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YOUR WEEKEND IN BORDEAUX
Words: Benedict Cooper
Bordeaux is lined with vineyards and châteaux Bordeaux is a city of young and old. Its classic pillars – wine, food, art – all stand strong today, but the city has a wild side too; of buzzing bars, wild clubs and a new world of international cuisine. Two days is enough to get a glimpse of both sides, and if you do it right the place will leave you feeling like you’ve had a week-long holiday.
DAY ONE MORNING To really explore the city the way the Bordelais do, get on two wheels. The VCub cycle hire scheme costs next to nothing (€1.50 for 24 hours or €7 for a week), then you’re free to whizz around as you please. Bordeaux is beautifully cycle friendly with safe cycle paths everywhere, so even if you’re not a regular rider you’ll be fine. If you want a bit of a route, start by heading head down to the river at the Porte de Bourgogne. After a nice pedal north along the banks you will find yourself a short detour from L’Esplanade des Quincorces, Place de la Bourse and le Musee D’Art Contemporian. Before you reach the ultra-modern Pont Jacques 56 00
Chaban Delmas up ahead, you will come across Quai des Marques where you can pick one of the many cafes and restaurants for a lovely riverside lunch. AFTERNOON Cross the bridge and gawp back at the city, then explore the other side where you’ll find a very different Bordeaux – industrial, unromantic and down to earth. Head south though and you’ll find the tranquil Jardin Botanique and the Parcs des Angeliques, which are lovely and give you a great look at the city from another point of view. After no time at all you’ll reach Stalingrad, a studenty area where you could stop for a coffee, before crossing the Pont de Pierre on the way back to the centre. Take a left just after the bridge and stop by the Theatre National Bordeaux Aquitaine in Place Pierre Renaudel, then head up Cours de la Marne towards Place de la Victoire. One of the main buildings of the University of Bordeaux is on one corner of the square, and if you fancy seeing a less chic but vibrant part of Bordeaux, try roaming through the scrappy, multicultural area around Place des Capucins.
To round things off nicely, climb the 114-metre tower of the Basilica of SaintMichel – the tallest building in Bordeaux – then have a chill in the late afternoon sun down by Porte de Bourgogne, where friends meet, couples canoodle, and evening joggers puff by under a pink and orange sky. EVENING If you fancy a bit of a stroll before dinner, you could do a lot worse than the tranquil Jardin Public to the north of the city centre. And from there you’re a nice distance from the city’s oldest building, Palais Gallien, the one remaining corner of a once mighty 3rdcentury Roman amphitheatre that could hold 15,000 spectators. To say that you’re spoilt for choice for a superb meal is putting it lightly – Bordeaux has no less than 13 restaurants with Michelin stars. But if you want a quirky, authentic dinner try the Au Teulère de Brest on Rue Teulère, a downto-earth place serving crepes, galettes, and cider from Brittany. Or for something a little more exotic try one of the many little tapas bars or Asian street food markets