Not too long ago the city of Bordeaux had little interest in wine tourism. The wine was sold through Bordeaux shippers and the wine estates did not encourage visitors. There has been a dramatic change since then. Today Bordeaux welcomes tourists from around the world with open arms. There are many places to visit, and new hotels, restaurants and shops abound. Pictured: Le Pont de Pierre, stone bridge over the Garonne river in Bordeaux
The city of Bordeaux has undergone a major urban transformation. Its historic centre was included among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in 2007. What’s more, its famous châteaux have opened their doors to tourists, although prior appointments and advance notice is required.
To find out more about wine tours, your best starting point is the tourist office (www.bordeaux-tourisme. com). Opposite that is the Bordeaux Wine Council or CIVB where you can sign up for wine tastings in between exploring Place des Quinconces, one of the largest city squares in Europe, while Place de la Bourse or Place Royale, (pictured left,) is one of Bordeaux’s most beautiful squares.
As a port city, Bordeaux has been exporting its wine since the earliest times, gradually becoming the most important wine producing region in the world. Already acknowledged as the economic capital of wine, it now aims to be the world’s wine cultural capital. Last year, the city embarked on its most ambitious project, Cité des Civilisations du Vin (CCV), to promote the universal heritage of wine civilisations with an emphasis on diversity and lifestyle, says CCV president, Sylvie Cazes.
Situated along the banks of the Garonne river, Cité des Civilisations du Vin is slated to open in early 2016 at an estimated cost of €63 million. Spread across 14,000 sq metres in downtown Bordeaux, the wine cultural centre will be an international showcase for the surrounding wine areas and aims to attract 500,000 visitors a year.