Bordeaux is the most extensive urban environment in the world to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is easy to explore the various districts in the heart of the city along the Garonne River, with areas reserved for trams and bicycles.
To the north, the Chartrons, former hub of the wine trade, is now the place to find antique, curio, and design shops. Then, here is the vast Place des Quinconces. The Grands Hommes district, set among plane trees, pays homage to great French thinkers, from Montaigne to Diderot. The «Triangle» is also known, for its luxury boutiques, elegant architecture, and the majestic Grand Theatre, a masterpiece designed by Victor Louis.
Not far away lies old Bordeaux: the young, trendy neighbourhood of Saint Pierre with its delicious food, outdoor tables, beautiful squares and winding little streets; don’t forget to look up at the Bordeaux «mascarons» - wonderful carved stone faces that adorn the buildings. The Place de la Bourse with its majestic eighteenth century façades is popular with visitors, providing the perfect backdrop for a Bordeaux selfie. Opposite is the Miroir d’Eau («Water Mirror») - the largest in the world - with its entertaining cycle of mist and water.
Place Pey Berland is not far away, with its three UNESCO monuments: Pey Berland tower, offering magnificent views over the city, next to Saint-André cathedral, and Palais Rohan, now the City Hall. To the south, Porte Cailhau and the Grosse Cloche lead the way to Saint-Michel: this cosmopolitan district features spicy aromas, the lively Capucins market, and many curious shops. The outdoor cafés and bars around Place de la Victoire are the students’ favourite place to be.
Finally, we’ll head to the right bank, over the Pont de Pierre bridge: this leafy district includes the Botanical Gardens and a waterfront park with an unforgettable view of the river and the historical façades on the opposite side. There are some surprises, too: a blue lion on Place Stalingrad, Caserne Niel, and Chaban-Delmas bridge.
For Bordeaux is not averse to contemporary architecture, as demonstrated by its three most recent constructions, the Jacques Chaban-Delmas bridge, La Cité du Vin and Bordeaux Métropole Arena, that join other modern features of the city such as the County Court, the Mama Shelter hotel, the winery at Château Les Carmes Haut Brion, the new Matmut Atlantic Stadium…