Bordeaux is the most extensive urban environment in the world to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage site - 1,810 hectares - and boasts 347 listed historical monuments! 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. 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.
The old Bordeaux is a gourmet’s paradise, with many fine restaurants on the squares and pedestrianised streets. Look up at the 18th-century façades of the Place de la Bourse, Place du Parlement, and Saint-Pierre district to admire the "mascarons": carved stone figures typical of Bordeaux.
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.
Bordeaux also showcases contemporary architecture, with designs by Richard Rogers (the law courts), Philippe Starck (Mama Shelter Hotel), and Herzog & de Meuron (Matmut Atlantique stadium).