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View of Saint-Émilion in Bordeaux, France.

City at a Glance

Bordeaux, France
Location Southwestern France
City type Metropolis
Population 2.2 million
Official language(s) French
Climate Mild marine
Average temperatures January: 44° F, July: 70° F
Landscape Urban, riverscape, wetlands
Factoid The first Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines originated in Bordeaux, a well-known wine region in France.

About Bordeaux

Known as Port de La Lune (Port of the Moon), Bordeaux toasts its history while it brings a touch of modernity to its cultural scene. Surrounded by miles of vineyards, Bordeaux delivers a matchless experience of the wine world and rich French cuisine. Picturesque 18th-century limestone building facades line canals. Contemporary architecture imbues international organizations and museums with a sophisticated style. With a sunny climate and slower pace, the metropolis trades a hectic environment for a relaxed, ever-so-French lifestyle. Biking or walking around town, picnicking in green spaces, and chatting with the stylish locals are daily activities in the charming city.

Where is Bordeaux

44.837789, -0.57917999999995

What to do in Bordeaux

  • La Cité du Vin: Drink in the science, culture, and, yes, even wine at this modern museum with immersive exhibits, workshops, tastings, and tours.
  • Rue Sainte-Catherine: Tackle a little power (or window) shopping in the beautiful pedestrian mall or enjoy lunch and people-watching at one of the many outdoor eateries.
  • Quays of Bordeaux: Stop anywhere along the Garonne River and there's an interesting landmark to see and photograph—churches, historic squares, natural spaces, and waterfront bridges.
  • Bordeaux Cathedral: Walk in the steps of King Louis VII as you enter the ornate royal portal where he was crowned and view the historic decorations of the medieval church.
  • Esplanade des Quinconces: Enjoy a sunny day in this central square, complete with its marvelous bronze horses stampeding through the waters of the esplanade's fountains.
  • Cannelés de Bordeaux: Tour city bakeries to find the best of this moist, custard-filled cake, a signature treat.

Experiencing a culture abroad was unlike anything I have experienced before. The socio-political culture of France inspired me to pursue a second major in politics. The involvement and participation of the average citizen was incredible. I witnessed historic events firsthand. Study abroad changed the way I view politics in America and I plan to pursue a career in international relations.

Eun Seo Lee UC Santa Cruz Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism/Politics France

From The Californian Abroad

3-minute travel guide: Bordeaux, France