Bordeaux is one of France's most beautiful and exciting cities. Built on the fringes of the Garonne River that continues out to the Atlantic, it's been a wealthy trading centre since Roman times and is today one of France's most populated and prosperous cities. And with more than its fair share of classical architecture, fine restaurants, chic bars and a surrounding region that produces upwards of 900 million bottles of wine each year, it's easy to see why Bordeaux is popular with French and overseas holidaymakers alike.
Bordeaux's city centre is a wonder in itself. Granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2007, it's a fine display of narrow boulevards, fine classical buildings and pretty squares. The Grand Théâtre is perhaps the city's most iconic building, with an impossibly grand multi-columned façade that draws visitors into an equally impressive and intricate interior. Some of Bordeaux's smartest shopping streets lead from here. South of the Grand Théâtre is the Place Gambetta, site of the city's magnificent cathedral and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which houses works by Matisse, Van Dyck and Picasso.