Things To Do In Bordeaux
Governed by Great Britain for over 300 years, the city of Bordeaux is a standout among the most un-French urban communities in France. This former sleepy town in France (dubbed as France’s “Sleeping Beauty) is currently a flourishing holiday destination and Mecca for wine lovers. The city's unfathomable vitality is supplemented by its row of interesting attractions to explore. On the Quinconces Esplanade you will find a column built since the 1820s and dedicated to the martyrs who were beheaded during the French Revolution. The highlight is the allegorical fountains on either side of the column and understanding the meaning behind the sculptures, the strength of all these presented characters and what they stand for and depict.
When To Go:
Bordeaux's real celebrations (wine, stream, and so forth) happens when tourism is at its peak season, however there are various littler ones which may be restricted to specific neighborhoods or parts of the city which you may discover for its interesting ways. The best time to see it depends on your interests and inclination. If you need to keep away from the chilly, moist climate then November through March is most likely not for you. The late spring climate of July and August can be truly hot (and has been getting more blazing these recent years), so if this is a worry you may need to look into this. Crowds can be substantial around harvest time, which is September and October, however in the event that you do not want to invest a considerable measure of time in the vineyards then this may not be an issue.
These are the popular things to do and great places to see in the city of Bordeaux…
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Place de la Bourse (Place Royale)
Place de la Bourse (Place Royale) in Bordeaux is a nice park that is located in the center of the town. It is lined with many restaurants in the immediate area. You can dine and admire the beautiful facades of 18th century buildings on this park. The classic U-shape design of the promenade area is beautiful along with the long line of similar built townhouses on the river side, on the site of the ancient city wall. It is a huge square filled with stunning structures overlooking the river. The place owes its fame to the water that surrounds it and the beautiful neoclassical buildings in the background; it is even more beautiful at night when the entire place gets illuminated.
The Palace Square Stock Exchange dates back to its creation in 1729. It is occupied by the Chamber of Commerce in the north and by the National Museum of Customs in the south. It overlooks the Garonne and beyond its magnificence in front there is a fountain dating back to 1869. Not far from here they have installed a modern fountain work and then just over the edge of the Garonne continues the square with a pavement from where the water comes out for a few cm, which alternates to the spray of water evaporated which create a haze of more than a meter.
This is where most people take the opportunity to cool off especially during summer as it creates a modern and striking impact with the background of the ancient palace.
The fountain that stands in front of the square along the river is really special. The vaporized water creates an extremely impressive effect and the body of water becomes a game for the young and old. It is relaxing and fun to walk barefoot in the water. It serves as a very quaint stop and becomes more special when the first light of the evening appears and you can see the complex on the opposite side of the road reflected in the water. It is a perfect place to take photos and visitors not only come here to capture its beauty and grandeur, but especially for the game of the water that reflects its beautiful palaces. The play of reflections on the water is beautiful and worth a stop. You get the feeling like being at the center of the world with the great use of freedom and space.
Miroir d'Eau de Bordeaux
The Miroir d'Eau de Bordeaux is a water surface in the middle of the city located in front of the Piazza della Borsa on the riverside. On a busy day, this place gets filled with children and other revelers who wallow in a few inches of water and admire the beautiful surrounding buildings that are reflected in this artificial pool which appears and disappears. The surface of water in front of the Place de la Bourse creates the effect of symmetry and beautiful lights, it is impossible not to stop in front of the nuances and try to capture everything in photo (with mixed results, depending on the ability to take pictures of course. It is also some kind of a magnet in the sense that it is difficult for the small and big ones to resist the temptation to run around in the few inches of water!
The idea is simple but very effective. In a continuous loop, the "fountain" is filled with a layer of water that is almost 2 cm high, and during this phase becomes the pool for children, adults, and tourists. Then it empties itself leaving a light layer of water that makes the fountain a mirror to the Place de la Bourse. Finally, the surface turn to vaporize the water and in the rare case of no wind applied it creates a fog effect about one meter high. Since it does not cost anything, it requires time to wait and attend the full course that is worth spending especially in the evening when the mirror effect with the square is lit creating a particular effect and great ambience.
Le Pont Jacques Chaban Delmas
The Le Pont Jacques Chaban Delmas is a brand new bridge that just opened in March 2013. It stands on the curve of the Garonne, at the bottom of Bordeaux and stands in opposite side of the Pont St.Pierre. Aside from seeing this bridge, you can stroll on the scenic riverfront full of bars, restaurants and shops made from old warehouses that once existed on the quay where large ships docked and transport goods. In the evening, the lighting makes this modern structure even more fascinating and mysterious. You can enjoy a nice relaxing walk as the bridge looks futuristic when it is all lit up in blue. There are four towers that dominate the structure on which it should be possible to climb with a lift .The exceptional elegance of the structure with its four pylons also adds to its functionality because it is a mobile bridge whose central part is raised precisely suspended when in use. It is a cool modern bridge that is adapted to the passage of large ships. Inside the pillars of the bridge you can see winding stairs leading to the top.
The new bascule bridge (a moveable bridge), Pont Jacques-Chaban-Delmas (the name pays tribute to the former mayor of the city who served Bordeaux between 1947 and 1995) in Bordeaux allow navigation through the Garonne River. It permits maritime traffic when the bridge raises its central part over 75 meters above the river. It is a studio project of the Ouvrages Architecture et d'art who devised this bridge that measure 575 meters long, with a lifting central span of 117 meters and 77 meters high pylons that allow the rise of its central span. It's beautiful and the best part of being there is while waiting for it to move in action as it rises up and allow the passage of large ships.
Grand Theatre - Opera National de Bordeaux
The Grand Theatre - Opera National de Bordeaux is a must for the music and culture enthusiast. Even a simple visit from the outside gives an impressive idea of the grandness of this theater given the attractive facade and the splendid looking colonnade. The Grand Theatre in the city center was built between 1773 and 1780 by architect Victor Louis in neo-classical architecture which is a perfect example of an Italian theater. The hall of the shows restored in the original décor is one of the most beautiful in the world. The facade has a portico with 12 columns, on which it is dominated by many statues representing nine muses and three deities. Today the theater is home to the Opera National de Bordeaux.
It is one of the finest classical buildings of France. The entire building measures 88 meters long and its auditorium is famous for its remarkable acoustics. Also imposing is its internal staircase.
The theater dominates the Place de la Comedie with its neoclassical colonnade and columns on the façade bearing the grandeur of a Greek temple. The square around it is a corollary prefect and it is wonderful to have a coffee or a drink while sitting in a cafe with a similar view. The night lighting is really impressive and given the low prices of the tickets and the beauty of the structure, do not miss the chance to spend an unforgettable evening to watch a classical show and world class performance.
St. Andre Cathedral (Cathedrale Saint-Andre)
The St. Andre Cathedral (Cathedrale Saint-Andre) is a fantastic church designed in its most flamboyant style. The splendid Gothic cathedral must be admired inside, but especially outside because of the minuteness of detailed work especially around the portal section; even the spires and flying buttresses are no different. It is easily accessible and can be visited thanks to a mega underground parking located right on the square outside.
Notre Dame Church (Eglise Notre Dame la Grande)
The Notre Dame Church (Eglise Notre Dame la Grande) was built in the late seventeenth century in the square du Chapelet near the Grand Theatre. In the past, it once belonged to the Dominican Order. The old church has a beautiful bas-relief depicting the Virgin Mary who delivered the rosary to St. Dominic at the top of the portal.
The architectural forms were inspired by those of the church of Jesus in Rome. In 1982, it was also restored outside finding the original color of the stone. It is a classified historic monument in Bordeaux since 1908.
Chateau Pape Clement
The Chateau Pape Clement is a beautiful winery, a classified vintage site that is simply outstanding with a cellar front of the castle in which every guest is welcomed by a gentleman and a lovely young woman who are both very professional. The Pope Clement House is worth a visit because they show a beautiful method of French wine making, a tour of the wineries, and the store that was created with elements of old Bordeaux pharmacy alone is worth the visit. The whole site is downright beautiful and offers the best vineyards in town. The staff is very accommodating. In addition, it is one of the few castles (maybe the only one) to have a cooperative group on site.
You will enjoy watching everything starting from the craftsmanship that perpetuates the best of French know-how on wines complete with the art and tradition. Their wine shop is very beautiful, and of course a taste of their excellent wine. Brunch is usually served on Sundays at the Château Pape Clement. You can also enjoy a guided tour of the cellars, observe the explanations on winemaking processes, savor the walk in the park with beautiful trees, taste the first wine in the beautiful setting of the shop, and partake in the "brunch" that is rich and delicious. It is interesting to discover this vineyard in the heart of Pessac that is less than 10 km from the center of Bordeaux. A visit to the cellars is exciting and remarkable. The environment is not only beautiful; it is also amazing to find this prestigious estate in the city. The tour ends with a wine tasting in the store which is very organized and well done.
Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux
The gates of the Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux and the so called big bell towers are part of the belfry of the old Bordeaux city hall. This monument was built in the fifteenth century base on the remains of the ancient gate of Saint Eloi with entrance to the city walls dating from the twelfth century. This door was the inescapable passage of Saint Jacques pilgrims to reach the road to Compostela. The big bell located above the door had important functions because it gave the starting signal of the harvest and served as an alarm in case of fire. This imposing bell weighs about 8 tons and dominates the passage with 2 m in height and diameter. Installation dates back from 1775, and you can just imagine the process during the time when workers need to lift this huge mass of bronze.
The central building is flanked by two round towers reaching 40 meters high and has at its center a golden leopard that symbolizes the Province of Guyenne including Bordeaux as the capital city. The clock is also a very nice 1759 timepiece with day and month; it is located below a beautiful sundial. This monument remains one of the finest in the city and has to be discovered from different angles, either via the Cours Victor Hugo or the turning lanes around the church of Saint Eloi. It is a remnant of the historic city, an architectural jewel that is accented by lights and a definite must see attraction especially at night!
Port of the Moon
The walk along the Port of the Moon in Garonne is a must for those staying in Bordeaux for a few hours. This area, recognized by UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been the subject of a successful redevelopment.
Walking on the wide sidewalk dotted with street lamps that look Chinese lanterns you can admire the wonderful buildings that line the left bank of the city, the huge flowing river that often change color, the Pont de Pierre and its seventeen arches, and the Porte de Bourgogne that marks the majestic access to one of the most beautiful parks of the city. The particular curvature of the river Garonne form a half moon and hence earning the name "the port of the moon".
Jardin Public is located in the monumental area of the city and you could not miss these gardens built in French style. The garden is encompassed by a beautiful gate that encloses them with pond, bridges, botanical gardens and huge old trees. It is absolutely one of the best stops to visit if you are in Bordeaux, a magical place to relax, spend time, jog, walk, or read a book. It is a very calm place, beautifully landscaped, very green, many flowers, and good to eat a snack and relax.
Tower of Pey-Berland
The Tower of Pey-Berland is definitely worth visiting if you want to have an overall view of the city of Bordeaux. This is the stone tower of 1400 that stands next to the beautiful cathedral of Saint-Andre and whose terraces (2 to be exact) can be accessed by addressing the 230 stone steps of the stairs. The climb is not very difficult but it sure is challenging especially for those who are afraid of heights; but it's worth it because the view from the top is really impressive. There are hours of entry (10:00 am – 12:00 pm and 14:00 to 17:30 pm) and there is an entrance fee (5.50 Euro) and keep in mind that sometimes there is a long queue because it can access up to 19 people at a time.
Bordeaux is a perfect example of a city that is still living in the past but keeps up with the times to live with modernity. The plazas and narrow streets offer the best starting point or a ballad of discovery to discover the old Bordeaux. Be guided by the smells and the colors in these picturesque streets. Along with a visit to the wineries, Bordeaux City is one of the best options to explore when in France.
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