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Monuments and places to visit in Bordeaux !

Discover Bordeaux's 11 must-see monuments!

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Monuments and places to visit in Bordeaux !

Located in the southwest of mainland France, close to the Atlantic coast, the port city of Bordeaux boasts a rich cultural heritage. From Gallo-Roman Bordeaux through medieval times to contemporary Bordeaux, many centuries of architectural heritage and history have made this city famous. Bordeaux is the first urban ensemble of such a vast and complex perimeter to be recognized by UNESCO's World Heritage Commission since its creation in 1976. A wealth of discoveries awaits you in the heart of this historic city, with a host of surprises in store. Discover Bordeaux's 11 must-see monuments!

Place de la Bourse: A true symbol of 18th-century architecture, the Place de la Bourse is emblematic of the city. The Place de la Bourse contributed to the growth of Bordeaux, its commerce and its international renown. In 1720, Intendant Boucher worked with the jurats and parliament to create a royal square and finally open up the fortress city. His decision to enlist the services of Jacques Gabriel, King Louis XV's First Architect, was decisive: the rectangular square with its canted sides and facades adorned with mascarons and wrought-iron work was a foregone conclusion when it was completed in 1755. It was to launch the taste for classical architecture that is the city's signature today. Originally, this royal square was separated from the river by railings, which were removed during the French Revolution. At its center, the equestrian statue of the King was replaced, during the Revolution, by the Tree of Liberty. This in turn gave way to the Fontaine des 3 Grâces in 1869. The success of the Place de la Bourse is timeless: it's the most photographed square in the city by tourists from all over the world, since the famous Miroir d'Eau.

- Bordeaux's Grand ThéâtreBordeaux's Grand Theatre: This historic monument, listed since 1899, can be identified by its 12-column peristyle and 12 statues. Built in 1780, this masterpiece on the Place de la Comédie is an imposing historical monument in the neo-classical style, and one of the finest theaters in the world. Today, it is the home of the Opéra National de Bordeaux, where operas and ballets are performed. It is possible to visit this monumental and inspiring venue outside of performance times.

- Saint-André Cathedral and Pey-Berland Tower : A Bordeaux landmark built in Gothic Style on Place Pey-Berland, Cathédrale Saint-André has undergone numerous renovations since its construction in the 11th century. The city's most important church, it is one of the monuments associated with the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. In the 15th century, a campanile (bell tower) was built next to the cathedral, known as the Tour Pey-Berland. It is isolated from the rest of the church, as is traditional in western France. You can visit the tower, which has some 232 steps, to reach the top and discover Bordeaux from its belvedere over 50 m above the ground.

- The Palais Gallien: Bordeaux's oldest architectural work, dating from the 2nd century, the Palais Gallien was originally an amphitheatre, classified as a historical monument in 1840. Dedicated to Roman games, it is estimated that it could accommodate up to 22,000 spectators. Later, it was transformed into a stone quarry and, in modern times, into a municipal rubbish dump. A fortunate decision by the prefecture halted the degradation of the site, which became a historic monument in 1840. At the end of the 19th century, the site was converted into a square. To this day, the ruins are the only remains of the Gallo-Roman city of Burdigala. Please note that reservations are required to visit this site, except in summer between June 1 and September 30.

- The Porte Cailhau: Built in 1495 to celebrate the victory of French King Charles VIII at the Battle of Fornoue, La Porte Cailhau is the first monument in Bordeaux to have been built in honor of a French king (Bordeaux having long belonged to the English crown). Included in the city's ramparts as a defensive point, the interior overlooks the Place du Palais and the exterior the quays. Today, La Porte Cailhau might be visited a few days a year. There is an exhibition on the history of the gate and its surroundings.

Saint Michel Basilica and its motley neighborhood: Bordeaux's largest parish church, this Gothic edifice, built between the 14th and 16th centuries, has a distinctive bell tower independent of the sanctuary. Located in the district bearing the same name and part of the Bordeaux conservation area, the Basilique Saint-Michel is at the heart of a dynamic, bohemian district. The Place Meynard is a lively meeting place in the heart of the district, where you can sit out on a terrace or enjoy the lively open-air Capucins market from Tuesday to Sunday.


- The Grosse Cloche: Along with the Porte de Cailhau, the Grosse Cloche is one of the few surviving civil monuments from the Middle ages. Built in 1886, it originally stood on the route taken by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Its initial role was to announce major public events and signal the harvest. In the course of its history, it also housed a prison for young men who took the liberty of joking that they were staying at the Hôtel du Lion d'Or, in reference to the weathervane on the central dome. Today, the Grosse Cloche is open to visitors only on Saturday mornings, in small groups of 5.

- Place des Quinconces: Covering an area of 126,000 m2, the Place des Quinconces is the largest square in Europe. Until the early 19th century, it was the historic center of Bordeaux, home to the Château Trompette, built during the Hundred Years' War to protect the city. At the far end of the square, the Girondins fountain was built as a tribute to Bordeaux's revolutionaries and to celebrate the republic. This square is the venue for many of Bordeaux's festivities, including "Bordeaux fête le vin", flea markets and concerts. At the other end of the square are two columns symbolizing maritime trade, fundamental to the development of the city of Bordeaux.

- The Cité du VIN: A must-visit when you come to Bordeaux, the Cité du Vin is a cultural venue that shows wine in a different light. Part international wine museum, part interpretation center, the Cité du Vin evokes wine as a living, universal cultural heritage, with an immersive, sensory approach. The architecture of this site is a unique feat of engineering, 55 metres high, with over 13,000m2 of interior space. Located in Bordeaux, the Cité du Vin is supported by the Fondation pour la culture et les civilisations du vin, a private foundation recognized as being of public utility, whose mission is to support, promote and transmit the heritage of wine.

- The Chartrons district: Founded in 1381 during the Hundred Years' War by Carthusian monks from Périgord, the Chartrons district became the heart of the wine trade over the centuries. Today, Chartrons has become one of Bordeaux's most sought-after districts. Specializing in the arts and crafts, it is home to the Centre d'Art Plastique Contemporain (The CAPC) and numerous artists' studios.

- The Cour Mably: Originally attached to an 18th-century Dominican convent, this atypical site in the Bordeaux metropolis has held a number of different roles. From 1797 onwards, it was occupied by the military and was renovated in 1886 to become the municipal library. In later years, the Cour Mably became home to the Musée des Antiquités, whose collections are now on display at the Musée d'Aquitaine.

Temporary exhibitions at the Cour Mably are regularly organized in the chapter house and the Cour Mably. Exhibitions include thematic displays, paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings. The courtyard is a veritable historical site, having witnessed the French Revolution. Today, it hosts a variety of open-air events and concerts, as well as temporary exhibitions.


Sotheby's International Realty Bordeaux puts its knowledge of the sector at your service to guide you in your search for luxury real estate in Bordeaux. Whether you're looking for a holiday or an investment property, our advisors will give you all the guidance you need, so that this metropolis will hold no secrets for you.



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