If you are a wine-lover you will be familiar with Bordeaux as the world’s major wine industry capital, but Bordeaux is not just for wine. Nicknamed ‘The Pearl of Aquitaine’, this municipality is steeped in history, with the oldest parts of the city being on UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of the 18th century.
I recommend a visit to the Esplanade des Quinconces, at 33 acres if it the largest square in Europe and was originally meant to prevent rebellion against the city in 1820, with guns pointing towards the centre. Be sure to look at the imposing principal monument was created in memory of the Girondists (who campaigned for the end of the monarchy but then resisted the spiralling momentum of the French Revolution) and boasts a grand pedestal framed by two basins which are decorated with bronze horses and troops which are, in turn, surmounted by the representation of the spirit of liberty.
Less than an hour from the city, Le Bassin D’Arcachon is an exceptional venue for architecture with Winter Town’s elegant 19th century villas and sea front complete with piers being the perfect trip in summer. There are lots to do in this collection of 10 towns – one recommendation is to see the amazing view by visiting Europe’s highest sand dune La Dune du Pilat by hopping on a bus. Alternatively you can cycle around the 125 miles of paths around the bay, enjoy an afternoon of water sports or simply explore the seaside and indulge at one of the many family-friendly restaurants.
Many of us enjoy a spot of retail therapy when we’re on holiday, and Bordeaux boasts a 1.2km shopping street which includes restaurants, cafes as well as shops. Rue Sainte-Catherine is one of the longest shopping streets in Europe, starting at Place de la Victoire and ending up at Place de la Comédie by the Grand Théâtre and is one of two main lines running through the historic part of the city. Rue Sainte-Catherine is fully pedestrianised and underwent a complete refurbishment between 2000 and 2003. Shops include Zara, The Body Shop, Zadig & Voltaire, Longchamp and Lacoste.
If you want to try something a little off the beaten path then nothing beats a trip to the Planete Mussee du Chocolate whose displays takes you through the history of chocolate from growth to harvest and production. For your small ticket fee you can indulge in a hot chocolate and some delicious chocolate buttons, and of course don’t forget the shop at the end of the tour – perfect for picking up gifts for friends and family ba