Bordeaux is a port city on the River Garonne in southwestern France, close to the Atlantic Ocean. According to the 2008 census, 250,082 people live in Bordeaux. The metropolis has a population of 1.01 million and is the sixth largest metropolitan area in France. Bordeaux is the capital of the Aquitaine region. The inhabitants are called Bordelais. The majority of the population is French, but there are large groups of Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Turks, Germans and North Africans.
Bordeaux is world famous for its large wine production. Vinexpo, the largest wine fair in the world, is held there every year. The renowned Bordeaux wines, known as the best in the world, have been produced in this area since the 8th century. The profit of the wine industry amounts to 14.5 billion euros per year. Economically, Bordeaux is one of the most dynamic cities in France. Even ocean liners can reach Bordeaux via the Garonne River.
The historic part of the city has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Bordeaux PanoramaPhoto: Galano CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
The coordinates are 44° 50'19 North latitude and 0° 34'42 'West longitude.
Bordeaux is close to the European Atlantic coast, in the southwest of France and in the north of the Aquitaine region. Paris is about 500 km away. Bordeaux is set on flat land and is built on the banks of the Garonne River. It is also the largest French city in terms of land area and one of the largest geographically in Europe. The Garonne mixes a dozen kilometers from the city with another river, the Dordogne River, together they form the Gironde. The city center is located west and south of the Garonne.
The city and the whole area have an oceanic climate, but the summers are usually warmer and the winters milder than in most comparable areas. Summers are warm and long due to the influence of the warm sea currents in the Bay of Biscay with temperatures up to 22 °C. In summer there is also a lot of precipitation.
West winds from the Atlantic Ocean dampen the weather in winter. The average winter temperature is 6.5 °C, but the last winters have been a lot warmer. The average summer temperature is 19.5 °C, but it has been warmer since 2001.
The remains found in a famous cave known as Pair-non-Pair, north of Bordeaux, prove that the area was inhabited by Neanderthals some 30,000 to 20,000 years ago.
A Celtic tribe settled in the region around 300 BC and called the city Burdigala, later the name was changed to Bourde.
Roman BordeauxPhoto: Frédéric Rodrigo CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
About 60 BC the city fell under Roman rule. Later it became the capital of Roman Aquitaine, trade flourished in the 3rd century. At the end of the same century, the city was sacked by the Vandals, in the 4th century by Visigoths and the Franks in the 5th century. It was a period of decline.
In the late 6th century, the city became the seat of a county and an archdiocese within the Merovingian kingdom of the Franks. The city was a large city on the outskirts of the newly established Frankish Duchy.
From the 12th to the 15th century, Bordeaux regained importance due to the marriage of Duchess Eleonora of Aquitaine to Count Henri Plantagenet, who soon became King Henry II of England. The city flourished mainly as a result of the wine trade. In the 16th century, Bordeaux became the center of the sugar and slave trade with the West Indies, in addition to the traditional wine trade.
Bordeaux was added to the kingdom of France in 1653 when Louis XIV's army invaded the city. The 18th century was Bordeaux's golden age. Many beautiful buildings from that time still form the historic center of the city. Baron Haussmann, the famous architect who rebuilt medieval Paris on the model of Bordeaux, was prefect in the city for a long time.
Bordeaux Historic Harbour painted by ManetPhoto: Public Domain
During the Second World War, when Paris fell into German hands, the French government moved from Paris to Bordeaux. The French capital was soon moved back to Vichy. After the war, many urban development projects were carried out in the city, the best known of which are Bordeaux-lac and Mériadeck.
Bordeaux is classified as "City of Art and History". Bordeaux is a historic city with many tourist attractions. There are beautiful neighborhoods to see, a must for visitors.
Bordeaux City centerPhoto: Olivier Aumage CC 2.0 France no changes made
In Bordeaux it is best to walk in the historic center of the city, it is one large pedestrian area. You can cross the river and visit the other side with a small ferry. You can also use efficient tram lines where you can make an unlimited number of rides within an hour.
Les Quays is a promenade along the banks of the Garonne with a beautiful view over the countryside and the bridges of Bordeaux. You see the Aquitaine bridge, a bridge with a unique architecture.
Bordeaux Rue Sainte-CatherinePhoto: Ardfern CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
You can also walk along Sainte-Catherine street in the pedestrian center and enjoy the scenery. The part of the city around Gambetta square is called "Little Paris". Visit the lush public gardens, north of Gambetta square, where you can relax and have a picnic. Entrance to the gardens is free.
You will recognize the Roman architecture in the Triumphal Arch, in the center of La Victoire, where you can see a number of historical monuments, but at the same time you are in the middle of the student life with many bars and restaurants.
The memorial in Quinconces square pays tribute to the Girondin deputies who were beheaded by Robespierre.
There are numerous museums and galleries in the city. During your stay, do not miss the following: The Musee d'Art Contemporain at 7, Rue Ferrère is worth a visit if you are interested in Modern Art. There are always changing exhibitions and the museum has inspiring installations. The Musee D'Aquitaine is a beautiful museum that displays Gallo-Roman statues and relics dating back 25,000 years.
Bordeaux Wines Photo: Colin CC 2.0 Generic no changes made
A visit to Bordeaux is of course not complete without taking a trip to one of the many vineyards in the area. If you are short on time, you can also visit one of the many wine museums in the city. Of course there are also many places where you can taste and possibly buy Bordeaux wines, but make sure it is affordable. Furthermore, Bordeaux is also very well developed in the culinary field.