Bordeaux is a large city located along the banks of the Garonne River in the Southwestern part of France.
A historic city of great importance that needs to be protected, in 2007 at least 40% of its surface area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is actually the most protect city in all of France right after Paris.
When visiting the city you'll see 18th century architecture and buildings.
La Grosse Cloche, a 15th century bell tower that was once part of the Town Hall building. It has two 40 meter tall towers and a bell weighing over 7 metric tons.
Of course, old churches are a given in any town and city in France.
Bordeaux also has a large number of museums, theaters and cinemas located around the city. One museum is even dedicated entirely to wine - the Cité du Vin. It's located in a unique modern building that was designed to look like a large wine decanter. We didn't go to it ourselves because we had the dog with us and we had plenty of other wine activities planned for our trip.
By that I mean, we stopped off as several bars and sampled the wines of the region.
Bordeaux is one of the most important and well known wine regions in the entire world, so no trip would be complete without a wine sampling or two...or 12 for that matter.
Wines of Bordeaux are dark in color and full bodied. They tend to have deep and rich, dark fruit flavors. To be honest though, I actually always find them to be a bit acidic. I think that's because we tend not to buy expensive bottles of wine in our daily lives. We generally stick to the 7-12 euro marked bottles unless it's a special occasion or something. I've been told by several people that Bordeaux's are expensive, which I didn't really understand because you can easily buy a bottle of Bordeaux for 5-9 euros at most stores. But that's also probably why they are acidic to me. It seems that in the case of a Bordeaux, you have to spend over 25 euros to get a good bottle.
Something to note though is that there are other smaller wine regions of France that produce excellent, even superior wines for a lot less money - around the 8-15 euro mark. So more expensive doesn't always mean better quality in my experience.
Along with its many museums, Bordeaux also has one of the longest outdoor shopping streets in Europe. Rue de Sainte-Catherine is 1.2km long and bustling with shops and cafes, and or course people.
Monument aux Girondins
The Girondists monument was erected in 1894 in memory of the Girondins, a political group that were killed in the French Revolution during a series of massacres that has come to be known as The Reign of Terror.
The monument is 54 meters tall and consists of two pools that surround and intricate display of four horses and other figures in movement.
There is actually a very similar monument in Lyon that was originally intended for Bordeaux. It also depicts four horses and I read that each of them represents the four major rivers of France.
There are a lot of Rivers in France but I think the major ones are the Seine, the Loire, the Dordogne and the Garonne.
I like these two ladies talking to each other at the base of the tall column. It's almost as if they are permanently locked in conversation with each other, as if the artist didn't want them to be cut off and alone over the years.
The Water Mirror
The water mirror at Bordeaux is a lot of fun. The novelty of 2cm of water is actually really incredible.
Normally the water is turned off in November because of the cold but it was was holiday when we were there and the weather was nice, so the city happened to turn it on during the day. Many people were gathered there to take pictures. My wife even took a few steps in herself for a shot or two.
I noticed that there are basically two types of people at the mirror: the first are those that gracefully and gentilly step into the water, trying ever so carefully not to disturb its reflective surface for others. The other type are those who get pleasure out of disturbing the mirror effect, who tramp through the center without a care, laughing manically at all of the ruined Instagram photos.
What type of person do you think you'd be?
There was this kid there riding his bike in circles around the surface of the pool. Then out of nowhere and without warning he turned abruptly and headed into the water, shouting over his shoulder to the people on the edge taking pictures:
"Hear me now for I have a message from the water...its says to enjoy the moment for it is fleeting. Just like its reflection, nothing in life is permanent, the only constant is change. This is the lesson of the water."
.... I just stood there blinking.
"Wow kid. That's deep."
Okay, in truth that didn't actually happen. I made that story up. But you didn't actually think that a kid would say that did you?
What really happened was exactly like you would expect in a situation like this. The kid went back and forth a dozen times for probably 10 minutes or so, laughing his head off while his dad watched on the sidelines cheering him on. All of the ladies in their fancy dresses and men with their high end cameras had to wait patiently for the boy to get bored and move on so they could resume taking photos of the reflections. I didn't particularly care but you could tell that a lot of people were annoyed.
City at Night
I'll leave you with a few photos of the city at night, but at this point I'll keep the commentary to a minimum. That's enough reading for one day I'm sure.
It's not as impressive as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but the Arc in Bordeaux still pretty cool.
A church tower lit up like a Christmas tree.
Pont de Pierre (1822) featured below. I like the lights of the bridge reflecting on the water.
Porte Cailhau is a medeival gatehouse to the old town.
Surprisingly, I prefer the photo of it being blocked by the tram system. I think it's the the blue lighting.
Same gateway from the other side.