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Bordeaux, France

Monday, July 15, 2013 14:16
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Bordeaux, France (5/7-11/2013) – Bordeaux is is considered by many to be France’s most beautiful city. We loved it!

Grand Theatre Modern Tram in Place de la Comerre Bordeaux France
Grand Theatre & Modern Tram 
in Place de la Comerre – Bordeaux, France
Shopping Avenue in Old Town Bordeaux France
Shopping Avenue in Old Town – Bordeaux, France

Having gone through a recent make over, Bordeaux is truly a European gem blending Old World elegance with modern city design. The Old Town has a Paris-like feeling with beautiful architecture and a lively young feel to it. There is music in streets and wonderful restaurants with good value meals (fixed fare with options). There are also beautiful gardens with trees, clean efficient trams, and it is safe to wander at night. For the shoppers, Pat says there are beautiful windows to view.

Old Town Street Bordeaux france
Old Town Street – Bordeaux
Bordeaux Monumental
Bordeaux Monumental

Most of Bordeaux’s interesting attractions are in the relatively small eighteenth-century center Old Town that can be easily explored by walking its pedestrian-only streets. The narrow streets of the eighteenth-century city are lined with grand mansions from Bordeaux’s glory days. The whole city center was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, the largest urban site in the world.

Grand Hotel de Bordeaux france
Grand Hotel de Bordeaux
Some good things to do in Bordeaux’s old town center is to walk along the Sainte-Catherine street and enjoy the scenery. There is a beautiful square by the Grand Theatre (see photo) where you can sit, have a drink, and watch the world go by. The Cathedrale St-Andre dates back to 1096 and lords over the city where you can climb the tower’s 231 steps for a spectacular view of the city.
French Restaurant Off St Pierre Square Bordeaux France
French Restaurant Off St Pierre Square – Bordeaux, France

Travel tip… For several nights in a row we went to area around the street Rue Pt St Pierre, St Pierre Square, and the attached streets that is a very active area for bars and many nice restaurants.

French Restaurant Off St Pierre Square Bordeaux France
Jardin Public Park – Bordeaux, France

Located just north of Bordeaux’s old town center, Jardin Public Park is a very nice refuse from the city noise with gardens, bridges, and small lakes (see photo). Built in 1855, the botanical garden is the perfect place to take a walk around its many paths, or just sit and relax.

Wonderful French Food france
Wonderful French Food!

As the capital of the region, the city of Bordeaux is both the commercial and cultural center of southwest France. Bordeaux is also in the middle of one of the great wine regions of the world – Médoc to the northwest, Sauternes lies to the south, and Pomerol and St-Émilion to the east. With over 5,000 chateaux (wineries) in 57 wine appellations to choose from, it’s a wine lovers dream.

Pat at L'Entrecote Restaurant Bordeaux France
Pat at L’Entrecote Restaurant – Bordeaux, France
A unique experience we had was on a day we returned from visiting a famous wine region in the area. People were starting to line up in front of a restaurant so we got in line. It was then that we met a man from Belgium who was visiting his daughter. He told us that this restaurant was all the rage in Bordeaux. And we liked it. The L’Entrecote, located near the Grand Opera House in the center of the town, serves only steak with a delicious secret sauce with an abundance of perfectly crisp fries and nice simple salad. The wine (only one choice) is very good. Get there early because the line can wrap around the block.
Monument Aux Girondins - Bordeaux, France
Monument Aux Girondins – Bordeaux, France

Travel tips when visiting Bordeaux city and wine region… The lack of public transportation to most of the chateaux (wineries) means that it is best to explore the region in your own car or sign up for tours that can be arranged in the tourist office in Bordeaux. Make sure you have good directions north out of Bordeaux to the Medoc D2 wine route – it is easy to get lost.

Bordeaux Map france
Bordeaux Map
Lobby of Grand Hotel de Bordeaux

Where to stay… You can use Bordeaux city as a base to explore the famous wine regions that surround it. Hotels, called Chambres d’hôtel in the wine regions, although very quaint, are more expensive and there is not much to do at night. To save money on hotels and parking-hassles, we recommend staying in the La Bastide area across the river with easy-to-find free parking. You can walk to the old town of Bordeaux in about 20 minutes or take a boat or tram ride to the old town. If you need information or a hotel reservation, drop by the friendly Tourist Center. They were very helpful to us.

French Flag france
French Flag

Some history… Bordeaux was under English rule from 1154 to 1453 and was the seat of the French government in 1914 and again in 1940. Bordeaux is the trading center of a notable wine-producing region.

Please see our other 9 travel posts on beautiful France:

Paris, France
Loire Valley, France
Mont Saint Michel & Saint Malo, France

Strasbourg in Alsace, France 
Alsace Wine Villages, France
Burgundy & Cote d’Or Wine Country, France 
Chablis, Dijon, & Vezelay, France
Champagne Route, France
Reims – Champagne Capital, France

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