Bordeaux France

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Location

Bordeaux is a city in the south west of France, situated on the Garonne River in the Girondins region of Aquitaine. The city itself boasts an air of 18th century elegance with its neoclassical architecture, wide avenues, and attractive public squares and parks. The centre of town lies between Place Gambetta and the Garonne River.

The Garonne riverfront is lined with fine 18th-century buildings from the days when the port was booming from the wine and colonial trades. Among them is the stunning place de la Bourse, designed by Jacques Ange Gabriel, architect also of place de la Concorde in Paris.

The 1000 sq km wine-growing area around the city is France’s most important producer of top-quality wines.

Bordeaux is accessible to seagoing ships and is a major port; it is a centre for the wine trade, oil refining, chemicals, and the aircraft and aeronautics industries. Other industries include shipbuilding, sugar refining, and the manufacture of electrical goods, motor vehicles, and processed foods. Bordeaux was under the English crown for three centuries until 1453. In 1870, 1914, and 1940 the French government was moved here because of German invasions.

Bordeaux is the world’s premier wine city, seated on the banks of the Garonne river, where it joins the Dordogne and before it flows out to the Atlantic. It’s the sixth largest city in France and surrounded by literally hundreds of châteaux. The countryside of the region is completely dominated by the vineyards of some of the greatest names associated with wine, Medoc, Sauterne, Pomerol, St-Emilion, and covers 115,000 hectares, which is as extensive as all the vineyards of Germany or South Africa put together. The city itself has been described as the Paris of the South.

 

Attractions

Conveniently and appropriately, the main sights of the city are all located within a mile radius of the Maison du Vin (you can book your vineyard visits here).

The Garonne riverfront is lined with fine 18th-century buildings from the days when the port was booming from the wine and colonial trades. Among them is the stunning place de la Bourse, designed by Jacques Ange Gabriel, architect also of place de la Concorde in Paris.

Downriver sits the vast esplanade des Quinconces. At one end, the Monument aux Girondins is a bronze confection of fountains and sea life. To the south is the Grand Théâtre (place de la Comédie56 built on the site of a Roman temple, and used for opera and dance events.

The Esplanade des Quinconces (covering a surface of 12 hectares) in itself is impressive, a square laid out in the Restoration period on the site of the old Château Trompette. Also worth a visit is  the Monument aux Girondins in the Place de Quinconces, with its bronze statuary. This huge late 19th century bronze and stone sculpture was erected in honour of all the Girondins (local people) who died at the guillotine in 1792.

South of the shopping quarter are the sprawling Gothic Cathédrale St-André (with panoramic views from its belfry), and the Hôtel de Ville, which occupies an 18th-century palace. In the garden wing is the Musée des Beaux-Arts, with a rich collection of Dutch paintings, as well as works by Titian, Delacroix and local Odilon Redon.

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Bordeaux was a private mansion built between 1775 and 1779 by architect Etienne Laclotte from Bordeaux. It was bought by the city in the 1880s for a local member of parliament and turned into a museum in 1955. It houses a fantastic collection of 16th and 17th century .

Take a walk round Old Bordeaux starting at the place de la Comedie which was once the site of a Roman temple. On the square you will find the Grand Theatre built between 1773 and 1780. A testimony to the prosperity of Bordeaux at the time. The city has many beautiful squares, churches and museums.

Porte de la Grosse Cloche, a 15th century arched gateway with three conical roofs, is a source of much local pride. You can find it in rue Saint James, near to the Cours Victor Hugo. The clock’s mechanism dates from 1592, and in the old days the bell had the joyous task of ringing out the news that the grape harvest was to begin.

 

How to get there

By Car:

Major roads to Bordeaux include A62, N230, A10, N89, A 630, N50, and A63.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS
The airport can be accessed from junctions 11a or 11b off the ring road surrounding Bordeaux.

Road: Taxi: Over 50 taxis are always available at the airport. Bus: The airport can also be reached via shuttle bus. Jet’Bus operates a service from Bordeaux city centre to the airport (journey time: 40 minutes).

By Bus:

The local tram and bus service offers a comprehensive service throughout the day.

 

By Train:

Rail travel is available from SNCF Saint Jean Station. Bordeaux is accessible by Eurostar .From Waterloo take the Eurostar to either Lille or Paris for a connecting TGV to Bordeaux. Travel via Lille and you only have a simple platform change; travel via Paris for a wider choice of connections.

 

By Air:

The airport is situated 12km (7.5 miles) from Bordeaux

 

Festivals

Fete Du Fleuve (21-26 June).  Celebrates the role of the river in the citys life, with a series of parties throughout the town, on the quays and on place de Quinconces.

The Bordeaux wine festival  – 29th June 2 July

During 4 days, adults and children will learn about the aspects of the universe of wine by visiting an educative exhibition called “Vintage Grapes” that will be located in the vine and Wine Pavillion. There will be four nights of live shows and entertainment. More that 25,ooo spectators are expected to attend these free concerts at nightfall. During the festival it will be possible to lunch and dine in a warm and festive atmosphere. In order to offer thousands of French and foreign visiotors four unforgettable dasy, the Bordeaux Wine Festival will cover an area of more than 29 acres. An event not to be missed.

 

Eating  Dining  Shopping

SHOPPINGBordeaux is a wealthy and relaxed city, earning much of its money originally from the trade engineered by the Romans. Trade and commerce continue to thrive in Bordeaux, primarily due to Rue Sainte Catherine. Claimed by locals to be the longest shopping street in Europe the impressive stretch from the Place de la Victoire to the Place de la Comédie.

Among the city’s most typical markets is the Marché Capuçins (Daily), located on the Cours de la Marne, close to St Jean station. Here you will find fresh flowers and all the local delicacies.

Those in search of flea markets and bric-a-brac should head for Saint Michel, which is on Sunday morning. You’ll find everything from furniture to crockery, paintings, dolls, bikes and retro clothes.

The most atmospheric market is the beautifully located Campagnard Market, which springs up on the banks of the Garonne on Sunday mornings. Everything for sale is made by the local artisans, from home-made jam to oven-baked bread. Local artists also display their paintings here.

For elegance, go to the golden triangle of cours de l’Intendance, allées de Tourny and cours Clemenceau. Here you’ll find pâtisserie Baillardran, whose sticky cannelés and macarons are a treat. Chartrons is packed with antique dealers along rue Notre Dame, while St-Michel church has a flea market in front and in passage St-Michel.

 

DININGBordeaux’s cuisine is rich, and based on duck, geese or beef. Bordeaux sauce, which is used on everything, is made from red wine and shallots.

The historic city centre of Bordeaux is packed with cafés, bars and restaurants where you can discover numerous different atmospheres and savour food from all over the world—not forgetting, of course, the marvellous French cuisine.

 

History

In the 18th century Bordeaux was the centre of the Girondins, a moderate republican group during the French Revolution it was also the main port of France’s colonial empire, a trading centre for the export of wines and liqueurs, and involved in the thriving slave trade. There were uprisings in Bordeaux during the Fronde (between 1648 and 1653).  Bordeaux has been the temporary seat of the French government during times of conflict. It was also the seat of the French government from September to December 1914 during World War I, and from 15 to 30 June 1940 during World War II.

Bordeaux became capital of the region they were founded by the Gauls held by the Celtic tribe, the Bituriges Vivisci. It later became the provincial headquarters of the Roman garrison, who called it Burdigala. Bordeaux became a major port for exporting wine to northern Europe, so the town prospered. It was retrieved by the French in 1453. This prosperity was upset by a succession of barbaric invasions by the Vandals, Franks and Goths.With the marriage of Alienor d`Aquitaine and Henri II Bordeaux returned to peace. The town came under English control, which lasted for three centuries. During this period the town began to grow. The exportation of wine to England in the 13th Century gave Bordeaux its reputation in the wine trade. English ownership gradually dwindled. After the hundred years was Bordeaux fell back under the authority of the king of France. Bordeaux enjoyed prosperity once again. During 1660 the trade between the West Indies and France flourished.

 

Useful telephone numbers

Emergency numbers For any emergency, free phone 118 from any telephone

Airport information; Air France 0870 142 4343

Train Station -European Tickets:
Telephone Bookings and Enquiries: 08708 371 371

Tourist Office

Holiday rents online;

Bus/Tram Service www.netbus-bordeaux.com


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