Considered to be the wine capital of the world, Bordeaux is a magnificent blend of culture, heritage, breathtaking sights and, of course, a lot of fun, discovers Chana Viljoen.

01 Château Pape Clement

Any wine lover would immediately associate the name ‘Bordeaux’ with fantastic wines and beautiful châteaux. Châteaux Pape Clement is just one of the well-known vineyards and is definitely worth a visit. It is owned by Bernard Magrez who owns a number of vineyards around the globe, including in Japan. The vineyard is only a few minutes’ drive from the Merignac Airport. Daily wine tours are available at the premises and there is also a shop on site, where you can purchase some of the wines produced at this and other Bernard Magrez vineyards. It was owned by Pope Clement V over seven centuries ago and as such has a number of religious artefacts throughout the property. The cellar holds wine dating back to 1892.

02 Sunday market along the Garonne River

Located in the old wine merchant district, the Chartrons, the local market along the Garonne River is the ideal spot to sample French cuisine. Here you can sample oysters from the Arcachon Bay with a glass of white wine while watching the more active locals jogging on the promenade, or purchase a wide variety of seafood, cheese, pastries, fruit and more. The market is a hive of activity and is probably one of the best ways to get a true feeling of life in Bordeaux.

03 River Cruise

Possibly one of the better ways to discover Bordeaux would be on a cruise. The river cruises leave from Quai Louis XVII, opposite the Places des Quinconces. The river is seen by some locals as a divide between two totally different parts of the city, one being the more industrial side and the other comprising beautiful 18th century buildings. Many of the structures visible from the river were designed to attract more investors and travellers to the city. Twenty cruise ships dock in the heart of Bordeaux every year.

04 Bric-a-brac shopping

For those who can afford it, Bordeaux has a wide variety of shops. Rue Notre Dame is well known for its bric-a-brac and antique shops, as is the Saint-Michel district’s Passage Saint-Michel, where you can also enjoy lunch. Rue Bouffard, in the centre of Bordeaux, is entirely devoted to antiques and objets d’art.

05 CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain

The CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, or the Bordeaux Modern Art Museum, is located in a building that was previously a 19th century colonial warehouse. Today it houses a collection of over 600 works by more than 100 artists. It features French paintings from the 1970s and 80s and there is also a section devoted to present-day artists.

06 Cathédrale St. André

The historic church buildings add character to the bustling city of Bordeaux. There are a number of beautiful religious structures dominating the cityscape that make for interesting viewing, even for non-religious travellers. Bordeaux’s reliable tram service is an affordable way to explore them and other parts of the city.

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