Bordeaux City is made up of neighbourhoods, each has a different vibe and you can walk them all easily in a day.
Quinconces and Triangle d’Or – The Age of Enlightenment in Bordeaux
Bordering the old city from the north is the Triangle d’Or district. The architecture mostly dates back to the 18th century and depicts the heritage of Bordeaux’s Age of Enlightenment. You can’t help but notice the contrast in scenery in this town. The narrow paved streets of old Bordeaux are very different to the wide boulevards and elegant facades of the Triangle d’Or.
The Grand Théâtre on Place de la Comedie is one of the outstanding symbols of the city. Today it houses the National Opera and Ballet of Bordeaux. The theatre was designed by the architect Victor Louis (1731–1780) and in 1871 served as the the National Assembly for the French Parliament.
A short walk from the theatre you’ll find the Esplanade des Quinconces. Called locally just Quinconces, it’s the largest city square in France and one of the biggest in Europe. Various fairs are hosted regularly as well as major events such as the antiques fair, held in April and November. It’s also home to the beautiful Girondins monument. It was erected in memory of members of the political movement by the same name who were killed during the French revolution. This gigantic monument has some remarkable details and is covered in wonderful statues and sculptures.
Local’s tip: L’intendant wine shop. Located in front of the Grand Théâtre, L’intendant is a most beautiful wine shop. Its collection of more than 15,000 bottles are stacked on walls which encircle a 12m high spiral staircase. Established almost 30 years ago, the store has become one of the go to places to buy the famous wines of the region.
Jardin Public and Saint Seurin – Pastures of serenity
These two residential neighborhoods are located close to the main city center but are sufficiently remote to enjoy a quiet afternoon. This is where you will find impressive private houses and public parks. The best of them is Jardin Public, the main park of central Bordeaux. This romantic garden with its lovely pond and vast green planes is perfect for a picnic. It becomes very popular when it gets warm but never feels crowded due to its considerable size. Most visitors do not explore the neighbourhood beyond the park and miss several interesting monuments worth checking out. Among them is the Saint Seurin Basilica, a Romanesque church built in the 11th century. The paleochristian site underneath it holds remains dating back as far as the 4th century.
Local’s tip: Palais Gallien. This beautiful amphitheater was built in the 2nd century. It’s the only remaining public monument from the Roman city of Burdigala which predates Bordeaux. A little way out of the main city centre, it can be reached on foot from Place des Quinconces in about 10 minutes.
By Ira Szmuk, a Bordeaux based blogger in love with the city. She writes a blog about current up-to-date events and places to visit in Bordeaux and the South-West of France: www.lostinbordeaux.com
More on Bordeaux
Discover the historic district of Saint Pierre in Bordeaux
Visit Chartrons, the posh neighbourhood of Bordeaux city
Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s fabulous wine museum
Bordeaux Tourist Office; More on France: www.france.fr/en