Ah, Bordeaux. Recognized as one of the 8 wine capitals of the world, it’s safe to say this quaint city in southwest France is known primarily for its fruits of the vine. If you don’t believe us, just pay a visit to the annual Wine Festival in June. But beyond the expanse of vineyards and world class bottles of Graves lies a city rich in history, architecture and the arts. And because this sprawling metropolis is relatively flat, it’s easy to set out on foot or on bike (VCub is the city’s handy public biking system) for a cool day of urban exploration.
Start with a visit to Place de la Victorie, or Victory Square. This important hub of both historic and contemporary significance is home to the Victory Arch and Theimer Obelisk, and is surrounded by trendy boutiques, cafes and a host of other popular meeting spots. From here, head north on the pedestrian Rue St. Catherine, checking out its myriad shops until you arrive at the impressive architecture of Bordeaux’s Grand Theater. Museum lovers have their choice of a variety of galleries including the Museum of Fine Arts and the one of a kind Contemporary Art Bus (see our link for details). Feel like indulging in some natural beauty? Relax in the sun or take a stroll along the paths of the Public Gardens (Jardin Public) or the Parc Bordelais, both prime locations for some scenic down time. There’s also the impressively open Quinconces Square, adorned at its rounded edge with an impressive fountain erected in memory of the Girondins who were beheaded during the later years of the French Revolution.
Speaking of the Girondins (also the name of Bordeaux’s football club), you may want to take in a game to experience the uncharacteristic thrill of Bordelaise soccer frenzy (a new stadium is currently under construction in preparation of the 2016 Euro Cup, but there’s still time to catch a match at the famed Stade Delmas). Or you could opt for a more reverential experience at any of the city’s beautiful religious structures, including the awe inspiring Bordeaux Cathedral and the 12th century Sainte-Croix Abbey. Whatever your preference, this sprawling metropolis of low-lying buildings has plenty of cultural attractions at its disposal to accompany its rich supply of phenomenal wines.