Read about the city

Bordeaux in the South West of France is a wonderful experience with lots of both architecture and gastronomy. It is a city known for the good life in the region and for the many beautiful buildings you can see here. In France, only Paris offers more so-called Monuments Historiques than Bordeaux.

The name Bordeaux is of course known from the world of wine, and as the center of a famous wine-producing region, Bordeaux has a significant influence on the world of wine. However, Bordeaux is also much more than wine and good food, and many lovely walks await in the streets.

The city's large squares along the western bank of the Garonne are landmarks of the city. The beautiful 18th century buildings on the Place de la Bourse and the colossal Place des Quinconces are the most famous, and if you move further into the city center, you can see the cathedral and other interesting buildings.

The area around Bordeaux offers many opportunities for good day trips. There is never a long way to new wine districts, and here are beaches, magnificent scenery and thermal baths. You can also visit the small and large southwestern French cities or cross the Spanish border to eg San Sebastián.

Other attractions

Grand Theatre, Bordeaux

  • The Grand Theater/Grand Théâtre: Bordeaux's beautiful theater building was designed by Victor Louis and inaugurated in 1780. The neoclassical façade has 12 Corinthian columns bearing 9 figures of 9 muses and the goddesses Juno, Venus and Minerva. The beautiful interior is also a worth seeing.
  • Rohan Palace/Palais Rohan: Palais Rohan is the name of Bordeaux's fine town hall building, which was completed in 1784. It used to be the archbishops' residence, while today it is both a town hall and an art museum; Museum of Fine Arts.

Pont de Pierre, Bordeaux

  • Pierre Bridge/Pont de Pierre: Pont de Pierre was conceived and designed under Napoleon I's rule, but was not built until 1819-1822. The bridge was constructed with 17 arches; the number corresponds to letters in Napoleon Bonaparte's name. It was the only bridge over the Garonne until 1965.
  • Cailhau Gate/Porte Cailhau: This is a beautiful gatehouse built in 1494 to commemorate King Charles VIII's victory over Italy at Fornovo. The 25 meter/82 foot high gate was built into Bordeaux's defensive walls.
  • Pey Berland Tower/Tour Pey Berland: This tower was built in the years 1440-1500 as a bell tower for the cathedral, which could thus be spared from tremors from the bells. However, the church did not have money for the bells until 1790, when production began.

Church of the Holy Cross, Bordeaux

  • Church of the Holy Cross/Église Sainte-Croix: This fine Romanesque church was built in the 1000-1100s as a church for an abbey in the Benedictine order. In the church there are i.a. works by Guillaume Cureau.
  • Saint Michael's Basilica/Basilique Saint-Michel: Saint-Michel is a Gothic church built in the 14th century to the 16th century. The free-standing bell tower is 114 meters / 374 feet high and is a distinctive part of the city skyline.
  • Basilica of Saint Severinus/Basilique Saint-Seurin: Saint-Seurin is a large Romanesque basilica from the 1000s-1200s. There was a former temple on the site, which was destroyed by Vikings in the ninth century. In the church you can e.g. see beautiful glass mosaics, an archeological crypt and chapels built in the 1300s-1400s.

Grosse Cloche Clock Tower, Bordeaux

  • La Grosse Clock Tower/La Grosse Cloche: This is a 40 meter/131 foot high bell tower from the 15th century, built as Bordeaux's town hall tower. The tower's large bell dates from 1775 and weighs 7,750 kilos/17,000 lbs.
  • BETASOM: BETASOM was a submarine base built by the Italian navy during World War II. From here, Italian submarines participated in battles in the Atlantic 1940-1943. In the years 1943-1944, the German Kriegsmarine used the base.

Aquitaine Museum, Bordeaux

  • Aquitaine Museum/Musée d’Aquitaine: At this museum you can experience many parts of the history of the city of Bordeaux and the Aquitaine region, which are depicted through fine exhibitions with many interesting finds, paintings, etc.
  • Bordeaux Botanical Garden/Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux: In Bordeaux you can visit this botanical garden, which was founded in 1858. However, there had been a medical garden as early as the 17th century. Today you can see plants from Aquitaine and from both America and Asia.
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Bordeaux, Gironde, France

Top attractions

Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux

  • Exchange Square/Place de la Bourse: This is perhaps Bordeaux's most famous landmark; the large and beautiful square that lies along the banks of the river Garonne. The square was laid out in 1730-1775 and was adorned with a statue of Louis XV, which was destroyed during the French Revolution. You can see is a beautiful example of 18th century French architecture around the square.
  • Quinconces Square/Place des Quinconces: This square is one of Europe's largest squares. It was laid out in 1820, and you can see several monuments here. Two rostral columns at the Garonne symbolize trade and navigation, while the Monument aux Girondins from 1902 commemorates the revolutionary politicians called the Girondins.

Bordeaux Cathedral

  • St. Andrew's Cathedral/Cathédrale Saint-André: Bordeaux Cathedral is a beautiful church, originally consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1096. However, the current building dates mainly from the 14th and 15th centuries. The architectural style is Gothic.

Museum of Fine Arts, Bordeaux

  • Museum of Fine Arts/Musée des Beaux-Arts: This is one of the largest and finest art galleries in France outside Paris. The museum was founded in 1801 and is known for the collection of French and Dutch painters. You can see works by i.a. Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Auguste Renoir and Pablo Picasso.
Trips in the area

Arcachon, France

  • Arcachon: The town of Arcachon is located on the bay of the Bassin d’Arcachon, where you can see the great differences in the tide; you can see houses on stilts and several other things. The town itself is cozy and a popular excursion destination in the summer.
  • Saint-Émilion: This is almost the epitome of a cozy, French village in a famous wine district. There is a lovely atmosphere in the city, whose Romanesque churches are worth seeing and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Cognac: The town of cognac has given its name to the world-famous type of alcohol that can only be produced here in the district. In the town you can experience a cozy, old town center with houses from the 1400s-1700s.
  • Lascaux Caves/Grotte de Lascaux: Near the town of Montignac you can visit the cave system of Lascaux, which is famous for about 600 cave paintings that are believed to be about 17,000 years old. The site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • La Rochelle: La Rochelle is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean. The city is beautiful with a nice atmosphere and several sights. You should see the area and the towers of the old port, the Grosse Horloge city gate and the German submarine base at La Pallice.

Ré Island, France

  • Ré Island/L’Ile de Ré: This is an island of 85 km² / 33 mi², located in the Atlantic Ocean off La Rochelle. The island is known for salt production, long lovely beaches and a nature reserve that attracts many migratory birds.
  • Gironde Estuary/Estuaire de la Gironde: Close to Bordeaux, the rivers Dordogne and Garonne run together, and on a stretch of about 80 kilometers/50 miles from Bordeaux to the Atlantic Ocean, you can see the Gironde estuary. You can sail on it from Bordeaux and experience an interesting landscape with several islands, cities and the lighthouse Phare de Cordouan.
  • Dax: Dax is a small town that has been known for its baths and springs since Roman times. You can see ruins from the Roman era, and the city is still a spa town with lovely thermal baths around the city's warm water.
  • Biarritz: Biarritz is a distinguished and well-visited seaside resort located close to the border with Spain. Here is the famous Hôtel du Palais, which opened in 1855 for the Empress Eugénie. Biarritz is also known for its surfing, and the city was the first place in Europe where surfing took place.

San Sebastián, Spain

  • San Sebastián: The beautiful city of San Sebastián, also known as Donostia, is located in the Spanish part of the Basque Country. The city offers countless sights and a scenic location with the bay and La Concha beach in the center.
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