Ah, Bordeaux. Even the name sounds elegant. One of France’s biggest cities, it has long been celebrated for its wine-making prowess, but there’s more to this place than just fabulous plonk. This port city is in the country’s south-west, not far from gastronomic titans like Toulouse and Dordogne, and just three hours from the Spanish border. It means the foodie scene is made up of a heady mix of influences, and dining in the city is a joy. Lemon-drenched oysters and tender Agneau de Pauillac lamb are just a couple of the not-to-be-missed local specialities.
There’s something for everyone in Bordeaux. The River Garonne runs through the city, and its banks are blessed with some of the most beautiful architecture in France. Cue grand 18th-century palaces with leafy parks peppered in between. The protected old town is also rich in age-old structures, and a lovely place to explore, thanks to its plentiful museums and galleries. Elsewhere in the city, you’ll find luxury designer boutiques and an exciting nightlife scene. As for the region’s outskirts, they’re characterised by more than 80 miles of beaches and forested countryside. Lots come for the rural surroundings alone – to tackle the hiking trails and pay a visit to the famous vineyards.
La Cite du Vin
Designed in the shape of a wine decanter, this fascinating museum pays homage to wine-making through the centuries, and there’s a great bar on the eighth floor.
A part of this spectacular cathedral dates way back to 1096. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it overlooks the entire city in all its Gothic splendour.
Marche des Capucins
A heady mix of colours, scents and tastes, this covered food market has everything from fruit and veg to wine and cheese all under one roof.