Castles and vineyards – a requisite pleasure
There are six wine routes in Bordeaux. Château Pape Clément and Château Haut-Bacalan open their wineries for tours followed by a tasting on excursions organised by the Tourist Office. The Route des Châteaux can be done by car, by bicycle or by boat.
The echo of the port sounds throughout the city’s old cobbled streets and along the banks of the Garonne as far as the Place de la Bourse. Bordered by grand hotels, history meets modernity in the ‘Miroir d’Eau’, a giant reflecting pool made of huge slabs of granite. Completed in 2006, it measures 3,450 square metres, making it the largest such pool in the world, with the dreamy nature of the reflections it produces enhanced every 15 minutes when the still waters are enveloped by an artificial mist.
Bordeaux residents’ love of walking is intimately linked to this rich wine culture. Five of the city’s designations of origin wines are amongst the most prestigious in the world. Unique neighbourhoods such as Saint-Pierre and Saint-Michel invite tourists to stroll and pause to enjoy a glass of ‘vin rouge’ while surrounded by historic buildings, most dating from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. But these days, the temptations go beyond fine wine: contemporary art at the CAPC museum, sweet vanilla canelés at any time, and neo-bistros such as ‘Jean-Mi’, where shellfish platters are served as jazz plays in the background. In the neighbourhood of Chartrons, the Rue Notre Dame is full of antique shops. Retro items connected to grape picking and ‘vintage’ Scandinavian pieces sit alongside art galleries and bohemian shops. The spirit of this unique blend comes together at ‘Cabanes & Chateaux’: pieces of boats, taxidermy and industrial furniture.