A prominent port city located on the south-western side of France, Bordeaux is often referred to locally as the 'French Sleeping Beauty'. However, these days Bordeaux is far from a sleepy city and following the millennium, this elegant city has undergone considerable renovation. Many of its most beautiful Neo-classical buildings have been completely restored and a number of spacious...
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A prominent port city located on the south-western side of France, Bordeaux is often referred to locally as the 'French Sleeping Beauty'. However, these days Bordeaux is far from a sleepy city and following the millennium, this elegant city has undergone considerable renovation. Many of its most beautiful Neo-classical buildings have been completely restored and a number of spacious boulevards are now completely pedestrianised.
Following these improvements, tourism is once again booming in Bordeaux and the city features a number of tourist information offices. The main tourism bureaus can be found along the Rue de Argentiers, Cours du 30 Juillet, close to the banks on the Cours de l'Intendence, and also within the train station itself.
Of course, Bordeaux is particularly famous for its legendary wine and often hosts many enormous wine-related events. Around the city itself you will find a wealth of vineyards and wineries, many of which welcome visitors and often hold wine-tasting days. Bordeaux is also home to a prominent university and a lively student population of around 100,000.
Bordeaux Tourist Information: Top Bordeaux Sights
Tourists staying in Bordeaux will find plenty of attractions to visit and culture to enjoy. Highlights include the Croiseur Colbert - an enormous battleship featuring guided tours, now docked at the Quai des Chartons; Palais de la Bourse - a magnificent building overlooking Bordeaux's winding River Garonne; Palais Rohan (Rohan Palace) - a particularly grand and historic building now used as the town hall; Grand Theatre - Europe's oldest wooden-framed theatre, where many musical shows and theatrical performances are held; Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac (Bordeaux Zoo) - the ultimate tourist attraction for families, with exotic animals from parts Africa and Asia; Jardin Public and Jardin Botanique - a centrally located park complete with botanical gardens and huge lake; and also the 11th-century Cathédrale St. André - an iconic local landmark dominating much of Bordeaux and sited to one side of the Place Gambetta.
Many further landmarks are to be found within Bordeaux, many of which are hard to miss. Look out for the large public square that is the Esplanade des Quinconce, the historic Pont de Pierre bridge, the 15th-century Tour Pey Berland bell tower, the Grosse Cloche belfry, and also the Palais Gallien, a local monument known to date back to Roman times and home to an ancient amphitheatre.
For information about Bordeaux's rich maritime history and various exhibits, the Musée d'Aquitaine is also home to in-depth information about the region's wine trade. Other cultural attractions popular with tourists include the Natural History Museum (Musée d'Histoire Naturelle) next to the Jardin Publique, the highly acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Art (CAPC Musée d'Art Contemporain) and Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux Arts), and also the Centre National Jean Moulin, which is full of information relating to the WWII French Resistance.
Although many tourists find that Bordeaux offers enough attractions and sights to fill their time, others choose to travel outside of the city itself and explore the surrounding countryside and nearby towns. Particularly popular and close to Bordeaux, the town of Blaye is famed for its citadel and harbour, while Cadillac is also nearby, an attractive 13th-century walled city where wine tasting abounds. If you are looking for wine tasting, also consider a trip to the vineyards around the Château Margaux and Sauternes, while the neighbouring city of St. Emilion is full of so many historic sights that it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.