Of course the wine, but that’s not it. The sixth-largest French city offers great architecture and an exciting dining scene. After a few days visiting wine domains – called Châteaux – the nearby seaside towns such as Arcachon are a great option to watch birds, surf or just relax.
No wonder why Bordeaux and its Port of the Moon are a Unesco World Heritage Site. A mix of elegant buildings, riverside street culture and high-end dining make it so special. Take the Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror) for instance, which is the world’s largest reflecting pool. But also the enchanting Port de la Lune (Port of the Moon), where the Garonne River curves gracefully, offering breathtaking views. Indulge in the delectable canelés, Bordeaux’s beloved pastry, with their crisp exterior and custardy center. And of course, wine, where you’ll learn more about it in an emblematic cultural place and museum: la Cité du Vin.
HOME TO SOME OF THE WORLD’S FINEST WINES
As soon as you drive out of Bordeaux, you will see these vineyards that produce some of the finest wines in the world. Over 86% of them are red wines made with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Most of the best Bordeaux wine domains were ranked as Grands Crus classés (literally “wines of great growth”) in a 1855 classification. Among them, you’ll find the likes of Château Haut-Brion and Château Margaux.
Located only 47 km (29 mi) from Bordeaux and nestled amidst rolling vineyards, the medieval village of St-Émilion is remarkable. Known for its robust, deeply hued red wines, this charming town holds an irresistible allure, reigning supreme among the wine towns of the region. It derives its name from Émilion, a Benedictine monk who once found solace in a cave here in the 8th century. Today, the village and its vineyards are Unesco-listed, a testament to their enduring significance.
UNWIND IN ARCACHON BAY
Arcachon Bay – the Bassin d’Arcachon as they say in French – is a traditional oyster-harvesting area. On its Southern bank, you’ll find Arcachon town, a paradise for bird-lovers and sunseekers. On the Western site, at the tip of a forestry peninsula hides the Cap Ferret, a 2 km (1.2 mi) tranquil village where Parisian and Bordelaise upper class go on vacation. The Cap Ferret is a great spot to relax for a few days after a wine trip around Bordeaux. But it doesn’t end there. A few kilometers south of Arcachon lies the Dune du Pilat, known as Europe’s highest sand dune. The view from the top – for those who are up to climb the 115 m (377 ft) dune, is gorgeous!
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