owners display their works.
Bordeaux has a lot to offer, but it’s for the wine the city is most recognized. In June, thousands of people come here to attend the Fete le Vin (Wine Festival) and Fete le Fleuve (River Festival). Lovers of film can postpone their visit to the autumn when the “Festival International du Film au Feminin” honors women in cinema and acts as a major event for national and international directors and screenwriters to present their work.
Although the high-tech tram and cruises departing from Quai Louis XVIII offer enjoyable sightseeing, the best way to explore Bordeaux is on foot. Stroll along the redeveloped waterfront by the river Garonne and stop for lunch at one of the excellent restaurants lining the river walk. Shoppers can head to Place de la Victoire and follow the pedestrian Rue Sainte-Catherine, Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street.
Bordeaux shopping street
The city’s neighborhoods all have their own personality. Visit the vibrant Saturday market in Saint-Michel, saunter along the narrow streets in Saint-Pierre (old Bordeaux), admire the chic boutiques and townhouses in Grands Hommes (the triangle), or enjoy the dynamic ambiance at the Colbert Sunday market by the quays in the Chartrons district. Afternoons are best spent in the gorgeous Jardin Botanique, the residential district Bordeaux-Caudran’s Parc Bordelais, Bois de Bordeaux by the Bordeaux Lac, or the neighboring Floral Park.
At night, several of Bordeaux’s remarkable historic monuments are floodlit to show off their beauty. Many of them are highlights along the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela and listed as World Heritage Sites.
What to Eat
Don’t miss the delicious green asparagus from the Landes or Mauve asparagus from the Blaye region. Ceps (wild boletus mushrooms) cooked with garlic and parsley, or the garlic soup “Tourin” with egg yolk are also worth a taste. For dessert, don’t miss the “canel”, a cake that is soft on the inside, but crisp on the outside.
How to Get There
Flights depart to Bordeaux from French cities and international destinations multiple times a day. Shuttle buses from the airport to the city center (Place de la Comedie) and the SNCF Saint-Jean train station leave every 45 minutes, seven days a week.
Bordeaux is located less than three hours from Paris by TGV high speed train, 45 minutes from the ocean and two hours from Spain.
Featured Image by JCS_IC2