Why Bordeaux, France Should Be Your Post COVID-19 Destination? – Bay of Biscay 3
Port de la Lune, Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux Port de la Lune encircles the historic center of Bordeaux and shaped like a moon hence its name, Port of the Moon. Since ancient times, this has been a major harbor along the Gironde estuary by the French area of Bay of Biscay. A natural meeting point of land, river and sea which attracted a Celtic tribe called Bituriges Vivisci in 300 B.C. Port of Bordeaux then became an attractive center of maritime trade between England and Spain. The marriage of Eleanor d’Aquitaine (of Roman royalty) to Henry Plantagenet (later King Henry II of England) in 1152 resulted to extraordinary freedom and trade for Bordeaux with the British Isles. Wines were exported in great quantities while textiles and wheat were imported from England. However in 1453 after the French defeated the English, Port de la Lune was incorporated into France. Port’s trade activities weakened again during the Wars of Religion in the 17th century. On to the 18th century, Port of Bordeaux flourished once more from its engagement with the slave trade (from Africa), imports of sugar and coffee and of course the exports of wine and armaments. While France was into the 2 previous world wars in the 20th century, Bordeaux has been an important sub-marine base for Germany. After World War II, the port has grown steadily. Shipping and commerce made such a great fortune for Port of Bordeaux’s great families especially in the wine business.
A Propos de Bordeaux
France, the largest country in the European Union and the 3rd in Europe. It is the world’s most popular tourist destination. When you think of France, what comes to mind is Paris. But of course, there are other elegant cities beyond Paris, like Bordeaux. This is a port city by the Garonne River in southwestern France near the Spanish border in Bay of Biscay. And when you think of Bordeaux, you attribute directly to a bottle of fine, red Merlot wine. But again, beyond its expensive wine, Bordeaux is also famous for its architecture and arts. It is a UNESCO World Heritage city actually. During the Golden Age of the city in the 18th century about 5,000 buildings were constructed that gave it a bourgeois and classical look. That explains Bordeaux being in the UNESCO Heritage List. In 1995, then Mayor Alain Juppe restored said 18th century buildings and transformed the old town into a pedestrian only area. Bordeaux became the largest city complex on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
We were in Bordeaux in 1998 aboard the tanker M/T Knock Muir. There is no other famous wine region in the world than this “gracieuse” city. In fact, the most famous wineries in the world are in Bordeaux– Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Haut Brion, Margaux, Petrus and Mouton Rothschild. And with these names come with heavy price tags. Truly a wine lovers’ mecca. But with wine, there are more about this city that you should also take notice when travel restrictions are lifted. Here are the answers why Bordeaux, France should be your post COVID-19 destination.
The Food Is Incredible
In the land of expensive red wines and elegant Gothic architectures, Bordeaux is also France‘s top food city. While its gastronomic glamour is not as famous to tourists as that in Paris, Bordeaux cuisine is incredible. And it’s why Bordeaux, France should be your post COVID-19 destination. Its oysters from the Arcachon Bay come in a thick and creamier flesh squeezed with lemon, add red wine vinaigrette and finely chopped shallots – c’est delicieux! Agneu de Pauillac, a local specialty that dates back to the 18th century is a lamb foodie. The animal is milk-fed with cereals and nitrogen supplements, must not be over 75 days old and weighs about 15 kg. on its date with the butcher’s knife. It is served with red wine sauce, butter, shallots, herbs and bone marrow. Cepes de Bordeaux (wild Bordeaux mushrooms) are meaty. They are fried in butter, shallots, garlic and sprinkled with parsley.
It Has Mirior d’ Eau at Place de La Bourse
One of the most impressive iconic sights you can see in Bordeaux is Place de la Bourse. Facing the Garonne River, this stunning square features a central fountain and a reflecting pool, “mirior d’ eau“. During the reign of King Louis XV in the 18th century, he wanted a royal square to be laid out in Bordeaux with a building ensemble. It was to display a welcoming sight to travelers from other cities and countries. At modern times, Place de la Bourse is enhanced and becomes dreamlike when it is reflected in the water mirror. The water can also be turned into a mist. This is why Bordeaux, France should be your post COVID-19 destination. Mirior d’ Eau is the first of its kind in the world. C’est incroyable!
The Graceful Pont de Pierre
An arch stone bridge that crosses the Garonne River, splitting Bordeaux into historic left and the modern right banks – this is Pont de Pierre. It was planned and designed under the orders of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte during the 1st French Republic. Under raging currents Pont de Pierre was constructed with 17 arches that correspond to the number of letters in Napoleon’s name. It’s capped by a white medallion in honor of the emperor who died while the bridge was being constructed. The iconic view of the city when you are at the bridge is instagrammable and this is why Bordeaux, France should be your post COVID-19 destination. C’est fantastique!
Wine Tasting At The Elegant Chateaux and Vineyards
Unless you are a wine connoisseur you know what are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc mean. They are varieties of grapes produced by these chatueux for their wines. The vineyards of Bordeaux are the largest fine wine vineyards in the world. It include 6,000 chateaux and wine producers open up their estates for wine tasting and gourmet opportunities. The left bank of Garonne River is home to some of these famous 1855 Medoc wines that include names like Chateaux Margaux, Chateau Lafite and Chateau Mouton Rothschild.In the 18th century, the elite Borderlais wanted to indulge in luxury and opulence. The idea of a “chateau” came up, to show off their abundance. These wine producing families thought it as a way to show the world what their money can buy and at the same time their wines will be be considered as a luxury brand as well. Intelligent et avant gardiste n’est ce pas? And this legendary visit to their estates will give you beautiful memories to remember. This is why Bordeaux, France should be your post COVID-19 destination.
Soul-searching At Eglisse Sainte Croix and Cathedrale St-Andre
Visiting places of worship is another thing to do when you are in Bordeaux. These churches combine the old concepts of religion with the modern applications of art and culture. That is why Bordeaux, France should be your post COVID-19 destination. The Eglisse Sainte Croix (Church of the Holy Cross) for one is a place of worship that represent a Catholic church mixed with contemporary artworks which is also the symbol of modern France. Built in the 11th-12th centuries its facade is in the Romanesque style. Another of Bordeaux‘s most significant religious site is Cathedrale St-Andre. Its striking attraction is the amazing white stone facade. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it epitomizes 13th century French Gothic architecture. It was the site of royal marriages. The 13-year old Eleanor d’ Aquitaine (first marriage to her cousin) was married in 1137 to King Louis VII of France. In another century, Anne of Austria and Louis XIII of France also tied the knot in this cathedral. But sadly, Cathedrale St-Andre was used to store animal food during the French Revolution. C’est une triste histoire.
Explore The Village of Saint Emilion
Covered in cobblestones and surrounded by miles and miles of vineyards is the medieval village of Saint Emilion. It is home to one of the prettiest and most scenic wine towns in all of Europe. A UNESCO World Heritage List village, Saint Emilion is famous for its prestigious red wines, magnificent chateaux and rolling vineyards. Absolutely a charming and pleasant way to enjoy a walking tour, that is why Bordeaux, France should be your post COVID-19 destination. A monument in its own right, this town sits on a hillside, overlooking the rolling vineyards below. It also has a Monolithic Church, carved out from a single slab of limestone. An addition to this, it has underground catacombs which was once the home of Saint Emilion, a monk from Brittany, France who stayed in the village, and of whom it is named after. Of course, your visit to Saint Emilion is not complete without visiting at least one chateaux. The Chateau Coutet, for example, is a 400-year old estate handed down from generation to generation since the 17th century. Aside from their vineyards, the 14th generation David-Beaulieu family will offer you a guided tour of their estate themselves. A glass of their expensive Cabernet Sauvignon awaits you at the end of your tour in their chateau. C’est en effet savoire faire.
Shopping a la Carte At Rue Sainte Catherine
It is the longest shopping strip in Europe. Shop till you drop or just sit down and relax with your glass of Merlot in one of its bars – your choice. This is Rue Saint Catherine, a 1.2 km. long of pedestrian only shopping boulevard in Bordeaux. If you are a marathon shopper, this is for you. And it is why Bordeaux, France should be your post COVID-19 destination. The entire length of Rue Sainte Catherine is lined with Europe’s biggest fashion names like Zara, Kookai, Mango, Pull and Bear, etc.. This fashion nook of a street is also home to the glitzy Galeries Lafayette department store whose interior resembles a royal palace. Walk freely along Rue Sainte Catherine when you are in Bordeaux. Don’t forget to take a peek at its side streets. They also offer a unique and interesting bargains and places to eat as well. Profite de ton temps!
Locals are called Borderlais (male) and Borderlaise (female), remember that when you are in Bordeux. This article contains just a little glimpse of the charm this city has. And of course, don’t forget on the surprises that await you on your post COVID-19 holiday to this place. After all, Bordeaux is not tagged as a city of wonders for nothing. Go, have some fun, hang loose and make beautiful memories to last a lifetime. Au revoir.