8 reasons why Bordeaux is the perfect weekend getaway

Bordeaux, a city located towards the south of France and current capital of New Aquitaine, and formerly of Guiana, is also known as the Pearl of Aquitaine. Famous since the XVIII century for its vineyards, but it is also known for its beautiful historic center, listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Today with a young population due to the different existing universities.

In the past, thanks to its strategic location, it attracted the attention of both Romans and Celts, leaving today only the Palais Gallien; most of the monuments that can be seen when visiting the city of Bordeaux date back to the 12th century. The city has several types of free tours for its tourists; for example, there are 1-day tours for the must-see places in Bordeaux, or a tour of the medieval Bordeaux sites.

But there are also weekend tours, especially for the mysterious places of Bordeaux. Anyway, the important thing is to book in advance; by the way, they also have a free gastronomic tour, which is worth it. But also that weekend you can visit on your own the different places and curiosities of this capital.

Among them we mention, for example, the Place Des Quinconces, the Monument to the Girondins, the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, the Church of Notre Dame de Chapelet, the Cathedral of St. Andrew, the Pey-Berland Tower, the Place de la Bourse, the Water Mirror or the Medieval Houses and the Gates of Bordeaux. 

Also, if time permits, you can visit the Dunes of Pilat, which are considered the largest on the European continent, on an excursion next to Bordeaux. Or also the beautiful Arcachon Bay. In this article we will only expose some of these places mentioned above.

The places in Bordeaux not to be missed on this weekend:

The Quinconces Square:

This square dates from 1820 and is said to be one of the largest squares on the continent. Its name of Quinconces is due to the way the trees were planted, as they have an arrangement of a die with the number 5. It has been designed for the enjoyment of its population, and today festivals, concerts, sporting events and fairs are held there.

However, the square also has a monument at one end, which is full of a lot of symbolism; we are talking about the Monument of the Girondins.

 The Famous Monument to the Girondins:

History tells that at the time of the French Revolution, the Girondins, a population of the Gironde, a department of New Aquitaine, rebelled against the Jacobins, and Robespierre accused and beheaded 21 deputies for alleged treason against the Republic. So, to honor and not forget the memories of the time, this monument was built in 1894.

If we analyze the monument from top to bottom, we can see at the top an angel holding a broken chain in his right hand, which represents freedom. Next and in the lower part of the sculpture, several representations and a lot of symbolism can be observed.

We can see a kind of chariot pulled by several sea horses, and on it sits a woman seated on a kind of seashell, which carries in her left hand a scepter that rises to the sky and in her right hand holds a sphere with the principles of fraternity, equality and freedom; it is clear that the woman comes to represent the Republic.

Later we see that there are 3 characters that are expelled from her path and that are the enemies of the Republic, which are ignorance, lies and vice. Likewise, at the feet of the woman we can see 3 beautiful cherubic angels, which are seated on books that represent education, which should be mandatory, as well as the blacksmith, which shows the importance of work.

Also, towards the back of the monument one can observe a scene preceded by a rooster, which is the symbol of the French country, on a sort of pulpit that is the National Assembly, and on the sides sculptures representing eloquence and history; the qualities that a deputy of that Assembly must possess.

With its neoclassical style, the Plaza de la Bolsa:

This square is said to have marked the end of the medieval period in this city. Because until that time Bordeaux was protected by towers and walls, closed. But with this square, which began to be built in the eighteenth century, and although it took about 20 years to complete it, it became an open city.

It was made in the shape of open arms or crescent; welcoming ships docking on the Garonne River. In this square is observed, in its center, the statue of the famous 3 Graces. It is also located a museum that was formerly the building of customs. We also find the Chamber of Commerce.

The Water Mirror or Le Miróir de l’eau de Bordeaux:

The water mirror is located right in front of the Plaza de la Bolsa, and was inaugurated in 2006; it is said to be the largest on the planet. It consists of a system formed by a granite plate with an extension of 3,450 square meters, which fills with water very slowly.

At first a kind of mist begins to appear, then the plate is covered with water for 3 minutes, reaching 2 cm of liquid. Then the water begins to lower its level, disappearing; and when there are a few mm of water left, the famous mirror begins to appear. 

In total it takes 15 minutes to complete the process, and is enjoyed by both adults and children. It is important to note that in the winter months the mirror does not work, to prevent the subway reservoir and pump system from freezing. 

Some churches and cathedrals of the city of Bordeaux:

The baroque church of Notre Dame du Chapelet:

The church is located at the level of the Place de Chapelet, very close to the Grand Théâtre de l’Opera. It is a place where Catholic worship services are held and dates from the late seventeenth century. Also, in 1908 it was classified within the list of Historic Monuments, and by 1971 the organ was included.

Between 1971 and 1981 it was closed due to the destruction of parts of the vaults; and by 1972 the external part was restored, where the original color of the construction stone was discovered. Today it has very good acoustics, which is used for some concerts.

The Bordeaux Cathedral of St. Andrew: 

The cathedral of San Andrés began its construction in the 11th century, in Romanesque style. But there were delays for its completion; and 5 centuries later, in the sixteenth century, another style of architecture prevailed: the Gothic style, which is very well observed in the pinnacles in the form of needles in its termination, as if trying to reach God.

The Cathedral is adorned with large windows and stained glass windows, and has gargoyles and rose windows. It had to be restored after World War II, since at that time it was used as a warehouse. 

The bell tower of the Cathedral, the Pey Berland Tower:

This bell tower belongs to the Cathedral of San Andrés, only that it was built outside of it, right next to it. But it was about 100 years without the corresponding bell, due to money problems. This separation from the Cathedral was not only done because of the fashion of the Italians of the 15th century, but also because the subsoil of Bordeaux contains several rivers and was thought to be unsafe for the foundations.

That is to say, the vibrations of this bell tower, which is 76 m high and has 233 steps to reach its highest point, could cause the Cathedral and its surroundings to fall. Therefore, it was the safest way. At the top, the figure of Notre Dame d’Aquitaine can be seen. 

Other important places to visit in Bordeaux:

The beautiful and great Theater of the city of Bordeaux:

If we walk along the Cours du Juillet, along the 30 de Julio, we arrive at the square where this beautiful theater is located; which was built in the late seventeenth century, thanks to Cardinal Richelieu. Externally you can see, in its highest part, 12 statues that correspond to Greek mythology, including 3 goddesses: Minerva, Venus and Juno, and the rest are 9 muses.

Architecture of Louis Victor, a work that was started in 1773 but was actually inaugurated in 1780. Of these statues only 3 of them are original from that time; there are 3 others that can be seen in the Garden of the city of Bordeaux and the rest are replicas of the originals. To attend the performance, ballet or opera shows, it is important to buy tickets in advance. 

Posted in Bordeaux, Europe, France.