For years, Bordeaux was known as "La Belle Endormie," or Sleeping Beauty. Warehouses in the old port caused the dirt to be cut off from the waterfront. As a result, the beautiful ocher-colored limestone dwellings were completely covered and hidden from public. All of this changed in 1995 when the mayor Alain Juppé set out on an urban renewal program; he pedestrianized the main streets, cleaned the historic buildings and modernized the fossil docklands into an inviting frontier named Chartrons. With half of the city now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is more than obvious that the results were victorious. Head to “Saint Pierre” district and walk around its eccentric streets and small squares packed with restaurants and bars that are perfect for you to enjoy a gourmet break. Bordeaux’s city center has more than 350 historic buildings and landmarks that include cathedrals, churches, bridges and plazas.
What to do in Bordeaux with a car hire at Bordeaux Airport? Read our travel guide, our tips and recommendations.
Main sights: The historic center is always a great start. Even better so if it has a dramatic entrance to it. See Porte de Bourgogne ; the arch representing part of the former fortification of the city and the city’s entrance. Before entering turn around and look at the two bridges; the nearby Pont du Pierre and Pont Saint-Jean a bit further down. For a spectacular view of the Pont du Pierre especially, wait until evening hours - the illuminated docks will mesmerize you completely. Visit the city’s Basilique Saint-Michel De Bordeaux (English: Basilica of St. Michael, Bordeaux). It is a 114 m (374 ft) high Gothic church with stunning panorama to offer. Pick a sunny day and stroll along Les Quais Bordeaux (English: The Bordeaux Quays), this charming Bordeaux waterfront will force you to marvel at the main sights close by.
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