Bordeaux, Port of the Moon, encompasses the historic centre of Bordeaux as an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble created in the Age of Enlightenment. A bend in the river Garonne has created a natural harbour here, and because of its shape it's called Port of the Moon.
The most prominent examples of the period of Enlightenement, created from the 1730s, are:
- Place Royale (today Place de la Bourse)
- Allées de Tourny
- Place Dauphine (Gambetta nowadays), Place d’Aquitaine, Place de Bourgogne and Place Tourny
- public garden
- Grand Theatre
- Palais Rohan
- Place des Quinconces
Bordeaux has been a commercial centre for ages, primarily based on its wine export. It was founded as a Roman settlement in 56 B.C.
Visit October 2011
There’s no doubt that Bordeaux is a very pleasant and liveable city. We arrived late in the evening (11 p.m.) and our taxi driver proudly pointed out all the monumental highlights: the bridge across the Garonne, the Place de la Bourse, the old city gates and the water mirror to name but a few. They are all flooded in light after it gets dark: a very fine sight.
The next morning we did a self-guided tour of the main city area, which is not very large. The streets are well-geared to pedestrians, and everything looks very neat and well-preserved. The buildings are very uniform in style and colour. We were already completely in awe of the monumental fountain with its statues of horses at the Place de Quinconces.
As other reviewers have remarked, there are no really outstanding buildings that warrant a separate visit. The most interesting structure may be the Cathedral. This is part of the French Routes to Santiago de Compostela also, and I think that it fits that label better because of its age.
There are lots of smaller things to see and do however in the streets of Bordeaux: the pastry shops, the plentiful terraces of its bars and restaurants, the well-stocked shops (I bought some smelly cheese to take home with me!), the Jardin Public. Combined with especially sunny and warm weather for early October, we had a good time in Bordeaux.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|Klaus Freisinger (Austria):|
As the other reviewers have pointed out, Bordeaux is a very pleasant city with many fine monuments and sights, and it is certainly a good base for exploring the many attractions in the surrounding area. There are several historic buildings, a large number of churches, and a fine riverfront to be explored. Even though there are no standout sights (except maybe the Monument aux Girondins at the Place des Quinconces), Bordeaux has a well-maintained centre stretching along a bend of the Garonne River (somewhat shaped like a crescent, hence the name "Port of the Moon"). The massive Cathedral of St. André, as well as the basilicas of St. Michel and St. Seurin, are also part of the Route of Santiago inscription.
| Date posted: August 2012|
|Ian Cade (England):|
I found Bordeaux to be a great, medium sized European city, though it has some lovely buildings there are no real stand out monuments. The large uniform buildings do not seem to be over-powering and the streets are reasonably sized so it doesn’t feel intimidating like Paris sometimes can. For me one of the real joys of travelling in Europe is losing time in great cities like this, they do not have the masses of tourists like the continents star attractions but still showcase the architecture and lifestyle that make this such an interesting part of the world to travel in.
My first view of the city centre was the broad sweep of buildings facing the river, from here it is easy to understand the moon shaped layout of the city centre. Perhaps my highlight was strolling aimlessly along St Catherine Street watching everyone else doing pretty much the same. I also enjoyed a lovely wine-tasting session, allowing me to sample the region’s most famous export. I would like to suggest this was a cultural quest to get myself better acquainted with the product that led to the development of such a grand port, however I would be lying, it was just because there are few things like more than relaxing with a glass of wine, a newspaper and a plate of cheese in a foreign city.
Bordeaux also deserves top marks for the way in which it has presented its city centre. Obviously a lot of time and money has been spent in developing the new trams system, installing wonderful lighting and street furniture. The cynical amongst us may say this is just a vanity project of a shady politician, but there is no denying that it presents the city in the best possible light and makes it a rewarding place to while away a day or two.
Bordeaux does have some nice sights, however it is the exceptionally well planned and presented layout that makes this such a charming city to spend time in, and I would have no problem going back.
[Site 6: Experience 8]
| Date posted: April 2011|
|John Booth (New Zealand):|
To get around the large city area I invested 4.10 euros in a day ticket for the trams and buses. During the course of the day I visited the three sites duplicated on the WHS Way of St James, the St Andre cathedral, St Seurin basilica and St Michaels church, as well as some Port of the Moon sites:
Palais Rohan - now the Hotel de Ville
Palais Gallieni - a Roman ruin
Portes de Bourgogne, Dijeaux and Aquitaine - triumphal arches, former city gates
Place Gambetta - a landscaped garden
Place Quinconces - a huge space with an elaborate fountain
Place de la Bourse - elegant customs buildings
Grand Theatre - an elegant colonnaded building
| Date posted: May 2010|
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