The capital of good style
Those who know Bordeaux only by the labels of red wine bottles have a lot to catching up to do. One cannot truly claim to have tapped the city, which lies at the heart of France's most prominent wine region, until one has walked past the residential houses at the banks of the Garonne River, strolled through the long shopping streets, and explored the old churches and historic city palaces. Bordeaux has a lively city center, inhabited by students, where France's big-city flair mixes with the manageability of a developed small town. The Grande Théâtre, the Gothic church tower of Saint-Michel, the university buildings - in the old Bordeaux, all seems noble, yet somehow less pompous than in the capital city, Paris. Two axes make the exploration of the Old Town much easier: The pedestrian zone at the Rue Sainte-Catherine stretches from the Place du Grand Théâtre in the north to the university area at the Place de la Victoire in the South; the east-west axis leads along the Cours Victor Hugo to the Pont de Pierre, the old bridge over the Garonne River. At night, this bridge offers the best views of the city. And once you are done sightseeing, you can go back to studying wine bottles in one of the numerous eateries and wine bars.