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Beautiful Bordeaux

Posted 21 Nov 2018

Vineyards galore, splendid architecture and sleepy villages, all paired with incredibly gentle cycling, make Bordeaux the ideal region to tour by bike. Here are our favourite things about a Softie's holiday in Bordeaux!

1. Wine

It was always going to be top of the list; Bordeaux is a classic wine region. The area still has a lot of evidence of historical grape-growing practices, from working vineyards used since Roman times to wine-presses-turned-hotels.

If you’re a red wine fan, you'll be pleased that over 90% of wines produced here are red varieties. You may already recognise one of our Bordeaux tour stops, Saint-Émilion, which is known for its wine and macarons. Whether you enjoy the drink or not, the vineyard landscape is delightful and wine cellars are fascinating and peaceful places to visit.

2. Cycling routes

The countryside cycling routes lead you through some stunning scenery. On day six of our Bordeaux tour, you can visit Sainte-Croix-du-Mont. A vineyard set on a panoramic plateau with a base of fossilised oyster beds, this is the home of one of Bordeaux’s rare white wines. In the city too, there are around 200km of cycle paths. By bike you can cruise past the Grand Théâtre, the Pont de Pierre, the fairytale-esque Place du Palais and along the Cours du Chapeau Rouge to the bustling quays.

The Canal des Deux Mers is another famous route. Tracing the Gironde estuary to Bordeaux, it links the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean sea. After Bordeaux, you can follow the Canal de Garonne until you reach the powder-pink buildings of Toulouse, eventually arriving at the coast at Sète.

3. The cuisine

Of course, every region in France prides itself on its own enticing flavours. Steak and duck fat fries is a classic local dish to pair with the region’s rich red wines. The whites are usually drunk alongside seafood and local oysters, as well as seasonal asparagus. For dessert, choose from local delights like caramelised pastries and roasted hazelnuts rolled in sugar.

In the city you’ll find a host of alluring restaurants, like Belle Campagne in the up-and-coming Saint Pierre district, offering a seasonal local menu including meals with free-range, organic guinea hen. La Tupina, in the heart of the historical district, has a regularly changing menu, including foie gras terrine, confit goose wing and pastries filled with ice cream. Saint-Émilion is another culinary honeypot. It's known for its deserts, especially macarons, which you can enjoy after a dinner of confit duck or roasted salmon, at restaurants like Amélia Canta.

4. The sights

About half of Bordeaux city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site; stroll by the Grand Théâtre, the cathedral and the gorgeous Place de la Bourse to find out why. For modern architecture lovers, La Cité du Vin is worth a trip: it's a multimedia wine museum housed in an elegant glass tower, while the Musée des Beaux-Arts is the place to visit for a display of modern and classical artwork.

In the pretty town of Saint-Émilion, some of the main attractions include the Cordeliers cloister, which displays Romanesque and Gothic architecture and conceals a 17-metre-deep underground wine cave. From catacombs to a monolithic church, the subterranean world of Saint-Émilion is vast. However, if you prefer to stay above ground, find a vantage point to watch the sunset before you wander down into the cobbled streets.

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