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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 44°50′19″N 0°34′42″W / 44.838611°N 0.578333°W / 44.838611; -0.578333

Ville de Bordeaux
Vila de Bordèu

Motto: Lilia sola regunt lunam undas castra leonem.
"The fleur-de-lis alone rules over the moon, the waves, the castle, and the lion"

Montage Bordeaux 1.jpg
Bordeaux is located in France
Time zone CET (GMT +1)
Country France
Region Aquitaine
Department Gironde (33)
Arrondissement Bordeaux
Canton chief town of 8 cantons
Intercommunality Urban Community of Bordeaux
Mayor Alain Juppé (UMP)
Land area1 49.36 km2 (19.06 sq mi)
Population2 250,082  (2008 estimate)
 - Ranking 9th in France
 - Density 5,066 /km2 (13,120 /sq mi)
Urban spread
Urban area 1,057 km2 (408 sq mi) (2007 estimate)
 - Population 805,000 (2007 estimate)
Metro area 3,875.2 km2 (1,496.2 sq mi) (2007 estimate)
 - Population 1,010,000 (7th in France) (2007 estimate)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Bordeaux, Port of the Moon*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party  France
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 1256
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2007  (31st Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Bordeaux (French pronunciation: [bɔʁdo]  ( listen); Gascon: Bordèu) is a port city on the Garonne River in southwest France, with one million inhabitants in its metropolitan area at a 2008 estimate. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called Bordelais.

The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes one of the largest urban areas of France. The city is among the world's major wine industry centres. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the eighth century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century.[1]



Coins of the Bituriges Vivisci, 5th-1st century BCE, derived from the coin designs of Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul. Cabinet des Médailles.

Between 30,000 and 20,000 years ago the area of Bordeaux was inhabited by the Neanderthal, whose remains have been found at a famous cave known as Pair-non-Pair, near Bourg sur Gironde, just north of Bordeaux. In historical times, around 300 BC it was the settlement of a Celtic tribe, the Bituriges Vivisci, who named the town Burdigala, probably of Aquitainian origin. The name Bourde is still the name of a river south of the city.

The city fell under Roman rule around 60 BC, its importance lying in the commerce of tin and lead towards Rome. Later it became capital of Roman Aquitaine, flourishing especially during the Severan dynasty (third century). In 276 it was sacked by the Vandals. Further ravage was brought by the same Vandals in 409, the Visigoths in 414 and the Franks in 498, beginning a period of obscurity for the city.

Merovingian tremisses minted in Bordeaux by the Church of Saint-Etienne, late 6th century. British Museum.

In the late sixth century, the city reemerged as the seat of a county and an archdiocese within the Merovingian kingdom of the Franks. The city fell into obscurity as royal power waned in southern Gaul in the late seventh century. The city was plundered by the troops of Abd er Rahman in 732, after he had defeated Duke Eudes and before he was killed during the Battle of Tours on October 10.

Under the Carolingians were appointed a series of Counts of Bordeaux who served to defend the mouth of the Garonne from the Vikings. Eventually, the city was inherited by the Dukes of Gascony in the late tenth century.

From the 12th to the 15th century, Bordeaux regained importance following the marriage of Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine with the French-speaking Count Henri Plantagenet, born in Le Mans, who became, within months of their wedding, King Henry II of England. The city flourished, primarily due to wine trade, and the cathedral of St. André was built. It was also the capital of an independent state under Edward, the Black Prince (1362–1372), but in the end, after the Battle of Castillon (1453) it was annexed by France which extended its territory. The Château Trompette (Trumpet Castle) and the Fort du Hâ, built by Charles VII of France, were the symbols of the new domination, which however deprived the city of its richness by halting the wine commerce with England.

In 1462, Bordeaux obtained a parliament, but regained importance only in the 16th century when it became the center of the distribution of sugar and slaves from the West Indies along with the traditional wine.[2]

Bordeaux adhered to the Fronde, being effectively annexed to the Kingdom of France only in 1653, when the army of Louis XIV entered the city.

The 18th century was the golden age of Bordeaux. Many downtown buildings (about 5,000), including those on the quays, are from this period. Victor Hugo found the town so beautiful he once said: "take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux". Baron Haussmann, a long-time prefect of Bordeaux, used Bordeaux's 18th century big-scale rebuilding as a model when he was asked by Emperor Napoleon III to transform a then still quasi-medieval Paris into a "modern" capital that would make France proud.

The French government relocated from Paris to Bordeaux very briefly during World War II, when it became apparent that Paris would soon fall into German hands. The French capital was soon moved again to Vichy.

From 1940 to 1943, the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina Italiana) established BETASOM, a submarine base at Bordeaux. Italian submarines participated in the Battle of the Atlantic from this base.


Bordeaux is located close to the European Atlantic coast, in the southwest of France and in the north of the Aquitaine region. It is around 500 km (310 mi) southwest of Paris. The city is built on a bend of the river Garonne, and is divided into two parts: the right bank to the east and left bank in the west. Historically, the left bank is more developed. In Bordeaux, the Garonne River is accessible to ocean liners. The left bank of the Garonne is a low-lying, often marshy plain.



Bordeaux's climate is usually classified as an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb); however, the summers tend to be warmer and the winters milder than most areas of similar classification. Substantial summer rainfall prevents it from being classified as a Mediterranean climate.

Winters are mild because of the prevalence of westerly winds from the Atlantic. Summers are warm and long due to the influence from the Bay of Biscay (surface temperature reaches 21–22 °C (
  - Invalid output type
{4}="def", in {{Convert|21|to(-)|22|def|...}}. ). The average seasonal winter temperature is 6.53 °C (43.75 °F), recent winters tend to be much higher than this. The average summer seasonal temperature is 19.51 °C (67.12 °F), but every summer in the decade beginning 2001 has been above this, including the summer of 2003 the hottest summer ever recorded at 23.3 °C (73.9 °F).[3]

Climate data for Bordeaux-Mérignac (1971-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.4
Average low °C (°F) 2.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 92
Sunshine hours 94.1 111 167.1 185.4 207.1 232.4 260.7 249.8 205 152.6 103.7 81.9 2,050.9
Source: MeteoClimat[4] January 20, 2010



Bordeaux has about 116,160 hectares (287,000 acres) of vineyards, 57 appellations, 10,000 wine-producing châteaux and 13,000 grape growers. With an annual production of approximately 850 million bottles[5], Bordeaux produces large quantities of everyday wine as well as some of the most expensive wines in the world. Included among the latter are the area's five 'premier cru' (first growth) red wines (four from Médoc and one, Château Haut-Brion, from Graves), established by the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855: The first growths are:

*In 1855 Mouton-Rothschild was ranked a Second Growth. In 1973, it was elevated to First Growth status.[6]

Both red and white wines are made in Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux is called claret in the United Kingdom. Red wines are generally made from a blend of grapes, and may be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit verdot, Malbec, and, less commonly in recent years, Carménère. White Bordeaux is made from Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Sauternes is a subregion of Graves known for its intensely sweet, white, dessert wines such as Château d'Yquem.

Because of the wine glut (wine lake), the price squeeze caused by increasingly strong international competition, and vine pull schemes, the number of growers has recently dropped from 14,000 and the area under vine has also decreased significantly.


The Laser Mégajoule will be one of the most powerful lasers in the world, allowing fundamental research and the development of the lasers and plasmas technologies. This project, carried by the French Ministry of Defence, involves an investment of 2 billion euros. In 2009, the 600 experiments programmed each year with the Laser Mégajoule will begin. The "Road of the lasers", a major project of regional planning for the optical and lasers industries, will be born. Therefore, the area of Bordeaux will shelter the most important concentration of optical and laser experts in Europe.

20,000 people work for the aeronautic industry in Bordeaux. The city has some of the biggest companies including Dassault, EADS Sogerma, Snecma, Thales, SNPE, and others. The Dassault Falcon private jets are built there as well as the military aircraft Rafale and Mirage 2000, the Airbus A380 cockpit, the boosters of Ariane 5, and the M51 SLBM missile.

Tourism is a major industry, especially concerning wine-making.

The port lies on the Atlantic ocean and the Gironde estuary. Almost 9 million tons of goods arrive and leave each year. The Port is a nice area to sit and relax, a good place to tour if ever visiting.

List of major companies in Bordeaux

This list includes both companies based in Bordeaux and outside companies with major operations in the city.


In the 1999 census, there were 215,363 inhabitants in the city (commune) of Bordeaux. The 2005 census showed a significant increase, as this figure reached 230,600 inhabitants. In 2007, there were 660,000 inhabitants in the Communauté Urbaine de Bordeaux. The majority of the population is French, but there are sizable groups of Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Turks, Germans and North Africans.[citation needed] The built-up area has grown swiftly in recent years and urban sprawl is now a problem.



The university was created by the archbishop Pey Berland and was abolished in 1793, during the French Revolution, before reappearing in 1808 with Napoleon I. Bordeaux accommodates approximately 70,000 students on one of the largest campuses of Europe (235 ha). The University of Bordeaux is divided into four:

  • The University Bordeaux 1 (Physical sciences and Technologies), 10,693 students in 2002
  • The University Bordeaux 2 (Medicine and Life sciences), 15,038 students in 2002
  • The University Bordeaux 3 (Liberal Arts, Humanities, Languages, History), 14,785 students in 2002
  • The University Bordeaux 4 (Law, Economy and Management). 12,556 students in 2002


Bordeaux has numerous public and private schools offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Engineering schools:

Business and management schools:

  • IUT Techniques de Commercialisation of Bordeaux (Business School)
  • Bordeaux école de management (Bordeaux Management School)
  • EBP International
  • Institut des hautes études économiques et commerciales (INSEEC)
  • École de commerce européenne


Place de la Bourse
The church of St Pierre
Façade of the Church of the Holy Cross
Palais Gallien
Place de la Bourse with Miroir d´eau and tram
Edouard Manet: Harbour at Bordeaux, 1871

Main sights

Bordeaux is classified "City of Art and History". The city has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble".

Bordeaux is home to one of Europe's biggest 18th century architectural urban areas, making it a sought-after destination for tourists and cinema production crews. It stands out as one of the first French cities, after Nancy, to have entered an era of urbanism and metropolitan big scale projects, with the team Gabriel father and son, architects for King Louis XV, under the supervision of two intendants (Governors), first Dupre de Saint Maur then the Marquis (Marquess) de Tourny.


Church Notre Dame

Main sights include:

  • Esplanade des Quinconces
  • Colonnes des Girondins
  • Grand Théâtre
  • Allées de Tourny
  • Cours de l'Intendance
  • Place du Chapelet
  • Pont de pierre
  • Saint-André Cathedral, consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1096. Of the Original Romanesque edifice only a wall in the nave remain. The Royal Gate is from the early thirteenth century, while the rest of the construction is mostly from the 14th-15th centuries.
  • Tour Pey Berland (1440–1450), a massive, quadrangular tower annexed to the cathedral.
  • Église Sainte-Croix (Church of the Holy Cross). It lies on the site of a 7th century abbey destroyed by the Saracens. Rebuilt under the Carolingians, it was again destroyed by the Normans in 845 and 864. It is annexed to a Benedictine abbey founded in the 7th century, and was built in the late 11th-early 12th centuries. The façade is in Romanesque style
  • The Gothic basilica of Saint-Michel, constructed in the late 14th-15th centuries.
  • Basilica of Saint-Seurin, the most ancient church in Bordeaux. It was built in the early 6th century on the site of a palaeochristian necropolis. It has an eleventh century portico, while the apse and transept are from the following century. The 13th century nave has chapels from the 11th and the 14th centuries. The ancient crypt houses sepulchres of the Merovingian family.
  • Palais Rohan (Exterior:[7])
  • Palais Gallien, the remains of a late second century Roman amphitheatre
  • Porte Cailhau
  • La Grosse Cloche (15th century) is the second remaining gate of the Medieval walls. It was the belfry of the old Town Hall. It consists of two 40 m-high circular towers and a central bell tower housing a bell weighing 7,800 kilograms (17,000 lb). The watch is from 1759.
  • Église Saint-Éloi
  • Place de la Bourse(1730–1775), designed by the Royal architect Jacques Ange Gabriel as landscape for an equestrian statue of Louis XV.
  • Place du Parlement
  • Place Saint-Pierre
  • Rue Sainte-Catherine
  • The Betasom submarine base

Saint-André Cathedral, Saint-Michel Basilica and Saint-Seurin Basilica are part of the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.

Contemporary architecture

  • Fire Station, la Benauge, Claude Ferret/Adrien Courtois/Yves Salier, 1951–1954
  • Court of first instance, Richard Rogers, 1998
  • CTBA, wood and furniture research centre, A. Loisier, 1998
  • Hangar 14 on the Quai des Chartrons, 1999
  • The Management Science faculty on the Bastide, Anne Lacaton/Jean-Philippe Vassal, 2006
  • The Jardin botanique de la Bastide, Catherine Mosbach/Françoise Hélène Jourda/Pascal Convert, 2007
  • The Nuyens School complex on the Bastide, Yves Ballot/Nathalie Franck, 2007
  • Seeko'o Hotel on the Quai des Chartrons, King Kong architects, 2007


  • Musée des Beaux Arts (Fine arts museum), one of the finest painting galleries in France
  • Musée d'Aquitaine
  • Musée du Vin et du Négoce
  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs
  • Musée d'Histoire Naturelle
  • CAPC
  • Musée National des Doines
  • Vinorama
  • Musée Goupil
  • Casa de Goya
  • Cap Sciences
  • Centre Jean Moulin

Parks and gardens


Bordeaux has many shopping options. In the heart of Bordeaux is Rue Sainte-Catherine. This pedestrian only shopping street has 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) of shops, restaurants and cafés; it is also the longest shopping street in Europe. Rue Sainte-Catherine starts at Place de la Victoire and ends at Place de la Comédie by the Grand Théâtre. The shops become progressively more upmarket as one moves towards Place de la Comédie and the nearby Cours de l'Intendance is where one finds the more exclusive shops and boutiques.


Bordeaux is also the first city in France to have created, in the 1980s, an architecture exhibition and research centre, Arc en rêve, still the most prestigious in France besides Paris IFA. Bordeaux offers a large number of cinemas, theatres and is the home of the Opéra national de Bordeaux. There are many music venues of varying capacity. The city also offers several festivals throughout the year.



Radio stations

These are the radio stations in Bordeaux.

  • Wit FM: (pop, rock, dance music)
  • Black Box: (Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul)
  • Radio Nova Sauvagine: (alternative music)
  • Campus FM: (Alternative Music)
  • RIG: (world music)
  • La Clé des Ondes: (world music)
  • TRG: (pop music)
  • ARL: (world music)




Concert rooms

  • Rock School Barbey
  • Medoquine
  • Le 4Sans
  • Nieuw Amsterdam
  • Patinoire Meriadeck
  • La Coupole
  • Salle du Vigean
  • Krakatoa
  • Son'Art ...



Bordeaux is an important road and motorway junction. The city is connected to Paris by the A10 motorway, with Lyon by the A89, with Toulouse by the A62, and with Spain by the A63. There is a 45 km (28 mi) ring road called the "Rocade" which is often very busy. The building of another ring road is under consideration.


Bordeaux has four road bridges that cross the Garonne, the Pont de pierre built in the 1820s and three modern bridges built after 1960: the Pont Saint Jean, just south of the Pont de pierre (both located downtown), the Pont d'Aquitaine, a suspended bridge downstream from downtown, and the Pont François Mitterrand, located upstream of downtown. These two bridges are part of the ring road around Bordeaux. There is also a steel railway bridge, built in the 1850s by Gustave Eiffel, and used daily by 100s, including the TGV, a very high speed train.


The main railway station, Gare de Bordeaux Saint-Jean, near the centre of the city, has 4 million passengers a year. It is served by the French national (SNCF) railway's high speed train, the TGV, that gets to Paris in three hours, with connections to major European centres such as Lille, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne, Geneva and London. The TGV also serves Toulouse and Irun from Bordeaux. A regular train service is provided to Nantes, Nice, Marseille and Lyon. The Gare Saint-Jean is the major hub for regional trains (TER) operated by the SNCF to Arcachon, Limoges, Agen, Périgueux, Pau and Bayonne.


Bordeaux is served by an international airport, Aéroport de Bordeaux Mérignac, located 8 km (5.0 mi) from the city centre in the suburban city of Mérignac.

Trams, buses and boats

Bordeaux has an important public transport system called Tram et Bus de la CUB (TBC). This company is run by the Connex group. The network consists of:

  • 3 tram lines (A, B and C)
  • 75 bus routes, all connected to the tramway network (from 1 to 96)
  • 12 night bus routes (from S1 to S12)
  • An electric bus shuttle in the city centre
  • A boat shuttle on the Garonne river

This network is operated from 5am to 1am

There have been several plans for a subway network to be set up but they were given up for both geological and financial reasons. The tramway system was started in the autumn of 2000 and commenced service in December 2003, connecting Bordeaux with its suburban areas. It uses the APS technology, a brand new and exclusive cableless technology developed by French company Alstom and designed to preserve the aesthetic environment the tramway is surrounded by (although very controversial for its considerable cost of installation and maintenance, but also for the numerous technical problems that paralyzed the network for an unusually long time even if those problems have been resolved). At the same time many downtown streets and squares along the tramway lines became pedestrian areas, with limited access by cars.


There are more than 400 taxicabs in Bordeaux.


The Stade Chaban-Delmas is the largest stadium. It can host 35000 spectators. There are two major sport teams in Bordeaux:

There is a 250 m (820 ft) wooden velodrome, Vélodrome du Lac, in Bordeaux which hosts international cycling competition in the form of UCI Track Cycling World Cup events.



Bordeaux was the birthplace of:

International relations

Twin towns - sister cities

Bordeaux is twinned with:


See also



  1. ^ "In Pictures | In pictures: New World Heritage sites". BBC News. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  2. ^ Washington Post, "Bordeaux struggles with slave past", September 28, 2009.
  3. ^ GHCN climate, GISS world climate averages, 1971-2000
  4. ^ "Historical Weather for Bordeaux". meteostats-bzh. Retrieved January 20, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Bordeaux Wine Region in France: World's Most Famous Fine Wine Region". Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  6. ^ MacNeil, K. (2001). The Wine Bible. New York, NY: Workman.
  7. ^ (German)
  8. ^ "Bristol City - Town twinning". © 2009 Bristol City Council. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  9. ^ "International Relations of the City of Porto". © 2006-2009 Municipal Directorateofthe PresidencyServices InternationalRelationsOffice. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  10. ^ "Saint Petersburg in figures - International and Interregional Ties". Saint Petersburg City Government. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  11. ^ "Kraków otwarty na świat". Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  12. ^ "Twin cities of Riga". Riga City Council. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Grande Théâtre
Grande Théâtre

You'll be raising your glass many times in Bordeaux, which is renowned for its wines, considered amongst the best in the world. As the capital of the department Gironde in the region Aquitaine, it has a population of one million inhabitants in its metropolitan area at a 2008 estimate. After years of neglect, the former wet docks are the country's new hot spot, with a number of cafes, gardens, and musuems springing up all the time. A lively university community of over 60,000, (Bordeaux Campus is the biggest in France) establishes that Bordeaux is about more than just wine.


Bordeaux is considered a very tolerant and relaxed place - no one will bother you about your political beliefs, religion, or sexual orientation. The cultural, artistic, and music scenes are very vibrant. The city was ruled by the English for a long time, which is why Bordeaux seems to have an "English flair".

Bordeaux is often referred to as "Little Paris" and the rivalry between the "Bordelais" (people from Bordeaux) and Parisiens is a hot subject, so you may experience some heated arguments on the subject during your stay.


Bordeaux is a flat city, built on the banks of the Garonne River. It is also the largest French city in area and geographically one of the largest in Europe. The Garonne merges a dozen kilometers below the city with another river, the Dordogne River to form the Gironde Estuary, which is biggest estuary in France.

The city center is located west and south of the Garonne. To the east are a few hills - the only ones in the vicinity. These hills mark the beginning of an industrial zone and suburbs. Because it is a flat city, bicycles make excellent modes of transport, especially as the city has more than 580 km of cycle tracks. Bordeaux is among the most economically dynamic cities in France.

There are no skyscrapers in Bordeaux, just a few tall buildings due to the weakness of the subsoil, which explains its sprawl. The center of the town has retained its traditional stone mansions and smart terraces, hence the reason behind the city being called "Little Paris".

Modern buildings can be found to the west (administrative center) and south (university) of the city.

Get in

By plane

Bordeaux-Merignac Airport (IATA: BOD) (ICAO: LFBD), [1] is west of the city. Its a regional airport which serves mostly domestic flights, though there are international flights as well connecting Bordeaux to some European "hub" airports like Paris (Orly and Roissy), London (Gatwick and Luton), Madrid, and Amsterdam.

A express bus runs every 45 minutes to the city center, with stops on the demand. The same bus runs from Gare St. Jean to the airport with three stops:

  1. . Office de Tourisme 12, cours du 30 juillet
  2. . Place Gambetta Arret 50-16-13 (devant le 38 & 39)
  3. . Barriere Judaique (devant le 9 av. de Rublique)

The fare is 7€, a reduced fare for under 26 and over 60 is available for 6€.

Alternatively, you can take the bus no. 49 towards "Bordeaux 2" and stop at "Lycée Mérignac." From there you can take the tram line A towards the city centre with just one ticket (€1.40) since it won't exceed the one hour limit for the validity of the ticket.

By train

The main train station (Gare Saint Jean) is located about 4km from the center of town. Several trains per day (around one every two hours) go north (to Paris, about 3 hours, 25 trains a day , Angoulème, Poitiers), south (to Toulouse, Marseille, Montpellier (about 4 to 5 hours), up to Nice), and east (to Périgueux and Clermont-Ferrand).

Buses and taxis leave from in front of the station. Catch the tramway to go to the inner center.

By car

You can reach Bordeaux by car from north (taking the A10 highway or N10), south (taking the A63 highway), and east. A beltway goes around the city.

If possible, avoid driving between 8-10AM and 4-7PM, as the beltway is usually overcrowded.

By bus

The bus station is located just in front of the train station, in the center of the town. Eurolines [2] provide bus service to the city.

If you're travelling with bikes European Bike Express [3] run a route from north of Leeds, stopping through the UK to Dover and then on towards Bayonne via Bordeaux. Passengers normally travel from the UK to Europe.

By taxi

Taxi providers offer service to and from the airport. For taxi services, you can go directly to Bordeaux Airport taxi rank or make an advance booking with one of the companies.

Tramway in Bordeaux
Tramway in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is quite a big city; however, most of the interesting attractions are in the town center. It is not recommended that visitors drive as it is always a hassle to park it (and car parks are expensive), and there are often traffic jams in the small, old streets of the city.

The most interesting way to explore the city is by walking. As most of the town center is a 'pedestrian area', this is easy to do. If you like sports, you can rent roller-skates or a bike (see below) or you can make your way in town using the various bus lines. A small ferry boat permits to go from the western shore of the river to the eastern shore, and vice-versa.

Three efficient tramway lines are also available (A, B, and C), tickets cost 1.40€ and covers unlimited journeys within one hour of validation.

By bus

The bus network is organized around three main places, where it is possible to take buses to almost every destination in the city :

  • Gare Saint-Jean (railway station, bus lines going to town center, university, and north of town, TBC agency),
  • Place de la Victoire (bus lines going to town center, to the railway station, to the University, north and south-west of town,
  • Place Gambetta (bus lines going to la Victoire, the railway station, west, north-west, north of town, TBC agency ).
  • Quinconces (TBC agency).

Tickets can be purchased on the bus; however, that is expensive and you cannot change buses with the tickets bought on the bus. The best thing is to buy tickets either at the TBC agencies (Gare Saint-Jean, Gambetta, Quinconces), at almost any tobacco store, or at the tourist offices (Quinconces, Gare Saint-Jean).

A 10-trip ticket will cost 8.60€. Each trip comprises up to 4 bus changes within one hour. You have also the possibility to buy tickets that will enable you to access freely the bus network for one to six days--those tickets cost from 3.75€ up to 11.80€. Students and elderly persons can buy tickets at a reduced price.

One peculiarity of Bordeaux buses is that you can get in the bus using whatever bus door you want--use the automatic machines to perforate your ticket, thus validating your trip. Don't try to cheat — fines are high.

Avoid the buses on peak hours (8-10AM, 4-7PM) as the town center is usually totally jammed (and cars often block bus tracks), and buses are overcrowded.

By ferry

Le Bus du Fleuve, as it is called, links the western part of the city and the eastern part of the city by a small cruise on the river. It is managed by the CGFTE, and you can theredore get in the boat using a standard bus ticket. The bus goes from the Southern part of Quai Richelieu to the Place Aristide Briand, very close to the Aquitaine Bridge (one of the must-see in Bordeaux).

By electric bus and tramway

A new tramway [4] serves the town, crossing the Garonne via the Pont de Pierre. A distinctive feature of the tramway is that within the inner city, it has no overhead wires although this may change due to recent issues with the ground-level power supply system.

The electric bus, called la navette du centre-ville, is the only public transportation on pedestrian roads. There are no bus stops for this one: to board an electric bus, wave your hand to the driver - he will stop the bus and let you on. When you want to go out, just tell the driver.

All the maps, fares and times are on the TBC Web site (in French) [5]. Also, maps and times can be easily accessed with Google Maps, just select route "By public transit" when getting directions.

Abbatiale Ste Croix
Abbatiale Ste Croix

Bordeaux is a historic city with many tourist attractions. The main districts are briefly presented here, which are listed according to their distance from the railway station.

  • Les Quais— Great for going for a nice walk on the shores of the Garonne, enjoying a ride on a ferry boat, viewing a stunning landscape over the bridges of Bordeaux, or dancing the night away in the city's many nightclubs. The Aquitaine Bridge is an architectural achievement unique in France.
  • La Victoire— Historical monuments meet student life and bars.
  • The Pedestrian Center — If you plan on shopping, or are looking for cultural activities, Bordeaux has a lot to offer - and it starts right here.
  • Gambetta Square — The rich districts of Bordeaux start north - this part of the town is nicknamed "Little Paris".
  • Quinconces Square — Be sure to check out the fountain monument to the Girondins, a group of moderate, bourgeois National Assembly deputies during the French Revolution..
  • Meriadeck — The administrative center of Bordeaux, with one of the biggest libraries in France.
  • Do not miss the Victory Arch (Roman architecture), at the center of La Victoire and a great example of the town's Roman roots.
  • Relax and take a picnic in the lush Public Gardens, north of Gambetta square.
  • The Girondins memorial on the Quinconces square is a fitting tribute to the Girondin députés that were guillotined by the Robespierre.
  • Musee D'Art Contemporain at 7, rue Ferrère. Definitely worth a visit if you are interested in Modern Art. The Richard Long slate line-up on the roof is a permanent feature. Exhibits are always changing and the museum is an inspiring place for installations. The CAPC is open Tuesday to Sunday 11AM-6PM (to 8PM Wednesday), closed Monday; admission is €5.50 (£4), but free on the first Sunday of the month.
  • Musee D'Aquitaine, 20, cours Pasteur. Stunning musuem that exhibits Gallo-Roman statues and relics dating back 25,000 years. Hours- 11AM - 6PM Tue-Sun. Free entry for permanent collections; temporary exhibits cost around €5 for adults.
  • Have a walk along the Sainte-Catherine street in the Pedestrian Center and enjoy the scenery.
  • Consider crossing the bridges or taking the ferry boat over the river (see Les Quais).
  • Climb the 243 steps of the tower of Saint-Michel, and enjoy the panoramic view of Bordeaux (entrance 3 Euro).
  • Spend some time at the miroir d'eau (water mirror) at the border of the river. Every now and then, it is filled with 2 cm of water, alternated with a cloud of mist.
  • Have a drink and a dance at one of the many bars or clubs in Les Quais or La Victoire.
  • Watch the ducks play in the big public park north of the center and escape from the city at the Jardin Botanique, Bordeaux's Botanical Garden. Around since 1855, the botanical garden is the perfect place to take a walk around its many paths, or just sit and relax. Guided tours are on offer, as well as occasional workshops and activities for children.

Bordeaux gardens open: end March to end October - 8AM to 8PM; end October to end March - 8AM to 6PM. Bordeaux gardens admission is free.


Football (soccer) is a very popular sport in Bordeaux, as the F.C. Girondins, the football club, is one of the best in France (avoid talking football in the city, it's another sensitive subject). Tickets for almost every game are easy to come by and can be purchased before the match at the ticket office 'Place Johnstone' at the South West corner of the stadium or on the evening of the game at the turnstiles. Games against main rivals Marseille will sell out well in advance as will the fixtures against PSG, Lyon and usually St Etienne so don't travel without a ticket for one of these games. Expect to pay anything between 9 euros for the Virages Nord and Sud (behind the goals) to a maximum of 80 euros for the exclusive Presidential Suite.

The Virage Sud is an amazing experience for any football fan but be warned that everyone stands up on the seats, your view may be restricted by an impressive array of flags and they have a habit of lighting flares frequently during the match.

Despite the locals being extremely loud and passionate in their support, there are very few safety problems helped partially by the small numbers of travelling fans. In the past few seasons, there have been some clashes against supporters of Marseille and PSG but the vast majority of games end peacefully with both sets of fans mixing on the tram back to the city.

Explore the city on wheels as Bordeaux is a very nice city for practising roller-skating (or roller-blading) and other "skating sports".

Other sports that enjoy some support in Bordeaux include ice hockey, handball and rugby. The two Bordeaux rugby clubs Stade Bordelais and Begles merged in 2006 to form Union CABBG. The club plays in the second tier of Frances national leagues and usually plays its home games and Stade Andre Moga in the suburb of Begles. Tickets for the seated stands are 10 euros.

Bordeaux Cricket Club are the vice champions of France and play regularly at Château Giscours in Médoc. Attendance is free and greatly encouraged.

Taste wine

Touring the wineyards and sampling the local wines are one of the greatest pleasures when visiting Bordeaux. It is the second largest wine-growing region in the world and produces over 700 million bottles annually. It produces some of the best and most prestigious wines in the world, with some of the of the best and most famous being:

  • Chateau Petrus
  • Château Lafite-Rothschild
  • Château Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac)
  • Château Margaux
  • Chateau Ausone
  • Château Cheval Blanc

The annual summer wine festivals are held in tandem with the "bordeaux-fete-le-fleuve" [6] celebrating the river, land, and international community. In 2008 the wine expo will last from the 21st - 24th of June.


Bordeaux is a great city for learning- to learn a bit about French culture, consider visiting cinemas such as Utopia [7] or going to the city library in Meriadeck.

If you're interested in wine, don't hesitate to visit wine resellers north of Gambetta or Les Quinconces.

The Bordeaux University [8], located a few kilometers south of town, offers a wide variety of courses, from science to humanities, from beginner classes to high-level research. The laboratories are among the best in France. It is possible to take French courses there in the summer, with Erasmus students. The DEFLE [9] (Department for the study of French as a foreign language) is attached to Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III. It offers both semester and vacation courses in French for foreign students.


Bordeaux has made its wealth out of trade, and the local economic system relies heavily on shops and trading halls. The Pedestrian Center is basically full of stores of all kinds, from clothes to art, craftworks, food and wine etc. If you're looking for luxury items, head to Gambetta square and its surroundings.

Don't hesitate to buy some local music - Bordeaux music groups are on the rise! Check out Kap Bambino, an electronic music duo formed by singer Caroline Martial and beat-smith boyfriend Orion Bouvier.

Clothing is less expensive than neighboring Paris, so wear comfortable shoes and head to Rue Sainte Catherine, the longest pedestrian precinct in Europe and the best place for shopping.

Of course, you can hardly leave Bordeaux, without taking home some of its beloved wine. Make sure you're aware of the customs rules at the airport.


Gastronomy has a very important place in the city, which is full of restaurants of all kinds. French restaurants provide dishes from almost every part of the country, and there are a lot of Asian, African or Arabian restaurants.

  • FERNAND, 7, quai de la Douane, 05 56 81 23 40 (). every day for lunch and dinner. An authentic bistro next to the "Place de la Bourse", on the waterfront in the old Bordeaux : an old wooden decor and a very pleasant terrace in front of the Garonne and the "Miroir d'eau"; you can enjoy a french cooking who follows seasons with beautiful products like seafood, oysters, wild fishes from Arcachon, "Blond d'Aquitaine" beef etc., all of those, served by a warm and pleasant welcome.  edit
  • Couleurs Cafe, 28, rue Pere-Louis-de-Jabrun, 05 56 48 28 58. It's the perfect little French bistro where you can take a well earned pause from the days activities and graze on some tasty light fare. The salads with the homemade bread rolls are a great choice, or you can indulge in some of the decadent cakes on offer.  edit
  • Chez Greg, 30-31, quail de la Monnaine, 05 56 31 30 30. Serving tasty dishes such as a tartine of red mullet, the ambiance of this restaurant puts customers at ease with its Philippe Starck chairs and walls lined with wine bottles. Speaking of wine, the wine bar upstairs is great for pre and post dinner tastings.  edit
  • Restaurant des Tombeliers, 9, rue de Saigon, 05 56 85 51 18. Closed Sunday. It's the best local secret, serving the best omelettes and mashed potatoes. The decor is a little dated, but the friendly service and great food makes up for it. A la carte- 10 €.  edit
  • La Tupina, 6, rue Pas-de-la-Monnaine, 05 56 91 56 37. Regional cuisine at its best. Fresh local produce servd generously and heartily. Meals are served in a Basque ambiance, with country tablecloths and wood chairs. Try the corn fed Landes fowl, and you'll understand why this earned La Tupina the Second Best Bistro in the world by the International Herald Tribune. Fixed price 45 €, A la carte 46€.  edit
  • Cafe du Port, 1, quail Deschamps, 05 56 77 81 18. It's dining with the ultimate view, the Left Bank on one side and the Pont de Pierre on the other. But it's not just the views that draw customers here in droves, the food's pretty good too. Especially consideing that the chef is the famed Phillipe Techoire. Under his command, you'll feast on beef rib roast, glass eye, and in the winter, roast pig's feet with mustard. Enjoy! A la carte 35€.  edit


Bordeaux is lively during the day and continues throughout the night. If you're looking for a bar to hang out with friends or to enjoy watching a football match, head for La Victoire, as most of the pubs and bars of the town are here. Virtually, all the shops in the surroundings of this area are bars, and you'll likely be able to find one that suits your needs.

If you prefer dancing or clubbing, most of the night-clubs are on the Quais, close to the train station. From rock to disco, dance to techno, you also have a lot of choice.

  • Dick Turpin's, 72, Rue du Loup, 05 56 48 07 52 (). One of the oldest English pubs in Bordeaux, popular with young and old alike. Good music, no TV.  edit
  • El Chuchumbe, 6, rue Causserouge, 05 56 31 25 88. Best place to go for a salsa dance, head there around midnight when bodies really start shaking on the dance floor. They serve great mojitos as well to complement the mood.  edit
  • Le Frog and Rosbif, 23, Rue Ausone. English pub near La Garonne with an all-English staff. A popular hangout for those who want to catch football or rugby matches.  edit
  • Le Break, 23, Rue de Candale. A popular hipster-like bar just outside la place de la victoire which plays great music and attracts a younger crowd. Arrive early if you want to get a table during the weekend.  edit
  • Xing-Xing, 20, Rue Piliers de Tutelle. An animé/manga themed bar disco with a very fun atmosphere.  edit
  • Shadow Lounge International, 5, rue Cabanac, 05 56 49 36 93. The place to go for the young and trendy, Shadow possess a certain sexiness to its decor that is very appealing, even the restrooms are marble. The DJ spins the latest tunes while the hip clientele sip on very expensive drinks.  edit

While the entrance is free to the majority of the clubs, don't get there drunk or you will not be let in.


Most tourist hotels are close to the railway station (that is, close to the Quais). There are some luxury hotels close to Gambetta square and Quinconces square, which are really nice but rather expensive.

Bordeaux has a recently-built youth hostel, close to the railway station, which can be worth a visit for a few nights - remember to book in advance.

  • Auberge de la jeunesse 22 cours Barbey. Tel: (+33)5/56 330 070, [10]. Bordeaux's only hostel is a satisfyingly good one with decent facilities and a lively atmosphere. Breakfast and bedding is included. Note that there is a lock-out between 2am and 5am so plan your night accordingly. €21 per person/night.
  • The Ibis Bordeaux St Jean 19, quai Paludate. Tel: (+33)5/56942525 [11]. Very accessible from Gare St Jean railway station, the rooms are small but self contained. Basic but in a great location. Prices ranging from €53 to €90.
  • Tulip Inn Bordeaux 4, rue Martignac and 11, rue Mautrec, tel 05 56 48 00 88. Charming 18th century hotel, with fine furnishings throughout the hotel, with mahogany furnishings and beech furniture. Close to the Grand Theatre and the Triangle d'Or.
  • Hotel de Normandie, 7-9, cours du 30- Juillet, tel 05 56 52 16 80. While the rooms are rather bland, the location and views of the Place des Quinconces from the rooms are stunning.
  • PV-Holidays Adagio Bordeaux Gambetta, [12] +33 1 58 21 55 84. Situated in the heart of the city, 2 minutes’ walk from the Place Gambetta and the centre of Bordeaux, opposite to the Mériadeck business district. The 111 air-conditioned apartments, from 2-person studios to 1-bedroom apartment for 4 persons. Also a fitness room with sauna and Turkish bath as well as an indoor parking.
  • PV-Holidays Lacanau Holiday Village (Lacanau Holiday Village), Lacanau (Just 55km away from Bordeaux), [13]. a great place for families to explore a region, and use their self-catering apartments as a base. Located in the heart of a vast pine forest, freshwater lake and dune area, its also just 2km from the Atlantic Ocean. On-site activities include tennis, golf, magic, pony-riding, paint ball, beach volleyball, basketball, handball, table-tennis and mountain biking.  edit
  • The Sofitel Bordeaux hotel is close to the banks of the Bordeaux lake, near the Convention center. There is a private swimming pool. 1 Avenue Jean-Gabriel Domergue in Bordeaux le Lac. Tel: (+33)5/56696666, [14].
  • Burdigala, 115, rue Georges-Bonnac, tel 05 56 90 16 16. Displaying a European elegance, the Burdigala attracts a cosmopolitan clientele that appreciates its multi-lingual staff and spacious rooms complete with marble bathrooms. Hotel also hosts long term stays.
  • Mercure Libertel Claret, 18, parvis des Chartons, tel 05 56 01 79 79. More than just a luxury hotel, the Mercure also features a wine bar that showcases 200 different wines from all over the world. The spacious rooms have all been renovacted and display a subtle elegance.
  • Petit Hotel Labottiere, 14, rue Francis-Martin, tel 05 56 48 44 10. Listed as a historical monument, this 18th century hotel exudes opulence and style. Luxurious furnishings abound but with a modern level a comfort. Well worth the indulgence.


Bordeaux is covered by the three major telecommunication operators in France : France Telecom (Orange), Bouygues, and SFR. If you have a GSM cellphone with an international subscription, you should be able to give calls from anywhere in the city. It is also possible to find phone cabins, but some have been removed recently due to their decreased usage.

As for internet access, there are a few cybercafes in the pedestrian center, which are not expensive (from 2 to 4 euros per hour).

Stay safe

Bordeaux is not a city known for insecurity, and if you respect some simple rules, you shouldn't have any problems.

  • Beware of pickpockets, mostly in crowded buses and in the pedestrian streets. Do not leave any luggage out of view—it might disappear. If you're taking the bus with a backpack, it's better putting it at your feet instead of keeping it on your back.
  • Do not go clubbing/in bars alone at night. If you have a meeting with friends, meet outside the bar/club—anyway it's easier to get inside when you're a pack.
  • As another general rule, do not accept drinks offered by people you don't know well—some people might try to drug you and abuse you afterwards. This is serious advice, as there were several cases reported. Take drinks directly at the counter or from the waiter.

Get out

There are a lot of interesting things to see close to Bordeaux.

  • North: The Medoc region, where some of the famous Bordeaux wines are produced (Margaux, La Tour, Laffit-Roschild etc). A lot of wine producers organize visits of their installations, with tastings of their products.
  • West: To the west, you will end up at the Atlantic Ocean, with over 150 mile of golden sand beaches accompanied by a sea of unspoilt pine forests; there are a lot of very nice-looking little towns close to the sea, including Arcachon, sea-side town, noted for its oyster production. You can take a train from Gare de Saint Jean in Bordeaux to Arcachon for around 7 euros, the train takes between 40 and 50 minutes. The Hourtins' Lake, the biggest fresh water water lake in France, is located there. In summer, its a paradise to go swimming or cycling in the pine-tree woods of that area. Near Arcachon is the biggest sand dune in Europe. Very interesting especially when you travel with small children.
  • East: Here you will find Saint Emilion, well known vineyard surrounding the village of the same name. It is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In addition, Entre-deux-Mers area is the area located between the Garonne river and the Dordogne river. It has a large variety of typical wineries and old castles, such as Chateau de Curton[15], Chateau de Camarsac and others.
  • South: Lying south is the Graves region, the oldest vineyard of Bordeaux stretches along the Garonne river. This area is the most interesting for historical tourism, with many beautiful towns and historical monuments open to the public. Towns: Bazas, Saint Macaire, Uzeste,Cadillac. Castles: Chateau de Roquetaillade [16], Villandraut ,Malle, Fargues, Cazeneuve.

To reach those places, you can use either the regional railways (TER) or inter-city bus lines (which often go where trains do not). By car, all these areas are less than an hour from Bordeaux.

The whole region is covered with well organized bike or walking trails which let you discover the countryside.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also bordeaux



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A city in southwest France
  2. A wine coming from that area.
    We had a nice bottle of Bordeaux last night.



Proper noun


  1. Bordeaux

Derived terms

Simple English

Bordeaux in France
File:Bordeaux Pont de
Pont de Pierre

Bordeaux is a city in the south west of France near the Atlantic Ocean. It has about 230,000 inhabitants in the city. About 750,000 people live in the area around the city. Bordeaux is famous for wines made in the region near the city. Bordeaux is also famous for its art.

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