I love the city of Bordeaux and I am glad many tourists leave it off their list of French cities to visit and flock to Paris, Loire Valley and the French Riviera. My love made his life in this city for 10 years before coming to America and in fact still keeps a home there. I was glad that I have loved my two trips there because it may very well be where we live after our time in America is done. It seems other French have taken notice as property prices in Bordeaux have skyrocketed with Parisians flocking south for slower paced life and a lower cost of living compared to Paris.
I have rounded up my favorite places in and around Bordeaux to visit. If you ever head to France, it may be fun to skip Paris and do
1. St. Emilion - Wine country in all its splendor! Don't expect a traditional wine tasting similar to those in California with cheese and jam. I was surprised too because the French love their cheese. In this town its best to plan ahead and see which vineyards you would like to visit and email to reserve a tasting. Alternatively you can buy a nice bottle of wine to go and enjoy it in any one of the small gardens in town.
2. Arcachon and Cap Ferret - These quaint beach towns are an easy 1 hour escape from Bordeaux. You will find a mix of families and tourists enjoying oysters and wine while overlooking the water. The best work reward balance is climbing Dune du Pilat - the tallest sand dune in Europe and enjoying the reward of one of the most private beaches you can find.
3. La Toque Cuivrée - Canelés are officially my favorite French treat and after this visit they will be yours too. This chain features the perfect combination of a crusty exterior with a fuffy, moist interior using the perfect amount of rum.
4. La Cité du Vin - You can spend hours learning about every facet of the wine industry using the most state of the art interactive technology. Lucky for us visitors, the French were kind enough to remember that other countries make wine. At the end of the tour, all entries come with a glass of wine which you can enjoy with views above Bordeaux.
5. Ragazzi de Peppone - If you want to forget you are in France and travel to Italy, grab a terrace table of course and enjoy a delicious pizza here.
6. Le Rohan - This is my favorite place to grab coffee in Bordeaux. Their terrace overlooks the cathedral and the government buildings of the city which are magnificent views. Disregard the negative reviews from people foolish enough to eat there. This is a place to sit, enjoy the free wifi and have a 1 hour coffee break.
7. Darwin - Across the Gironde you will find an artist enclave that will make you wish you had some artistic talents. The space is a mix of offices, skate park, performance space, market and outdoor sculpture designed to attract and inspire new talents in Bordeaux.
8. Quai des Marques - As part of the city efforts to revitalize the waterfront, this area houses several outlet shops, waterfront dining but my favorite is the food market on Sunday morning which will rival any brunch you had in mind.
9. Statue of Liberty - If you are missing America, get a small taste by visiting a replica in a tiny park in town and sit back and enjoy a canelé.
10. Mirroir d'Eau - The most photographed part of Bordeaux for a reason, this square lights up at night and gives you a true feeling of the magic of France.
P.S. This picture is me dancing in Mirroir d'Eau.