The City of Bordeaux has been officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and so joins a large section of the Loire Valley and the medieval city of Carcassonne as some of France’s most prestigious and important sites – see the others at
For me the most significant aspect of Bordeaux has always been the Quai des Chartrons Chartrons – a curved facade of wine trading houses and warehouses along the banks of the Garonne river set back from the cranes and ship wharves – not so long ago seeming very delapidated, but recently spruced up. This is in many ways the heart of Bordeaux‘s prestige, being the port from where wine (both local and from the Haut Pays) was exported to England, northern France and Holland over many centuries.

Certainly in recent years the city seems to have become more vibrant and less stuffy.

“With over 350 historic monuments in a protected area of 147 hectares, as well as 3 churches (Saint-André, Saint-Michel, and Saint-Seurin) that were already listed as World Heritage sites on the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela, Bordeaux had a number of assets to convince the jury.

Bordeaux, an 18th century architectural gem, owes its beauty to architects spanning a number of periods: Jacques Gabriel Les Allées de Tourny, Victor Louis Le Grand Théâtre, Jacques d’Welles the municipal stadium, and Richard Rogers, who designed not only the Beaubourg Centre in Paris, but also the Bordeaux Court of First Instance.

Above and beyond its lovely architecture, Bordeaux was chosen for its attractive, vibrant, and cosmopolitan districts. From the narrow streets of the Saint-Michel quarter to buildings from the 60s and 70s in Mériadeck, these districts reflect the life of a city that has evolved without losing its character or identity.

Bordeaux’s successful bid as a World Heritage site also relied on several ambitious urban renewal projects begun in 1996 under the impetus of mayor Alain Juppé. These include development of the quays along the Garonne River, the restoration of many façades, and a light rail transit system.”

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