Travelling to Bordeaux
The Bordeaux region is rich in both its built, and natural heritage, leaving travellers spoiled for choice on a tour of Bordeaux. Starting in Bordeaux city is the best way to situate oneself before embarking on a food tour, or wine tour in the surrounding region. Dotted across the city are landmarks and edifices that display the city’s heritage dating all the way back to its Roman origins. On this note you may want to start with the Palais Gallien in downtown, here you can find the ruins of an ancient Roman Amphitheatre, the only one of its kind in the Aquitanian region, and impressive despite dating back to the 3rd century AD. Nearby on the west side of the Pont de Pierre are some of the city’s most recognisable landmarks, making the downtown area the perfect place for a walking tour. One of the most recognisable landmarks here is the famous Place de la Bourse, built in the 18th century, just as the city was entering its golden age, it features a distinctive neoclassical design that characterised French architecture at the time. Also built around this time is the nearby Grand Theatre de Bordeaux, with its imposing Corinthian column façade marking it out. Just to the north you can find Europe’s largest square, the Place des Quinconces, which features two 21m columns symbolising commerce and navigation, with ornately decorated marble statues flaking its sides. Several famous churches can be found around here as well, including the Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Michael), the Cathedral of St. Michael, and the Basilica of St. Severinus. The first two cathedrals both feature distinctive gothic architecture, and date to around the 14th-15th century, while St. Severinus is more medieval in style and dates back to the 11th. The site of St. Severinus is older still, having been used as a site of Christian worship since the 3rd century AD.
For those interested in delving deeper into the region’s history, Bordeaux’s heritage is well represented across the city. This can be seen in the abundance of museums, exploring French art, culture, and of course wine. For art lovers, a trip to the fine arts museum can see works from famous artists such as Renoir, Matisse, and Picasso, and for those interested in history, the Aquitaine Museum showcases the regions history and legacy, featuring exhibitions on the city’s history as a trading port, as well as the darker legacy of Triangular trade. Of course no collection of museums in the region would be complete without an homage to wine, and to this end the new Cité du Vin museum was created. Featuring a stunning modern design, 10 levels, and a panoramic view of the city, this museum is devoted to everything wine, and is a must see on a tour to Bordeaux. For those looking further afield, a day trip out of the city can offer several unique experiences. To the southwest of the city lies the seaside resort town of Arcachon, here you can find pristine white sand beaches stretching along the coast, perfect to unwind after a long trip of wine tasting. Alternatively, to the north you can explore the town of Blaye, here you can find a well preserved 17th century citadel, which historically was used to defend the Gironde estuary from attackers. One of the best way to take in all of Bordeaux’s sights and amazing history is with a small group tour, Odyssey specialises in this kind of tour, offering a tailored and familiar guided tour, ideal for the discerning or senior traveller.