Bordeaux may be most famous for its wine, but the city on the banks of the Garonne River has much more to offer holidaymakers than just some excellent tipples. There are some wonderful historical and cultural attractions here, as well as fascinating museums and outstanding restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal washed down with a complementary wine.
The best way to get around in Bordeaux is on foot, with a large area of the city centre now pedestrianised. In fact, approximately half of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its outstanding architecture. You can also enjoy shopping in its varied array of stores, or escape from the hustle and bustle by spending some time in the beautiful Jardin Botanique.
Sightseeing in Bordeaux
As you may have guessed, there are a lot of monuments worth looking out for during a city break in Bordeaux. The following is far from an exhaustive list, but should give you a good overview of the main sights.
• Basilique Saint-Seurin - This basilica is predominantly Romanesque in design, but also displays elements of Gothic architecture. The exterior is astounding, so take plenty of time to admire it before heading inside to view its amazing sculptures.
• Cathedrale Saint-Andre - You can't miss the Cathedrale Saint-Andre, the oldest part of which dates from 1096. The gargoyle-covered belfry is particularly spectacular.
• Quinconces Square - The main reason to stop off at this square is to see the fountain monument to the Girondins, which features a huge bronze statue that was restored following the end of World War II.
• Victory Arch - This piece of Roman architecture harks back to Bordeaux's early history and is worth a visit if you're in the La Victoire district.
• Musee d'Aquitaine - Bordeaux is home to several museums, but if you only have time to visit one make it the Musee d'Aquitaine. The Gallo-Roman statues are among its best exhibits, but there are artefacts on display here that date back more than 25,000 years.
• Aquitaine Bridge - Walk across this famous bridge, or view it from the water on a cruise along the Garonne River. The latter option is a great way to get an overview of Bordeaux's beautiful skyline.
Discovering Bordeaux's vineyards
Of course, no trip to Bordeaux would be complete without venturing to at least one of its famous vineyards. There are numerous tours into the wine-producing region that you can join as part of your holiday in Bordeaux, with the Saint Emilion, Medoc, Graves and Sauternes vineyards all opening their doors to visitors. All of the tours, naturally, include the opportunity to sample some of the vintages on sale.
Depending on when you book your flights to Bordeaux, you may also discover you can attend one of the summer wine festivals that celebrate all things viticulture. For a greater insight into wine making, spend a few hours at the Musee du Vin et du Negoce, where you can learn about the history of the wine trade and production process.