Bordeaux has been named the best European travel destination of 2015 in an online competition that attracted nearly 250,000 votes. The town beat competition from Lisbon and Athens, which came second and third respectively. It is safe to say that Bordeaux, one of France’s most elegant cities, is a key destination for everyone interested in French culture.
Bordeaux: a dynamic and sophisticated city
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne river in the Gironde department ocated in the South-West of France. It is also the capital of the Aquitaine region. The population is 239,399 but together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Bordeaux forms the 6th largest metropolitan area in France with a population of 1,140,668. The historical part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble"of the 18th century. Bordeaux is also the world's major wine industry capital.
Bordeaux is a historical city with many tourist attractions. The city's nickname is "La perle d'Aquitaine" because a part of the city “Le Port de La Lune” was almost completely renovated. Additionally, Bordeaux is classified as "City of Art and History". The city is home to 362 historic monuments with some buildings dating back to Roman times. In Bordeaux you can also find one of Europe's largest 18th-century architectural urban area, making it a sought-after destination for tourists and cinema production crews alike.
Among these treasures is “les Quais” , the waterfront perfectly suited for a relaxing walk on the shores of the Garonne. The Jacques Chaban-Delmas lift bridge, “la Victoire” where student life resides and the Gambetta Square also named “Little Paris” which is a public garden. However, Bordeaux's most popular tourist attraction is the Water Mirror which can be found across from Place de la Bourse . The Water Mirror is a spectacular pool which alternates between a mirror effect and artificial misting in an extaordinary way.
Also, the “Saint Pierre” district gathers beautiful buildings lining the quays before seeing anything else. The “Grand-Théâtre” is a marvellously elegant monument, which has delighted visitors and been the pride and joy of Bordeaux for over two centuries.
Eventually, if you want to go shopping, Bordeaux has the Rue Sainte-Catherine. This pedestrian only shopping street boasts 1.2 kilometres of shops, restaurants and cafés; it is also one of the longest shopping streets in Europe. For those who wish to make the most of their stay, the Bordeaux CityPass gives access to numerous monuments and cultural attractions.
Bordeaux: the epitome of the French lifestyle
Bordeaux is well-known for its wine. It has about 116,160 hectares of vineyards, 57 appellations, 10,000 wine-producing châteaux and 13,000 grape growers. With an annual production of approximately 960 million bottles, Bordeaux produces immense quantities of everyday wine as well as some of the most expensive wines in the world. The Médoc, with its famous châteaux, is located northeast of the city, whereas the Graves and Sauternes regions are to the southeast. The beautiful medieval town of Saint-Emilion is situated to the north and east of Bordeaux and, further west, the towns of Blaye and Bourg, linked by a corniche, overlook the estuary.
Also, Bordeaux sits just 45 minutes from Arcachon Bay, famous for its delicious seafood and superb beaches. The Basque Country and Spain are only 2 hours away and in 3 hours you can be on the Pyrenean ski slopes.
Last but not the least, Bordeaux is considered a very tolerant and relaxed place. No one will bother you about your political beliefs, religion, or sexual orientation. Bordeaux is often referred to as "Little Paris" and the rivalry between the "Bordelais" and "Parisiens" is a hot subject.
Bordeaux is a great city for learning about French culture, consider visiting cinemas such as Utopia or going to the city library in Meriadeck. The Bordeaux University, located a few kilometres south of town, offers a wide variety of courses, from science to humanities, from beginner classes to high-level research. The laboratories are among the best in France. It is possible to take French courses there in the summer, with Erasmus students. The “département de français langue étrangère” (DEFLE) is attached to Université Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux III. It offers both semester and vacation courses in French for foreign students.
Edited by: Dina Rokic