France’s southern belle will charm you with her grand, classical architecture and fine wines. Sip a glass of Bordeaux wine at a sunny pavement café beneath the shade of a palm tree and take a trip out to a vineyard to find out what makes it so good. In the evening, take in the illuminated reflections of the Place de la Bourse and visit the opera for some of Bordeaux’s high culture.
Bordeaux is a sprawling city with the Historic Center at its heart and distinctive neighborhoods sprawling outwards like a web. Most of the places of interest can be found on the left bank of the Garonne River, segueing from historical significance to bohemian chic. Accommodation is similarly varied, from 5-star luxury to budget guesthouses, even rural retreats. Whatever your tastes and interests, amongst Bordeaux’s eclectic mix of districts, you’ll find one that’s perfect for you.
With the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe, Bordeaux is a shopping haven. Throughout its history, it has been a place of bustling trade merchants seeking to make their fortune in cloth and wine. Still today, there are the fine fashion houses of the Golden Triangle and the wine shops of Chartrons. A burgeoning alternative shopping district exists around the Place Fernand Lafargue, where rock chicks and libertarians will find boutiques to suit their style.
From fresh seafood to sweet patisserie, Bordeaux is a true foodie city. It is home to a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, where the finest local ingredients are transformed into dishes of spellbinding originality. Just as important, however, are the more down-to-earth bistros, where simple, traditional dishes are served the way they always have been, true to the Bordeaux heritage. Then there is the exciting immigrant food scene shaking up cuisine in Saint-Michel.
Once a rather grubby urban sprawl, Bordeaux has cleaned up its act – years of grime has been stripped from its historic buildings, revealing a sparkling grandeur which is deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage title. Meanwhile, the previously downtrodden docklands have been given a new zest of life with art galleries and independent, creative shops springing up in the old warehouses. Fortunately, there is a speedy tram system to shuttle you around these distinct districts.
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