Many Things To See Walking In Bordeaux
We had two days at this port stop with Oceania Cruises so we spent our first day exploring the things to see walking in Bordeaux. There was much to see and do as we wandered during the day. And at night, we got a magical view. The second day in Bordeaux, we headed off for a tour of the Bordeaux wine region. A perfect mix of activities in this French region.
We got our first view of the Bordeaux region when we stopped in La Rochelle and did a cognac tasting tour. The ship then travelled down the French coast. The long journey along the muddy Garonne River took us to a dock right right in the centre of things in Bordeaux. From there it easy to wander in Bordeaux.
There was a tram stop right by where the ship was docked. We originally planned to get a tram day pass. But we decided there were many things to see walking right from the ship.
Bordeaux Was Called The “Port Of The Moon”
Bordeaux was known for its architectural and cultural heritage with more than 350 historic monuments. We certainly only saw a small number of these on this visit. The whole city (1,810 hectares) was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the largest protected city in the world.
Bordeaux was called the “Port of the Moon” since the Middle Ages because of the shape of the Garonne River crossing the city. We were never far from the wander as we wandered.
After the French Revolution, Bordeaux was rebuilt by traders and shipowners and became a major industrial port. The city became dark and dirty from pollution. But in the 21st century, major work was done to re-vitalize the city centre. Everything we saw walking Bordeaux showed how successful that restoration was.
A Stop At The Explanades Des Quinconces
There were many tour options in Bordeaux. We considered the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus or a tuk-tuk tour. In the end we decided that walking in Bordeaux was the pace we wanted. The Bourse Maritime building was located right across the tram tracks from the ship. It was the first but not the last of the beautifully restored buildings we found in Bordeaux.
Our next stop was the Esplanade Des Quniconces. It was one of the largest squares in Europe. We wandered around and saw the major sculptures on both ends. There was a large fair being set up in the middle. This was not the first time we saw a ferris wheel on our travels along the west coast of France.
We started at the river end of Esplanade Des Quniconces with the two statues that represented commerce and navigation. The statues had interesting ship hull sculptures that stuck out midway up. At the top were two different statues highlighted against the piling clouds in the sky.
We finished our view of the Esplanade Des Quniconces at the other end of the square. The awesome Girondins Monument was a tribute to the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. It was topped with a large column. The statue on top represented the spirit of liberty.
The large pedestal was framed with two water fountains and decorated with bronze horses and troops. The intricate detail in the water statue grabbed our attention. As we walked around we saw the different scenes on each side.
The Esplanade Des Quniconces was a great stop walking in Bordeaux.
A Variety Of Things To See Walking In Bordeaux
We wandered around and looked at more of the things to see walking in Bordeaux. The narrow pedestrian streets were lined with shops, restaurants and people. A busker was was decorated like a tree.
The Grand Theatre was in the Place de Comedie Square. It was Europe’s oldest remaining wooden-framed theatre. The sun was out and people were everywhere. The merry-go-round was a big draw for families with their kids. Across from the Grand Theatre we found a relief plaque that showed the major buildings in Bordeaux.
We wandered in town and found lots of things walking in Bordeaux.
Food And Wine In Bordeaux
We got drawn into the Amorino Gelato shop when a couple walked out holding two cones topped with gelato flowers. We wanted to create our own edible art.
In Bordeaux we couldn’t resist stopping in a wine store. We were told not to ask for a “good wine” since the answer would be “there are no bad wines in Bordeaux”. The Grands Vins De Bordeaux store went up for several stories around a spiral staircase. We selected a bottle of wine for dinner and headed back out.
There was one stop we had to make in Bordeaux. The ship served canelés pastries. But we wanted to try original ones from Canalés Baillardran. A canelé was shaped like a small cylinder with a depression at the top. It was typically flavoured with rum and vanilla and had custard in the center. The outside had a tasty caramelized crust. This shop had many different varieties but we had an original with our hot chocolate.
We found lots of tasty food and drink when walking in Bordeaux.
Reflections At Place De La Bourse
A stroll along the waterfront provided more to see in Bordeaux. Our large ship was docked with the ferries and small watercraft. The muddy river water did not look in the least inviting. We would not have wanted to be part of the large group of people racing on SUPs (stand-up paddle boards) on the river. Even the jet skis would have been too close to this water.
There were a number of bridges along the river. Small gardens still had some flowers in bloom on the first day of October.
Across from the Place de la Bourse we came to a large polished stone surface that we first saw from the ship. The Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror) was misted with water on a regular basis. People could not resist running through the mist. This created a very big mirror-like surface. We saw multiple views of Place de la Bourse in the reflecting surface.
We crossed the tram tracks and got a closer look at the Place de la Bourse. This was once the city’s stock exchange but today it housed the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and exhibition space. The building was a great example of 18th century neoclassical architecture. In the centre of the square was the Fountain of the Three Graces.
We headed along the river to the Place de la Bourse and got great views walking in Bordeaux.
Bordeaux Twinkled At Night
It was exciting to be in Bordeaux for two days. We rarely got to see cities after dark when we cruised. From the ship, we got our first view of night in Bordeaux as the city started to twinkle.
When we walked along the river after dark, we got a magical view from the reflecting pond to the Place de la Bourse. A closer look cast the building and the Fountain of the Three Graces in interesting shadows. This spot was great during the day. But at night it was quite magical!
We were sure happy we headed out walking in Bordeaux after dark.
An Interesting Transit Out Of Bordeaux Along The Garonne River
The ship transited into Bordeaux at 3am. We were not up to watch the long trip in.
Our departure from Bordeaux after two days was carefully timed. To get in and out of port we passed under the Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge. This was an interesting lift bridge. We were the biggest ship that could pass under this bridge. It required careful planning with tide charts to make sure we could make it.
Even in the rain, people were on deck and watched our exit from Bordeaux. People in the top lounge crowded the windows as we cleared the bridges out of town. We passed the Cité du Vin (Wine Museum) with its unusual shape. We were reminded of this when we visited the Guggenheim Museum next in Bilbao Spain.
It was nice to leave when it was still daylight. We saw many things we missed on this visit. Great reasons to head back to Bordeaux one day.
We were sure the views would be stunning with sun and blue skies. We grabbed a seat on our balcony and watched as we left Bordeaux up the Garonne River. It reminded us of our transits in and out of Venice. And the amazing views we got as we left Seattle and cruised to Alaska.
Many Things To See Walking In Bordeaux
We enjoyed the day we spent in town. There were many things to see walking in Bordeaux. With the cruise ship parked right in the middle of things, it was an easy trip out to explore. If we didn’t want to walk, the tram was right there. It was great to stay overnight for another perspective on this city.
On our second day in Bordeaux, we explored the wine country of the Bordeaux region and visited the small town of St. Emilion. This showed us yet one more facet of this great part of France.
What was your favourite of the things to see walking in Bordeaux? Or did you leave town to tour the vineyards?
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