Ah, Bordeaux. Think of this area and images of the bold and glorious red wines that this place is so synonymous with come to mind. Indeed, when you book barge cruises in France’s Bordeaux region you’re in for a treat in terms of tasting the local vintages. |
The UNESCO-listed old city nestles perfectly into a crescent shaped turn in the meandering Garonne and makes the perfect stop off for exploring more of the area itself. From eighteenth century squares to fabulous civic style buildings, this place has something for everyone.
Here is a snippet of what you could add to your list of must-sees while here.
Quais de Bordeaux
Most barge cruises in France’s Bordeaux region include a stop in the city and this spot is an excellent place from which to start exploring. Located on the left bank of Garonne, this stunning waterfront is part of a World Heritage melange of neo-classical buildings that line the 80m wide promenade that skirts the river. The space here is delightful and perfect for a stroll, cycle or a rest on one of the benches nestled among the exquisite flower beds.
La Cité du Vin
For any wine aficionado, this place is a must (with more than ten hours of audiovisual material on offer to work your way through), but even for those with a more casual interest, the celebration of wine here can certainly be appreciated. It is high-tech, super modern and bursting with information about wine, its history, its production and its future.
The building itself is awe-inspiring as are the views of the surrounding area and the Garonne, which you can enjoy over a glass of wine in the Belvedere Bar after your visit.
La Grosse Cloche
The twin conical roofs of La Grosse Cloche are the iconic features of this fifteenth century building, which is the old belfry for the town hall. Standing proud, it is one of the very few extant remains dating back to the medieval period.
When you look up at it from below you can see the enormous 7,750 ton bell, which is only rung during big public celebrations, such as Bastille Day.
You can’t mention this city without talking about its cathedral. Like many religious buildings it bears scars tragically received during the French Revolution. Stripped of its adornments, any you see now are likely to have been brought in from other locations. Despite this, the building still retains its grandeur and elegance and will always maintain its historical significance as the 1137 wedding venue of 13-year-old Eleanor of Aquitaine and the 17-year-old future Louis VII.
Rich, elegant cuisine is associated with the dining of this region and there will be plenty of opportunity to taste just that on barge cruises in France’s Bordeaux. While you should definitely leave your steak with Bordelaise sauce to your onboard chef, you could pick up a sweet treat or two while you are exploring the city. Canelés, the little scalloped shaped pastries made with vanilla, sugar and laced with rum are simply divine. They go with tea or champagne and make a fabulous gift to take home, as they come boxed and travel well.
There is so much more to this city than what’s covered above. If you fancy exploring it as part of one of the barge cruises in France that goes through this area, get in touch with a specialist tour operator and start planning now.
Author Plate Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge cruises in France. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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