Cworld-famous wine capital, city of Montaigne and Montesquieu, an 18th century architectural jewelein the 20th century, Bordeaux has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. And, in recent years, Bordeaux has become a metropolis undergoing a metamorphosis. It is committed to enhancing the value of its river and reviving its port tradition. On the other hand, it is anchored in modernity with bold architectural projects such as the Cité du vin, the multiplication of creative places and festivals. The one that follows the curve of the Garonne, called "the Port of the Moon" for its crescent shape, is a beautiful and proud city. And the arrival of the High Speed Line brings a new dimension to it.
The Bordeaux metropolis is reviving the Garonne and its banks. Its quays and banks have become playgrounds and key spaces in Bordeaux life. The 18th century facades have been renovated, the hangars converted into restaurants and shops, the Bacalan district and its basins are undergoing major changes and above all the water mirror, opposite the Place de la Bourse, is the largest in the world and offers a magical spectacle at sunset. The quays give themselves a second life and open up to events such as "Bordeaux celebrates the River" or "Bordeaux celebrates the Wine" in June. On this occasion, the Tall Ships Regatta will start from Liverpool, stop in Dublin and finish in Bordeaux. This renaissance led to new activities on the Garonne: stand-up paddle, sailing, jet-skiing, and even surfing. A river shuttle (accessible by pontoons to Les Quinconces, Les Hangars, and La Cité du Vin) is part of the transport network. Today, no less than eight companies organise cruises on the Garonne, the Dordogne or in the Gironde estuary
Wine in all its forms
Wine is present everywhere. Some of the façades of Place de la Victoire are even decorated with vines and Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion is an intramural wine estate. About twenty properties are also present, including the famous Château Pape Clément in Pessac-Léognan and the most famous Château Haut-Brion. Wine has inspired museums such as the Musée du Vin et du Négoce, the Ecomusée de la Vigne et du Vin, and above all the brand new Cité du Vin, 13,350 m2 and 55 metres high. Its unmistakable architecture, all in curves, evokes both the river, the wine that turns in the glass but also the knotty vine stock and the decanter. The golden glass flakes recall the blond stones of the Bordeaux façades and the aluminium panels the water of the river. The trip to the City is worth at least half a day. It is cultural, sensory, educational and fun. The permanent route occupies a circular space punctuated by 20 themes, most of which are interactive. An ergonomic headset triggers multimedia animations available in eight languages. The visitor is active or spectator, standing or sitting. Children have a suitable itinerary, but for young and old alike, this City is a different approach from all the other museums in the world. We go back in time and travel the globe to admire through a 3D projection the diversity of the wine landscapes, some of which are sometimes unknown. By means of a touch table you can meet 50 winegrowers from 10 regions of the world. Then it is the metamorphosis of the wine: working the vine, harvesting, fermentation, maturing, ageing. The stainless steel, wood and glass tanks are unveiled. The fun aspect comes with boarding a 50-seat boat that carried the wines on major river and sea routes. Archaeology is also being promoted by highlighting the great ancient wine civilizations from the Egyptians to the 19th century.
Solicitation of all senses
A buffet of the 5 senses awakens in us scents, colours, images, tastes before participating in the banquet of famous men. Pierre Arditi, actor and ambassador of the Cité du vin, finds himself immersed in the past with personalities who reveal their tastes in wine. Wine generates artistic creations that are discovered on the wall of trends (labels, bottles, packaging, etc.) but also in music, literature or painting. Three tables hosted by Franck Ferrand (historian), Hélène Darroze (starred chef) and Ariane Massenet (journalist) use wine to serve good food. The journey continues with leading experts who answer questions about health, marketing, law, etc. The visit ends with Bordeaux and its vineyards and a very beautiful film that emphasizes the symbiosis between wine and the port. There is also a reading room, a shop, a cellar, a wine and brewery bar and a snack bar. The 7 Restaurant offers a magnificent view of Bordeaux. The menu is based on regional and seasonal products revisited by flavours from around the world. The last stage leads to the belvedere for a glass of world wine and to enjoy the panorama.
During the visit all the senses are stimulated but the practice is another approach through workshops to be lived alone, in groups or with the family, which last on average 1 hour. The Discovery Workshop attracts mainly neophytes and beginners. The multi-sensory experience also awakens all the senses. Finally, the curiosity workshop is for those who like surprises. This time the wine is approached from a more cultural angle. More specifically, the "after work" workshops take place on the third Thursday of each month. They are led by experts around the tasting of four wines. An initiation, without alcohol of course, is planned for curious children from 4 to 7 years old. But wine is not conceivable without gastronomy and the Atelier des Chefs or the Atelier du Goût offer cooking classes.
A very famous gastronomy
The Atabula food site crowned Bordeaux as the best place to eat out in France in front of Paris and Lyon, and an American site ranks the city as "the most gourmet in the world". Its fame goes through prestigious chefs such as Gordon Ramsay or Philippe Etchebest but also through many restaurants and bistros. Among the most famous wine-based dishes: the Bordeaux rib steak grilled on vine shoots and topped with a sauce based on shallots and red wine or the Bordeaux lamprey cooked in a stewed manner with a Saint-Emilion. The region is also famous for its products such as asparagus, Bordeaux boletus, oysters from the Arcachon basin, pibales - or elvers - which travel 6,000 km from the Sargasso Sea before arriving fried with garlic and parsley on plates, Bazas beef or Pauillac sheep
A cultural abundance
Another marvel, a jewel case of gold and azure, is the Grand Théâtre in neo-classical style, completed in 1780, near the Grands Hommes district. The magnificent Palais Rohan has been the seat of the town hall since 1835. Charming narrow alleys, beautifully renovated squares, theatres of urban life, and beautiful neighbourhoods are full of surprises. Bordeaux museums collect high-quality collections. Among the most important cultural achievements of the 20th century, the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art is located in the former Lainé warehouses. Another recent achievement, the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute, is focused on modern and contemporary creation. The Underwater Base, a former bunker, hosts concerts ranging from opera to jazz or DJ sets, and exhibitions. The colourful and avant-garde housing of the workers of the Cité Frugès-Le Corbusier in Pessac, dating from 1924, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the houses is open to visitors. Finally, the Mollat bookshop opened the Ausone Station in homage to the Latin poet from Bordeaux. A 300-seat hall hosts readings, concerts, conferences and exhibitions. The emergence of the collaborative economy has not escaped Bordeaux and the spearhead is Darwin, on the right bank. In a former military barracks are grouped together urban farm, XXL skate park, spaces for graffiti artists, organic grocery store, restaurant, co-working, etc.. Les Vivres de l'Art is also part of this movement by welcoming artists in residence, opening shared gardens and a collaborative brewery. Cultural creation is also experienced through street art, the very active music scene and various events such as Agora, the Biennale architecture, urbanism and design and the WAC, the Week-end of contemporary art in September, the FAB, Festival international des arts de Bordeaux Métropole and So Good, the Festival de l'art de vivre et de la gastronomie in October.
When? When? All year round. Winters are mild, summers hot and sometimes stormy. Precipitation is more frequent in the spring and fall.
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