A stop in Bordeaux and it already feels like staying. A fascinating cosmopolitan city, clean, cared for, full of life, it invites you to stroll around its streets full of history in search of charming corners, appetizing bistrots and good wine.
Around the year 48 a.d. the Romans introduced and cultivated vines in the area of St. Emilion to supply drink for its troops. Since then, Bordeaux has only grown to become one of the world’s best known wine capitals.
Opened to the public in 2016, the “Cité du Vin”, a spectacular museum dedicated exclusively to the history of wine around the world, attracts from the distance with its curved shapes and reflections on the river Garonne. Designed by XTU Architects, it was conceived with the idea of representing the soul of the wine; seen from afar it could resemble a giant wine caster. The inside is also impressive and the exhibition tells the story of wine through time and different cultures.
The city is also part of the Via Turonensis, the western French Way of St. James, of which three magnificent buildings stand out: the Saint-André cathedral, the Basilique of Saint-Seurin and the Basilique Saint-Michel, all three declared World´s Cultural Heritage by Unesco, and which are among the artistic wealth of the city which comprises more than 300 buildings declared of historical interest.
The old city of Bordeaux has beautifully integrated history and contemporary architecture. We find a good example in the 1998 building of the High Court of Justice designed by the team of Richard Rogers. This construction adapts and stands out in perfect harmony with the surrounding Château du Ha of 1454. With its see-through forms it wants to symbolize the transparency of French justice and the wooden wine vats characteristic of the region. Just by the Garonne river, we find the Miroir d’Eau signed by Michel Corajoud in 2006, an astonishing kind of fountain, a very shallow pool with mirror effect that reflects the façades of the Place de la Bourse and sprinkles water mist every fifteen minutes.
No matter in which direction we walk, along the city’s six gates, innumerable narrow streets and splendid wide squares, a stroll through Bordeaux becomes a treat to enjoy without fear of getting lost or tired as at anytime the modern tram will return us to our starting point. Around each corner there is a photo to take, a spot to discover and a bistrot to taste.
In a building dating from 1750, just off the Monnaie Gate that separates it from the quai of the same name and the Garonne river, we discover La Tupina Restaurant, run by a young team of entrepreneurs who are recovering the traditional Bordeaux cuisine. Absolutely delicious; the fricassee St Jacques, the oeuf-cocotte with foie-gras, the canard and the superb beef steak with cepes. The wine, in these lands, is supposed of course!
With an excellent taste of our visit and looking forward to returning soon, we bid farewell to this monumental city with a wink to Spain, one of the always brilliant sculptures of our international Jaume Plensa sits in Place de la Comédie next to the Grand Theater of Bordeaux.