Many of Bordeaux's attractions can be found in and around the city centre, which dates back to Roman times, when known as Burdigala. The old and the new combine impressively here. The city is encircled by vineyards including the Medoc, home to fine red wines, and Sauternes, known for its benchmark sweet wines.
1. Cité du Vin
This architecturally stunning building on the banks of the Garonne is Bordeaux's newest attraction. Opened in June, 2016, it is a uniquely French cultural facility over 10 levels where visitors can learn about (and taste) wines using what is described as “an immersive, sensorial approach”. It is a journey across cultures and civilisations.
2. Mirroir d'Eaux
On the river bank next to the Place de la Bourse (stock exchange), the Mirroir d’Eau is the largest reflecting pool in the world – and is particularly impressive at night. Reflecting both the sun and the historic buildings, this area adjacent to the former royal palace is popular for a morning or afternoon stroll.
3. St. Andre's Cathedral
In the heart of old Bordeaux, the cathedral is both dramatic and historic. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a stop for pilgrims en the route to Santiago de Compostella. It was consecrated in 1096 but only one original wall remains. Most of the building dates from the 14th – 15th centuries and is adjacent to the Pey-Berland tower.
4. Place de Quincones
Covering 31 acres, Quinconces is the largest square in Europe and has several monuments and fountains, including the Monument Aux Girondins column built from 1894-1902 to honour local patriots who died during the French Revolution. In summer, circuses are held here. The area is a major transport hub with two tramlines intersecting.
5. City tours
Take an exploratory journey either by bus, the ubiquitous “petit train” or on the modern tramway system, to take in some of the city's 362 historic monuments (second only to French capital Paris). Some buildings survive from Roman times and there are a massive number of impressive edifices from the 18th century.
6. The Public Garden
Created in the 18th century, Bordeaux's golden era thanks to the wine trade, the 11-hectare Jardin Public in the leafy Chartrons and Saint-Seurin districts is a green space that has morphed from formal garden to a more English-style space with a pond and ducks.
7. Guignol Guerin
It doesn't get much more French than this show featuring traditional puppets. Founded in 1853, Guignol Guerin is the oldest puppet theatre in France and features tales of everyday French life using wooden marionette characters dressed in colourful costumes. Great for a day out with kids.
8. Visit vineyards
Take a tour to one of the many vineyard regions that surround Bordeaux. The medieval village of Saint-Emilion, 35km away, is a very good day-trip destination, a lively but beautiful old commune dotted with wine bars, restaurants, old churches and small hotels.
9. Head to Arcachon
Arcachon Bay, 65km out of Bordeaux, is a marine sanctuary known for the quality of its oysters. The nearby and spectacular Dune Du Pilat is the largest sand dune in Europe. Besides oysters, the bay has many seashells, spectacular bird life. The town of Arcachon is a popular resort.
10. The Wine School
Bordeaux's riches were all built on wines sent around the world from the region's vineyards. Taste and learn over two hours or seven days at the Ecole du Vin, which offers a range of tasting workshops and is right in the centre of town opposite the tourism office.