Although Bordeaux is not in the
Lot-et-Garonne (it's in our neighbouring département to the
west, the Gironde), it is the legal
and administrative centre of our region, Aquitaine. Aquitaine is of
course historically famous as being an English possession for the
three hundred years between 1154 and 1453, following the
marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to King Henry II.
Bordeaux is a beautiful city; indeed
Victor Hugo found
the city so beautiful he once said: "take
you have Bordeaux". Not for nothing
has Bordeaux the only city centre in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage
Emperor Napoleon III wanted to transform a then still quasi-medieval
Paris into a "modern" capital that would make France proud, he
requested that Bordeaux's wonderful buildings be used as a model.
The architecture of Paris is therefore based on the architecture of
Bordeaux, not the other way round, as is commonly believed.
astride the mouth of the Garonne river, Bordeaux
was once a thriving commercial port with deep water access to the
Atlantic ocean*. Recently, however, the
old quays been comprehensively
refurbished and now include
the fabulous 'Miroir d'Eau' ('water-mirror' in English).
the Miroir d'Eau reflects all and everyone around it. Then, every twenty
minutes, a myriad hidden jets emit a fine spray from the feature and
hundreds of people walk barefoot through the cool mist, just because
it's such fun - like walking in the clouds!
The two photos above show the Miroir d'Eau both in its mirror state
and in its spray state.
for those who like to do a bit of shopping, the fabulous rue Sainte-Catherine is
a must. La rue Sainte-Catherine is the
longest pedestrianised shopping street in Europe. Stretching 1.25 kms from
la Place de la Victoire at one end to la Place de la Comédie at the other,
la rue Sainte-Catherine has more than two hundred and fifty
shops! Incidentally, it isn't
always this hectic, the photo on the left was taken at the peak of the
Despite its ancient
history and stunning 18th century architecture, Bordeaux is not
stuck in the past. In fact it's a perfect advertisement for the
modern France - a fast-growing, lively city, and a popular choice
for many young French people who go there to study at one of its
leading cultural and higher-educational establishments. In addition
to its highly respected university, Bordeaux is a recognised centre
for medical, veterinary, architectural and musical study in France.
Bordeaux is also one of the two major French fashion centres. Here
you'll see French 'chic' to rival Paris!