travel guide

The beauty of Bordeaux

Apart from its fame that derives from its famous wines, Bordeaux is a very interesting city of France with rich history and many attractions. Back in history Bordeaux was founded first by the Gauls under the name Burdigala. During the Roman times the city was a provincial Roman garrison’s camp. In the surroundings of the industrial suburbs of Bordeaux there are some remains of the old Roman settlement and the ruins of a medieval wall. During the Middle Ages from 1154 – 1453, Bordeaux was the capital of the Aquitaine province, that was held by the English. Since those times the city was a busy port mainly for wine exports. 

The architectural style of the city is based mainly to the work of planners and architects of the eighteenth century with baroque churches, large squares and wide streets. The region around Bordeaux, the capital city of the department of Gironde in south western France , is flat or gently rolling, is devoted to winegrowing. Bordeaux that lies on the west bank of the river Garonne, is rather a quiet town, with many interesting buildings. Some of the main tourist attractions of the city are the Quais, situated at the area of the old harbour of Bordeaux from where you can take a trip on the Garonne on a river barge, the Place de La Bourse, the Grand Theatre and the Cathedral of St Andre as well as the Victoire (Victory in English) one of the most popular areas of the city equivalent with the Latin Quarter of Paris. Getting around Bordeaux its easy with buses, trams and taxis as well as with bikes.

Though the sea is over 90 km away, the city is accessible with river boats because Garonne river is navigable above the city of Bordeaux by river barges and is connected through the canal du Midi to the south with the Mediterranean sea. You can get to Bordeaux by TGV trains from Paris or by air with flights at Bordeaux’s airport Bordeaux-Merignac. North of Bordeaux in the Medoc country, are the claret wines that have made Bordeaux a household word. In the Medoc area as well as around Bordeux there are many wineries where you can taste the world famous wines of Bordeaux especially the Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Medocs, Margaux. To the south are the dry white Graves and the sweet white Sauternes. Each chateau has its own vineyards, and many can be visited.
To the South lie the great pine-forests of the Landes, the Mauriac country, bordered by miles of unspoilt Atlantic beaches. To the N. is the brandyproducing district of Cognac, and some interesting cities: Poitiers, Angouleme, and La Rochelle of Huguenot fame.
East of Bordeaux, the Perigord and the valley of the Dordogne form one of the most fascinating regions of France. The scenery is green and hilly, and often bizarre, with great limestone rocks, ravines, and underground caverns. Here man has left his earliest European traces: the Lascaux Caves, with their murals thought to be 40,000 years old, are now closed to the public, but you can study prehistory in the museums and caves at Les Eyzies. It is also worth visiting Roc-Amadour, a pilgrimage centre in a dramatic setting on the side of a ravine, and the great cavern of Padirac. All around the Dordogne there are splendid Romanesque churches and Renaissance buildings, often tucked away in villages. To the N. of the area, in Limousin, is Limoges, the porcelain centre, with its fine Gothic cathedral, and Aubusson, where the tapestry industry still thrives.
The Dordogne is a remote, unspoilt, intimate region, like none other. It is also one of the cheapest parts of France, with charming little hotels. Though the great specialities, truffles and foie gras, are usually expensive, simpler country cooking in local inns offers fine value.