Just an hour’s flight from Paris are the rolling vineyards and petite chateaus of Bordeaux, one of the world’s preeminent winemaking regions. The latest way to explore Bordeaux is the La Cité du Vin, or “The City of Wine.” France’s national obsession with wine has been taken up another notch in this beautiful museum and interactive exhibition hall that combines learning, wine tastings, and fine dining. La Cité du Vin opened this summer and is now the latest reason for a traveler to explore Bordeaux.
The contemporary museum was designed by architects Nicolas Desmazières and Anouk Legendre of XTU Architects. The interlaced structure symbolizes the knotted vine stocks and the flow of wine inside a tilted glass. Established on the banks of the Garonne River in the center of the city, the curvaceous museum offers panoramic views of the city, including the palaces and plazas of the Port of the Moon, the gilded span of the Aquitaine Bridge, and, in the distance, fields of green stretching towards the horizon. Inside the facility, there are ten stories devoted to exhibits, a tourism desk that will arrange trips to nearby vineyards, auditorium, wine bar, and restaurant.
Admission to the museum is just twenty euros for a self-guided tour through themed exhibits exploring the culture of wine from around the world, culminating in the belvedere overlooking the river for a wine tasting. There is also a permanent tour and simulated voyage at sea aboard a merchant ship that expands on the history of winemaking, for those who want to delay their wining and dining. Temporary displays of renowned artists are found in the sweeping hallways while vinicultural classes and films are shown in the Thomas Jefferson Auditorium.
Wining and Dining
The interactive experience is never better than with a glass of Bordeaux and a plate of fromage. Finish your day at the Restaurant Le 7 with a view of the city. The contemporary restaurant combines seasonal and regional produce with global dishes and perfect wine pairings. If you’re looking for less eating, more drinking, settle in at the Latitude20 Wine Bar. While dining on a selection of delicious tapas, sample some of their eight hundred bottles and fifty wines by the glass from across the planet. If the weather permits, drink in the patio garden on the banks of the Garonne.
Vacationing in France is already perfect for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life—and visiting La Cité du Vin is the experience of a lifetime for a budding sommelier or wine lover!