Bordeaux Travel Guide

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Bordeaux Travel Guide

Bordeaux Local History

Bordeaux' history is all about wine and roses. Right from the 3rd century BC, when it was founded by the Romans, the region's wines began enjoying a favourable reputation. In the mid-12th century its path to worldwide wine fame was set forever when King Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitane and gained control of the Bordeaux region. From 1154 to 1453, Bordeaux prospered under English rule, whose continued fondness for the region's red wine helped the region gain a worldwide reputation for quality wines.

After the Hundred Years War Bordeaux fell back under the authority of the king of France.The town only regained its sovereignty in 1462. Louis XIV gave Bordeaux the definitive status of a town in the kingdom of France. From 1648 to 1653, the city joined in the series of urban revolts known as Les Frondes. By the 18th century, the city had found new wealth by trading in slaves and sugar, and the centre was rebuilt by several enthusiastsic royal governors.

Bordeaux was the scene of the 1940 armistice with Hitler. The city has served briefly as the wartime national capital during each of three conflicts with Germany - in 1870, 1914 and for two weeks in 1940. Resistance activities by the Bordelais exemplified the streak of defiance and independence that have made the region's inhabitants famous.

Bordeaux Attractions

Bordeaux Shopping

Bordeaux is famous all around the world for its fine selection of local wines. There are many shops to go sample and purchase some of the excellent wines, try the Intendant at 2 allees de Tourny.
There are plenty of other shopping opportunities all around Bordeaux, catering to almost anything you could want. The Centre commercial Meriadeck is the main downtown shopping centre and is a bright and convenient centre for all your shopping needs.

Bordeaux Activities

Aqualand - Located in Gujan Mestras, near Arcachon and just out of Bordeaux itself. This is a great place to take the children, it has many water activities to keep them busy, while having a great time. There are also a few little shops and some cafes selling fast food.

Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac - Located at 3, chemin du Transvaal Pessac. This five-hectare park is home to some 400 animals belonging to 110 different species. Animals from Africa and Asia, including lions and giraffes, are there to be discovered, as well as a species of wolf with a mane. The zoo offers a number of free attractions, such as water tobogganing and a riding school for the kids.

Bordeaux Parks & Gardens

Jardin Public - If you need a break from the hectic pace of wine tasting, head to the beautifully landscaped Jardin Public. The park was established in 1755 and laid out in the English style a century later. It features the meticulously catalogued Jardin Botanique, founded in 1629 and at its present site since 1855. The park runs along cours de Verdun, just north of the city centre.

Place Gambetta - This is a pivotal square for the city's museums, shops and the cathedral. Once a majestic space in the time of Louis XV, place Gambetta's house fronts are arcaded at street level and decorated with rows of carved masks. In the middle of the square a valiant attempt at an English garden adds some welcome relief.

Bordeaux Beaches

Plage du Nice - This is one of the quiter beaches near Bordeaux, it is great if you want to relax and take a break. It is also a great spot to take the kids to play in the sand and surf.

Biscarrosse Plage - This beach is set aside for land yachts, kite buggies, surfing, and etc. There is a sign at the entrance to the beach detailling priorities and rights of way. This is a great place to take part in some water activities.

Dune Du Pilat - This a big dune on the coast south of Bordeaux and is not to be missed. It is 114m/374ft high, 2.7km/1.5miles long. the highest in Europe, you get to the top by climbing a 154 step staircase. Take a sandboard along and ride down to the sea.

Bordeaux Restaurants and Bars

Bordeaux Restaurants

Le Mably - Located at 12 rue Mably, this is an informal, friendly and popular restaurant with a warm, bistro atmosphere. You can choose from a variety of formules, starting with a plat du jour at $10 or three-course menus from $22. The food is plentiful and the quality excellent.

Didier Gelineau - This is one of the best spots to sample local cuisine, and is located at 26 rue du Pas-St-Georges. Here you can eat exquisitely cooked, imaginative food at affordable prices. Seasonal dishes include truffles, lobster and pigeon, all beautifully presented in an elegant dining room.

Le Bistrot d'Edouard - Found at 16 place du Parlement. This restaurant is popular with tourists and is in a great position on a lovely square, with outdoor seating in summer. There's a good-value, three-course menu (lunch $11 and evening $13) offering a choice of regional dishes, as well as standard brasserie fare.

Bordeaux Bars & Clubs

Calle Ocho - Located at 24 rue des Piliers-de-Tutelle, this is Bordeaux's most popular and liveliest salsa bar, and is very busy on Friday and Saturday nights. They serve real Cuban rum and mojitos, a traditional drink of mint, lemon, sugar, sparkling water and lots of rum.

Le Plana - 22 place de la Victoire. This is one of the more relaxed student hangouts around the square, although, it's pumping on Thursday nights. Free live music on Sun (jazz), Mon & Tues (various).

Connemara - Found at 18 cours d'Albret. This is Bordeaux's most popular Irish pub for the homesick pining for a pint of Guinness, with free concerts or some other event most nights, plus cheap bar-snacks, such as fish and chips, Guinness pie and apple crumble.

Bordeaux children's activities

Aqualand - Located in Gujan Mestras, near Arcachon and just out of Bordeaux itself. This is a great place to take the children, it has many water activities to keep them busy, while having a great time. There are also a few little shops and some cafes selling fast food.

Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac - Located at 3, chemin du Transvaal Pessac. This five-hectare park is home to some 400 animals belonging to 110 different species. Animals from Africa and Asia, including lions and giraffes, are there to be discovered, as well as a species of wolf with a mane. The zoo offers a number of free attractions, such as water tobogganing and a riding school for the kids.

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