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Bordeaux travel guide

Bordeaux Local time

A port city straddling the sleepy Garonne River, Bordeaux was once known as La Belle au Bois Dormant (‘the Sleeping Beauty’), but following more than two decades of renovation, she has woken up revitalised.

At its heart is the UNESCO-listed city centre, which has romantic parks, landscaped quaysides and 18th-century warehouses that now brim with chic bars and restaurants. Indeed, so complete was the makeover from tired backwater to glamorous modern city that the Queen concluded that Bordeaux was "the very essence of elegance" following a visit.

The so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ that occupies the area bookended by Cours Clémenceau, Cours de l'Intendance and Allée de Tourny is a prime example of this innate sophistication, featuring a spectacular collection of 18th-century, golden stone neoclassical architecture.

Dotted with shops and restaurants, and overshadowed by the mighty Palais de la Bourse, the Garonne riverfront is another spot not to be missed – especially with the shimmering Miroir d’Eau water mirror that reflects the elegant palace.

The riverfront has been transformed into one long pleasure park, with a wide quayside that’s perfect for strolling, jogging and cycling. It’s also a new shopping magnet, thanks to the shops that mingle with the riverfront cafés along the Quai des Marques. Just beyond is the rejuvenated Bassins à Flot, a formerly run-down warehouse area that’s now home to the sparkling Cité du Vin.

It might be famous for its vino but a brief fling with this French femme fatale is all you need to tell you that there’s more to Bordeaux than booze.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.