I adore wine. And I especially adore Bordeaux wine. How would I not, after all? Bordeaux constitutes one of the top wine-producing locations in the entire globe. But there’s so much more to this fashionable French city. Although Bordeaux has built most of its tourist reputation around its vineyards, really is plenty to carry out outdoors of the vineyards.
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I didn’t say you should disregard the Bordeaux vineyards. In fact, you shouldn’t because there aren’t many things nicer on a warm Bordeaux day than driving through miles of ambling fields and vineyards. Bonus: there’s an adorable suitcase boot/trunk in case you wish to visit one of the vineyards and make a buy.
- Château La Chèze
Château La Chèze is in the heart of Bordeaux. You can enjoy the city atmosphere while having a sanctuary to retire to at the conclusion of the day at this 19th-century castle set away amongst 2 hectares of personal grounds.
Take an old military barracks and add street art, a skate park, bike polo craft brew, and an urban farm to create one of the city’s hippest hangouts. In fact, it’s a popular hangout among Bordeaux’s hipsters. Looking for a cold one? In a wine-producing region, a cold beer might be a welcome change. Even better if it’s an organic craft brew. Magasin Général, Darwin’s renowned bar and bistro-refectory, offers that.
- La Cité du Vin
La Cité du Vin, which opened in 2016, has been Bordeaux’s wine theme park by some, and I can’t think of a more wrong term. Yes, it’s humorous and interactive, but this world-class museum dedicated to the worldwide popularity of wine isn’t gimmicky. Tickets start at €20 and may be purchased beforehand on the La Cité du Vin website or on the day of the event. You can arrange wine lessons on the day if you arrive early and plan to attend an event later in the day rather than ‘right now’.
- Restaurant Le 7
Unlike most museum restaurants, Restaurant Le 7, La Cité du Vin’s house restaurant, does not serve stale sandwiches. You can enjoy panoramic vistas also to a gastronomic feast. Me? I was too preoccupied with the artwork that kept appearing on my plate to notice more than a passing glance at the city’s sights. And, yes, that is a sweet macaron with creamy blue cheese filling. More information and reservations can be here. For €25, you can sample the daily special as well as a glass of wine selected by the sommelier to complement your food.
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- Place de la Bourse
Miroir d’Eau – or water mirror for us non-francophones – has to be at the top of the list of free things to do in the city. A few millimetres of water skimming the surface of a swath of granite give the ideal setting for reflections. Whether you want a double image of the bourse, which it faces, or a different shot viewpoint, you’ll have a good chance of success with the water mirror. Paddling in shallow water on a warm day was the most fun for me, but I never got rid of my inner 5-year-old. The water mirror is open 24 hours a day, but take your shot when the water is quiet enough to seem like glass.
Did you’re aware there are plenty of beaches near Bordeaux? A short glance at a map will indicate that Bordeaux lies near the shore. Having lived up in the United Kingdom. Archachon is accessible by train from Bordeaux. The journey takes 51 minutes and costs €9. Trains depart from the city’s main station, Bordeaux-Saint-Jean. The beach is a 10-minute walk from Arcachon’s train station.