For many centuries. Bordeaux has been known as “the pearl of Aquitaine” and it's easy to see why - after even just a short visit. It's a relatively compact place with a population of just 240,000 people, but that's not to say that it doesn't have grand sweeping avenues and some genuinely impressive architecture. Its location in South Western France also means that it has a kind climate, and one which is ideal for growing the grapes to make Bordeaux wine. In fact there are no less than 287,000 acres of vineyards in the area, and that's more than an acre for every single member of the population.
A great place to start exploring Bordeaux is from the grand Place de la Comédie. From here, grand streets lead out lined with the equally impressive 18th century buildings that have helped the area to be named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The centre of the city is dominated by the St André cathedral. The bulk of the construction is mostly from the 14th and 15th centuries, and perhaps the most notable features are its twin steeples. There are two excellent museums that are well worth a visit too - the Musée des Arts Décoratifs has extensive collections of porcelain, glass, ceramics and furniture that are typical of the region, whilst the Musée d' Aquitaine gives a good account of the maritime, commercial and agricultural history of both Bordeaux and the whole of Aquitaine. The city was of great tactical importance to the Germans in the Second World War and you can find evidence to this at the city's Submarine Base. This is one of five built by the Germans on the Atlantic coast as a safe mooring for U-boats. Today, it's been converted into an cultural centre with a wide programme of events. If you're hiring a car in Bordeaux make sure you also enjoy a vineyard tour or two, and make time to explore some of the dramatic Atlantic coastline.
Opening hours: Mo-Fr 0800-1200 1400-1700, Sa 0800-1200 1500-1800, Su closed.
Address: 26 Rue des Terres de Borde
Opening hours: Mo-Fr 0630-2330, Sa-Su 0700-2330
Address: Aeroport De Merignac
Opening hours: Mo-Th 0700-2100, Fr 0700-2200, Sa 0800-1800, Su 1000-1300 1400-1900
Address: Parking Armagnac,
1 rue d'Armagnac,
Vehicle return: 26 Rue des Terres de Borde