>>>The ‘bouquet’ of Bordeaux
Foto: Anaka/ La Cité du Vin/ XTU arquitects

The ‘bouquet’ of Bordeaux

Celebramos la nueva excusa para dejarse seducir por el ‘charme’ de Burdeos.‘La Cité du Vin’, una maravilla arquitectónica que ofrece un merecido homenaje al vino de estas tierras.
t took Bordeaux 20 years to refresh its image and become one of the most beautiful cities in France. “Time also paints” wrote the artist Francisco de Goya, who spent his latter years there, and the past few years have certainly been kind to the city. Bordeaux has gone back to the future to refurbish its oldest neighbourhood, the ‘Port de la Lune’, which, at 1810 hectares is the largest port area in all of Europe and covers almost half of the entire surface area of Bordeaux. Here, the urban style has remained the same for more than two centuries, just one reason why UNESCO declared this part of the city a World Heritage Site in 2007.
When the mist stops, the ‘Miroir d'Eau’ allows you to see the reflection of the clouds at your feet.

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.
The multi-sensory room, the only one of its kind, mixes video, sound and smells, while you savour a glass of wine.
Foto: Anaka/ La Cité du Vin/ XTU arquitects

‘Savoir vivre’ amongst Michelin stars

The kitchens of Bordeaux are full of famous faces. At Le Pressoir d' Argent, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay adds his personal touch to classic French cuisine. Also essential are the dishes created by Tanguy Laviale at Garopapilles, established as a promise by the 2016 edition of the awards of the French gastronomy magazine Gault&Millau.

The city has become young again and is celebrating the fact with the inauguration of ‘La Cité du Vin’ – the city of wine. Half-way between a museum and a theme park, it sits right on the banks of the Garonne. Designed by Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières from the XTU agency, this iconic building has “a curved soul” that spins permanently and wraps around the different areas of its 14,000 square metres. Its daring shape is reminiscent of wine in a glass and the brilliant outer structure changes colour depending on the shade of light it receives at the different times of day. Inside: exhibitions, events and tastings. An invitation to journey through the different ages of wine. More than 9,000 bottles from all over the world will form part of its archive.
The bar in ‘Le belvédère’ holds tastings of 20 different wines every day.
Foto: Anaka/ La Cité du Vin/ XTU arquitects
At the top of ‘La Cité du Vin’ is the panoramic viewing point, ‘Le belvédère’, whose ceiling is decorated with a huge lamp made up of thousands of glass bottles. It offers tastings and has a restaurant serving cuisine from all over the world. From there, you can drink in a 360º view of the never-ending vineyards.
So many tastes, so many experiences, so much future potential – and all brought together in one single place.
“La Cité du Vin will be my Guggenheim,” decrees Alain Juppé, the Mayor of Bordeaux, and the people of France agree. ‘Avec la permission’ of Paris, they have picked Bordeaux as their favourite city and, with such a vibrant wine culture, you’d be hard-pressed to question their judgement.

Related articles

Gourmet Sarlat: straight to the liver

The capital of the Périgord Noir region in France attracts hungry visitors. Gastronomic jewels such as goose ‘foie gras’ attract...

Riding back to the 1930s

Fine wine, the songs of Edith Piaf and a gentle southerly breeze: We’re undoubtedly in France, But we’re also travelling...

Welcome to the Sun King’s party

The Versailles Festival (May 14 - July 14) brings splendour and melodies back to the French palace.

The battle that was the inspiration for Mordor

On 1st July 1916 more soldiers died than on any other day during the First World War. That was the...