Standing on the bend of the Garonne, Bordeaux is called the city of the moon. Back in the 1st century AD, at the behest of Caesar, it became the capital of Aquitaine, and remains so to this day. Millions of tourists come here to admire the charm of French Provence, taste delicious dishes and walk along the picturesque streets.
What to do in Bordeaux
The city is famous no less than the French capital. Entire neighborhoods of Bordeaux with streets and squares are included in the UNESCO heritage list as international values. The residents themselves carefully preserve the monuments of their past, and the city has strict laws.
Architecture lovers come here to look at the Old Town with basilicas and cathedrals, take a leisurely walk along the narrow stone streets, take pictures against the backdrop of palaces and towers.
Cozy restaurants with delicious national cuisine attract romantics and dreamers. Art connoisseurs visit countless museums, art galleries, exhibitions and monuments to various events that are countless in the city.
Athletes and families with children will enjoy walking along the embankments, engaging in active water sports, visiting zoos, dolphinariums and amusement parks.
Cathedral Saint André
The city’s cathedral was built in honor of St. Andrew. In the Orthodox tradition, it is customary to call him the First-Called, since he is the first whom Christ called after him.
The building was erected in the early Middle Ages on the site of the lost shrine of the 9th century, but after two hundred years the temple began to collapse. In 1130, a nave was added to the cathedral and the north portal Porte Royale was added. The pediment was decorated with sculptures depicting scenes of the Last Judgment. The decoration of the newly added parts of the cathedral was strictly monitored by Bishop Geoffroy Lonou, so the nave and the portal were made in accordance with the Angevin Gothic style.
The cathedral was reconstructed several times, acquiring more and more modern features. Nevertheless, the masters tried not to mix Gothic with other stylistic solutions.
Church of Our Lady
In another way, it is called Notre Dame in Bordeaux. The church was built at the beginning of the 18th century in the Baroque style. From the outside, the building really resembles one of the main attractions of France — Notre Dame Cathedral.
The facade is richly decorated with sculptural compositions and bas-reliefs. The image of the Virgin Mary flaunts in a figured stained-glass window. Inside there are arched galleries, on the walls of the church there are elegant frescoes made by masters in the 18th-19th centuries.
Basilica of Saint Serin
The cathedral is named after the saint who was the patron saint of the city. During his lifetime, he was the fourth bishop of Bordeaux. The building was erected in the 6th century, consecrated several times, in particular, after restoration in the 9th century, the building was destroyed by the invasion of the Normans. Reconstruction was carried out in several stages over two centuries.
It was in the early Middle Ages that the church was decorated with neo-Gothic elements — stucco and paintings. Today, the Basilica of Saint Serin attracts with its museum. The crypt (underground part) contains frescoes, marble sarcophagi, the ashes of the patron saint of Bordeaux, capitals, amphorae and the horn of the knight Roland.
Church of the Holy Cross
The locals call it the Church of the Holy Cross. Construction was completed in the early Middle Ages. A shrine was erected next to the monastery, the age of which has not been established.
The first mention of the cathedral in official sources was associated with the death of Saint Mommolen. During the French Revolution, the church housed not warehouse supplies, as was common, but medical wards. The institution received the status of an Orthodox church only in the 19th century, and before that it also functioned as a school of fine arts.
Restoration was carried out by Paul Abadi — he gave symmetry to the appearance of the shrine. The Church of the Holy Cross hosts concerts of classical and organ music due to the good acoustic characteristics of the building.
Basilica Saint Michel
The Cathedral of Saint Michael stands on Place Menard near the Pont du Pierre. The basilica was not erected immediately — the construction dragged on for two centuries. The building was designed by J. Leba.
Saint Michel is designed in an unusual stylistic solution “flaming gothic”. Behind the main building is a bell tower, the central tower of which is over 100 meters long. This is one of the tallest temple structures in the world.
Saint Paul’s Cathedral
The Catholic Cathedral, named after Saint Peter, was built in Bordeaux in the 19th century on the site of a destroyed church. The facade of the building is made in the Gothic style: the central portal is equipped with three arches, decorated with sculptural compositions. Among them are angels, prophets, plant motifs. In the central window — the image of the Virgin.
On the territory of the cathedral there are three chapels, one of which is decorated with a gilded wooden sculpture of St. Paul, the other two — statues of God the Father and St. Peter.
Grosse Cloche Tower
In the Middle Ages, the tower was part of the city’s defensive structures. According to official data, it was built in the 15th century on the site of the lost gate that stood at the entrance to Bordeaux. Gross Klosh is considered a symbol of the city — it is not for nothing that it is depicted on its coat of arms.
The building acquired its current appearance in the 18th century, when the cone-shaped roofs were completed. On the north side, the facade is decorated with figures of mythical gargoyles, in the center there is an astronomical clock, by which the townspeople check the time.
The area is located near the Garonne embankment. All its buildings are designed in a single baroque architectural style, which took shape in the 18th century. The square was designed by the architect A.Zh. Gabriel. It houses the Customs Museum and the Exchange Palace — both buildings overlook the Fountain of Mirrors. An unusual structure is a flat surface that is completely flooded with water.
The main attraction of Birzhevaya Square and its main pride. Atomizers built into the surface turn water jets into small droplets that actually dissolve in the air. Due to this effect, it seems that the parade ground is immersed in a foggy haze. The surface of the Mirror reflects the sculptures of Mercury and Minerva, located on the facade of the ancient Ferm Palace.
Bridge of Jacques Chaban-Delmas
The bridge, named after the former Prime Minister of France, spans the Garonne River, which flows through the center of the city. It was built in 2013. The grand opening took place not only in front of the local public, but also with the participation of government officials — the President of France and the mayor of the city.
The design is equipped with an elevator that is able to lift passengers to almost 50 meters in height. The Chaban-Delmas bridge is a drawbridge. Once every few days, tourists and locals admire this spectacle.
The building is located on the square, which bears the same name. The tower was built in honor of Archbishop Berlan, who at one time founded a higher educational institution for students from poor families. The Pe-Berland building is part of the Saint André cathedral ensemble, although it is located far from it. The tower was built in the middle of the 19th century, a little later it was crowned with an 8‑ton bell.
Port of Cayo
There are two versions regarding the origin of the name of the port and the gate of the same name. According to the first, the word came from the Gascon language and means “cobblestone” in translation. According to the second, this is the name of an aristocratic family that once lived in Bordeaux. The port and gate are located near the Cathedral of St. Andrew. They were built as a sign of the triumph of King Charles VIII at the battle of Fornovo.
“City of Wine”
Where, if not in Bordeaux, to get acquainted with everything related to wine and the history of this drink? The region in France is famous for its exquisite aperitif. “City of Wine” is a museum, the expositions of which occupy the area of a modern building. The locals call it the “Wine Guggenheim”. This mecca for true gourmets and connoisseurs of the noble drink was opened in 2016.
Museum of Fine Arts
The museum building itself is already a work of art, not to mention its contents. The vault was opened at the beginning of the 19th century for visits. At that time, the main collection of the museum consisted of works by European painters of the 15th-20th centuries.
Many paintings were confiscated from the population during the Napoleonic Wars, others were donated by private collectors. Particularly valuable exhibits are the works of Titian, Veronese, Renoir, Rubens.
Museum of Wine and Wine Trade
According to all the laws of logic, it should have appeared in Bordeaux one of the very first, but it was opened already in the 2000s. The initiative to create this museum belonged to the Association of Historical Winemaking. According to their idea, the collection was to be located in a building where merchants and merchants who sold the noble drink for Louis XV had previously lived.
Visitors to the wine museum will learn about how different varieties were created, how vineyards were planted, and finished products were shipped. Many people like that here you can taste “exhibits”.
Museum of Aquitaine
The museum was opened in the 18th century, and most of its collection consisted of stone artifacts that have been preserved since the heyday of the Roman Empire. Many exhibits were found in the vicinity of Bordeaux. Since the middle of the 20th century, the museum has turned into an ethnographic museum.
It has existed in its current form since the 1980s. Today the museum building occupies an area of about 5,000 square meters, on which more than 70,000 exhibits are concentrated.
Modern Art Museum
Previously, the museum building housed a colonial warehouse. Today, only the arched facade of the building and the roof terrace remind of the trading past. The first museum exposition was opened here after the authorities managed to buy the building from a private entrepreneur in the 60s of the last century.
Today the museum keeps one of the richest collections among all that is in Bordeaux. These are paintings by avant-garde artists, modern achievements of scientists in the field of technology and electronics. After viewing the exhibitions, visitors can sit in the cafe or on the picturesque rooftop terrace.
Museum of the Sea and the Navy
At the end of June 2019, the Museum of the Sea and the Navy was opened in Bordeaux. His collection is located on an impressive area of 13,000 square meters. The exposition is devoted to maritime transport and the problems of modern ecology. The idea of creating a museum came up with the enthusiast Norbert Fraden. From childhood, he dreamed of traveling and was able to make his dreams come true, albeit in such an unobvious way.
In the Museum of the Sea, visitors will see models of the largest ships not only of French origin. So, one of the main values of the local treasury is the Titanic model.
National Customs Museum
The museum is located on Birzhevaya Square and was opened in the 80s of the last century. Today it boasts an impressive collection of exhibits — about 12,000. Many of them are rare archaeological finds, in particular, a dinosaur egg, ivory. Most of the exposition is made up of weapons, uniforms, models of merchant ships, precious stones and products, and sculptures.
Museum of Decorative Arts and Design
One of the few museums located in the ancient region of the city — Aquitaine. After the Hundred Years War, it was handed over to France along with dilapidated buildings. The building that houses the museum today already existed at that time.
The vault itself was founded at the end of the 19th century. The collection was collected specifically in order to show visitors objects of decorative and applied art: engravings, miniatures, statues, dishes, ceramics, jewelry, household items. Many of the presented faience and porcelain exhibits were made by French craftsmen.
The laying of the base was carried out long before the start of the Second World War. According to historical data, the government agreed with Hitler that Italian and German submarines would be stationed here. The base was reliably protected from bombing, so during the air raids, almost no ship was damaged. Today, an exhibition center is located on its vast area.
The city’s public park was laid out in the 18th century and designed by the royal architect Ange Jacques Gabriel. After the revolution, the garden was abandoned, the flower beds were destroyed. Restoration began at the end of the 19th century. At that moment, designer Fishe took over the design. According to his idea, the public garden was to acquire an English landscape style.
The area of the park is 14 hectares, in its northern part there is a small pond with bridges and an island, there is a carousel. All that reminds of the former Public is the old forged gates.
This is a workshop that resembles a real museum. You can repair a car or a motorcycle there, and at the same time admire the uniquely equipped room.
The place is quite lively due to the presence of a cafe right at the entrance — it is managed by the owner of the garage herself. This is the only workshop in Europe whose walls are decorated not with nuts and screwdrivers, but with paintings by Kandinsky.
Institute of Culture Bernard Magre
Château Labottière was once home to the brothers Antoine and Jacques Labottière. They had a small business in Bordeaux — both were engaged in printing, and at the same time vineyard cultivation. They built a new building in 1773, turning it into a neoclassical hotel.
After the death of the Labottiers, the mansion was purchased by a Dutchman named Bers. He rented it to an entrepreneur who opened an entertainment facility in this place. Bernard Magrez became the owner of the chateau about 15 years ago. The castle was restored by him, and later it housed the Institute of Culture. Today, this place often hosts exhibitions of artists who adhere to contemporary art.
A small artificially planted forest is located on the shore of the lake of the same name. In fact, this is an open-air arboretum with free access. Various trees grow on its territory — from chestnuts to larches and pines.
For visitors with children, there are special playgrounds with places for recreation and entertainment. The highlight of the Bordeaux Forest is the flower park, which was created specifically for the exhibition in the 90s. Among the plants there are peonies, irises and rhododendrons.