Capital of the seafood-loving Aquitaine region, Bordeaux lies along the banks of the River Garonne, and is home to 362 magnificent monuments, several first class museums and a pedestrian shopping zone that’s over a kilometre long. This charming city has also been famous for fine wines since Roman times, and is still at the epicentre of today’s international wine trade. Get some inside information by visiting Bordeaux’s vintners where you can sample and buy sweet whites such as Chateau d’Yquem, and exclusive reds like Chateaux Margaux, and other top wines at hard-to-beat prices. But if you follow our tips and roam off the beaten track, you’ll discover there’s a lot more to buzzing Bordeaux than historical sights, great shopping and posh grape juice.
Main City Paris
Surface 49.36 km²
Density 4,779 /km²
Think bookstores are boring? Well, think again. Living up to its disreputable moniker, Bordeaux’s La Mauvaise Reputation (bad reputation) prides itself on promoting anything that’s avant-garde or cutting edge. Achingly hip, this far-from-musty paper-vending parlour is also the best place in town to catch art shows, live music gigs and a whole host of arty activities organised by the stores’ innovative team.
Bordeaux is all about fine wines, but what’s wine without good cheese? The wet dream of every mouse, Baud et Millet's boutique restaurant, tucked away in a Bordeaux backstreet, serves up 250 cheeses in every imaginable way. Order calvados flambéed camembert, mixed cheese tagine stew, roquefort soufflé, gooey fondue – or go for the mice’s favourite: an all-you-can-eat cheese buffet.
Chic Bordeaux has plenty of cool museums, but if you want to see the quirkiest, head for the one that tourists hardly ever visit: La Maison de L’Eau. Unique in France (and pretty rare elsewhere), La Maison de L’Eau water museum is a weird wonderland of wacky hands-on exhibits, wonderfully eclectic artefacts and a few wired experiments focussing on the – far from drippy – theme of H2O.