10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bordeaux

Do you consider yourself an ardent lover of wines, appreciation for elegant architecture, and a penchant for history? Then Bordeaux is a city that you must familiarise yourself with. Often referred to as “The Pearl of Aquitaine,” Bordeaux is situated in the Southwestern part of France and is known for its famous wine production and beautiful landscapes. Let us delve into some lesser-known interesting facts about Bordeaux that will undoubtedly amaze you.

1. Bordeaux is Home to the World’s largest Wine Fair

Did you know that Bordeaux hosts the world’s largest wine fair? Yes, you heard it right. Vinexpo is a wine and spirits industry-oriented exhibition that is held in Bordeaux every alternate year. Notably, the fair attracts more than 2,400 exhibitors from about 50 countries and roughly 30,000 visitors from around the globe. This becomes a significant event for wine lovers, professionals, and enthusiasts to connect.

Moreover, Vinexpo emphasizes driving growth in the wine sector, where new revolutionary ideas, headways, and products get the spotlight. Don’t miss the next Vinexpo if you’re an aspiring oenophile or wine investor planning a visit to Bordeaux.

2. Bordeaux has the Most Preserved Historical Architecture in France after Paris

Bordeaux takes pride in preserving its historical buildings. It stands second in France, after Paris, in the number of preserved historical edifices. Of special note is its historic monument, Place de la Bourse, which is a heritage structure with a captivating three-sided symmetrical layout.

Additionally, the city’s other preserved historical structures, like the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André and the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, which was built in 1780, also draw a massive number of tourists every year. If you admire beautiful architecture, then the city of Bordeaux is a treasure trove awaiting your exploration.

3. Bordeaux is Known as the “City of Art and History”

The French Ministry of Culture and Communication designated Bordeaux as a “City of Art and History” in 1985, and for good reasons. Bordeaux is steeped in rich culture and history, which is evident in its architecture, entertainment, and attractions that tell tales of bygone eras.

Further, Bordeaux is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it the largest urban World Heritage Site on the globe. The city is home to over 350 historical landmarks and monuments, including churches, old bridges, and beautiful squares, furthering its reputation as a city of art and history.

4. Bordeaux was Once Known as “Sleeping Beauty”

The city of Bordeaux was previously referred to as “La Belle Endormie,” which means “Sleeping Beauty.” This was due to the fact that the city’s stunning architecture had been obscured by pollution for many years, making it appear sleepy and dormant.

However, this situation changed in the mid-1990s when an extensive clean-up initiative was launched to restore the city’s historic façades. Today, Bordeaux has awakened from its slumber and shines brightly, irresistibly captivating tourists and locals alike.

5. Bordeaux has the World’s First Wine Theme Park

If you’re a wine enthusiast with a curiosity to explore and learn more about wine, you’ll be excited to know that Bordeaux is the home of La Cité du Vin, the world’s first wine theme park. This multi-sensory experience offers a unique journey through the history and culture of wine, immersing visitors in an unforgettable tale of winemaking.

Designed to educate as much as to entertain, it presents globally-sourced wines in its tasting room along with various interactive exhibits and a panoramic restaurant with breathtaking views of the city. From amateur wine tasters to connoisseurs, there’s something for everyone at La Cité du Vin.

6. Bordeaux is Home to One of the Oldest Wine-Producing Regions

Bordeaux’s wine-growing region is one of the oldest in the world. It’s believed that vines were first introduced to the area by the Romans as early as the mid-1st century. Today, Bordeaux is home to over 7,000 châteaux, each producing its own vintage wines.

The unique terroir, combining a temperate maritime climate, diverse soils, and the Gironde Estuary’s influence, results in a multitude of wines with distinct flavours – from the prestigious reds of the Médoc and Saint-Emilion to the delicate whites of Pessac-Léognan and Sauternes.

7. Bordeaux has the Highest Number of Restaurants per inhabitant in France

Besides being famous for its wine, Bordeaux holds the record for the highest number of restaurants per inhabitant in France. The city takes its gastronomy just as seriously as its viticulture.

From traditional Bordeaux fare in cosy bistros to Michelin-starred restaurants serving haute cuisine, Bordeaux has long been a culinary destination. The city’s location near the Atlantic coast and its fertile agricultural hinterland ensure a plentiful supply of fresh ingredients, shaping its gastronomic landscape.

8. Bordeaux is a Great Surfing Spot

While Bordeaux’s vineyards might be the first thing that springs to mind, the region is also a great place for surfing. The Atlantic coast, just an hour’s drive away, offers fantastic waves that attract surfers from around the world.

Known as the ‘Silicon Valley of Surfing,’ the Gironde department, which includes Bordeaux, is home to numerous surf businesses and brands that foster a vibrant surf culture. So, whether you’re a professional surfer or a novice wanting to try your hand at this sport, the beaches of Lacanau and Hossegor won’t disappoint.

9. Bordeaux’s Port is Known as “Port of the Moon”

The Port of Bordeaux, which played a significant role in the city’s growth and wealth, is often referred to as the “Port of the Moon” because of its crescent shape. The port’s strategic location on the Garonne River connected it to several major sea routes, adding to its prominence during the 18th century.

Even today, the Port of the Moon, now a cultural and tourist hub, is quintessential Bordeaux – its terraces offering stunning views of the city’s waterfront, a must-visit when strolling through this unique city.

10. Bordeaux is Known for its Beautiful Public Gardens

Last but not least, Bordeaux is adorned with breathtakingly beautiful public gardens and parks. Among the most notable is the Public Garden, or ‘Jardin Public,’ situated in the heart of the city. This serene oasis is a perfect spot to relax after a long day of sightseeing.

In addition, Bordeaux boasts the massive Parc Bordelais, covering 28 hectares and dating back to 1888. Here, you’ll find beautiful vegetation, sculptures, and even a small lake, making this park the perfect family picnic spot.

Conclusion

As you can see, Bordeaux is not only about wine but much more awaits to be discovered and explored in the city. From extraordinary architecture, sumptuous food scene to an exciting surf culture, Bordeaux is certainly a delight for all kinds of travellers. The next time you plan a visit to France, include Bordeaux in your itinerary to experience what this magnificent city has to offer.

Bordeaux Tourism

La Cité du Vin

Vinexpo

The Guide to Pessac-Léognan Wines

Hossegor Surf Hub