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.
LA MAISON DE L'EAU MUSEUM
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.
A STROLL ALONG THE RIGHT BANK
Fancy a pleasant walk along Bordeaux’s Right Bank? Get a bigger picture (and better pix) of this Unesco Heritage town by turning your back on the coach crowds surging towards the neoclassical Grand Theatre and other sights. Instead take a hike over Napoleon’s Pont de Pierre to the Right Bank, and wander through the botanical gardens to admire untrammelled views of Bordeaux’s beautiful baroque façades.
BAUD ET MILLET RESTAURANT
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.