Bordeaux, the Little Paris of France and one of the largest metropolitan cities in Europe is a destination that, let’s put it this way “is made for the oenophiles out there”. The city which is just beautiful in its appearance, architecture, lifestyle and vineyards is a treat for the lover of travel and beauty. The city located in the southern fringes of France on the banks of the Garonne River is a fascinating city of arts, culture, vines and lovely chateaus. It is the capital of Aquitaine region of France as well as the prefecture of Gironde department. A lovely city with a relaxed atmosphere, it is home to some two million people as well as one of the biggest vine industries in the world. Bordeaux vine is world renowned and vine tourism is one of its major attractions especially for the oenophiles.
Bordeaux has seen civilizations since times of antiquity, the Celtic tribes as well as the Bituriges Vivisci settled here around 300 B.C before the town was annexed y the Roman Empire around 60 B.C. The city flourished in trade and arts around the 3rd century A.D during the Severan Dynasty rein but then plundered into obscurity due to two centuries of vandalizing and raids by the Vandals, the Visigoths and the Franks. The city lost most of its prominence due to regional power struggles among the Duke of Vasconia and the Count of Bordeaux in the Middle Ages with brief stint at resurgence as it served the capital of the Merovingian Kingdom during the 6th century A.D. from the 12th century onwards Bordeaux rose again in prominence in Europe when the Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married the French speaking soon to be King of England Henry II. Within months of their marriage Henry became the King of England and the cathedral of St. Andre was built at Bordeaux, along with this the vine trade with Britain allowed the city to flourish. It also served as the capital of an independent state of Edward the Black Prince in the fourteenth century.
Cometh the 18th century and cometh the Golden Age of Bordeaux, many of the cities now famous and wondrous buildings came up in that era. Such was the beauty of this city and its effect on people that the famous French author Victor Hugo said of it “take Versailles add Antwerp and you have Bordeaux”. The city rose in prominence throughout the nineteenth century as a model of modern development, city landscape, cultural center and center of vine industry. In fact Bordeaux was the model upon which the redevelopment of Paris was undertaken by Baron Haussmann on the order of Napoleon III. The city also served as the capital of France during many major wars including the Franco-Prussian War, the First World War and in some periods of the Second World War.
Bordeaux epitomizes French taste, culture, luxury, countryside and lifestyle. The Mediterranean climate of the city makes it a charming place to be all year round visiting some of its most wonderful vineyards, its architectural marvels, its cultural centers and many other places. The city of Bordeaux and its people are considered to be very tolerant, easy-going and friendly people who have no prejudices as such and allow for free thinking debates. The city has a brilliant international airport in its western area known as the Bordeaux-Merignac Airport which connects one to major European destinations such as Paris, Amsterdam and London. Bordeaux has a flat geography which is one of its gifts as it allows one to travel around the city in bicycles or even skater blades, besides these the cities has well developed modes of public transport such as electronic trams, buses and ferry which can connect you to various parts of the city.
Bordeaux with its rich cultural and historical heritage has a lot to offer to the visitors. There are many attractions in the city which allow you to explore the past and present of the city. Les Quais – near the banks of Garonne allows one to take calm walks during the evening or enjoy a ferry ride on the river as well as dance the night away in the many nightclubs in the area. La Victorie – in many ways the heart of the city where history meets student life, the area is filled with historic monuments as well student bars and restaurants, the Victory Arch a Roman masterpiece is also located here. Quinconces Square is a fitting tribute to the sacrifice of the Girondins who were guillotined by Robespierre; here you can see the fountain monument and the Girondins Memorial. The city is filled with beautiful gardens for picnics, cafes for hanging out and like any other French city with museums like Musee D’Aquitaine. But being in Bordeaux one thing that one must do is visit the beautiful and ravishing vineyards outside the city area and taste the wonderful vine in the authentic style of a Bordelais. These vineyards give you a glimpse of the beauty of the French Riviera and its countryside. Bordeaux is a city full of enjoyments and occasions for raising a toast of vine.