Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux is a university city and the political, economic and scientific center of south-west France.

Its inhabitants call themselves Bordelais. The city is particularly famous for its Bordeaux wine and its cuisine, but also for its architectural and cultural heritage. Bordeaux is the seat of the prefecture of the Gironde department and capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, as well as the seat of an archbishop and a German consulate general. The city has the reputation of a "second capital" due to the many museums located there and due to the fact that during the German invasions of France in 1870/71, 1914, 1940 the seat of government was regularly temporarily moved from Paris to Bordeaux. of France.

Bordeaux itself has 259,809 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020). The narrower metropolitan area of Bordeaux has around 773,542 inhabitants and also includes 26 surrounding municipalities that are organized in the Bordeaux Métropole municipal association. The area is 578.3 square kilometers and the population density is 1338 people per square kilometer. This association is in turn part of an agglomeration (Aire urbaine de Bordeaux), which includes the wider catchment area with a total of 51 municipalities and thus has 1,215,769 inhabitants living on 5,613.4 square kilometers, which corresponds to a population density of 216 inhabitants per square kilometer. Bordeaux is the largest city in the Gironde department and the Aquitaine region and the ninth largest city in France. The agglomeration ranks sixth in France. The arrondissement of the same name, which consists of 21 cantons, is also administered from Bordeaux.



Bordeaux is a city that does not impress with outstanding individual buildings, but with the grandiose, almost completely preserved complex of the city, which has preserved its historical image to this day. In this it is similar to cities like Amsterdam or Lisbon. The layout of the city prompted Victor Hugo to remark that Bordeaux was a cross between Versailles and Antwerp, that is, a palatial architecture and a riverside commercial city. Especially in the historic center, but also beyond, it always offers surprising impressions, be it through the late baroque arrangement of the streets and squares or through the impressive harmony of its rows of houses, through parks and gardens. The "façade" to the Garonne is world-famous: high, narrow town houses stretch along the bank for several kilometers, interrupted by individual representative buildings. Behind it the roofs of churches and old city gates rise up. The historic ensemble is considered the largest, most complete and most beautiful in all of France and is used as a backdrop for many film and television productions.


Sacred buildings

Saint-André Cathedral: It is a single-nave Angevin Romanesque building with Gothic extensions and, at 127 meters long, one of the largest cathedrals in France. The Pey-Berland detached tower was added in the Flamboyant style between 1440 and 1450. At 50 meters high, it is the highest public vantage point in the city.
Basilica of Saint-Michel: This Gothic-flamboyant basilica has a free-standing tower that, at 114 meters, surpasses the two 81-meter towers of Saint-André Cathedral, and has long been the tallest structure in Bordeaux since its construction in the 16th century . The stained glass from the second half of the 20th century is significant.
Saint-Pierre Church: The late-Gothic parish church in the heart of the old town has a portal with small archivolt figures.
Sainte-Croix Church: The west front of the Romanesque abbey church, built in the 12th century on early Christian predecessors, was completely renovated by Paul Abadie in the 19th century, so that one can almost speak of a new building. The facade of the church dates mainly from the 12th century and, with its decorative figures, represents one of the highlights of the Angevin Romanesque period. Inside is the largest organ of Dom Bedos.
Saint Louis-de-Chartrons Church: This Gothic church with its two towers is one of the tallest churches in Bordeaux. The organ from 1881 is also famous. At night, the inside of the towers are illuminated in blue.
Church of Notre-Dame: The baroque Dominican church was built at the end of the 17th century.
Sainte Marie de la Bastide Church: This church is located on the east side of the river. It is one of the tallest buildings in the La Bastide district. The dome of the tower resembles that of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Paris.
Saint-Seurin basilica: The Gothic church with a 13th-century sculpted portal has elements of Gallo-Roman architecture in its crypt and in the tower hall.
Bordeaux Synagogue: The synagogue was built by the then exceptionally large Jewish community at the end of the 19th century and is one of the largest and most beautiful of its kind.
Church Sacré Cœur de Bordeaux: With its two towers, the church is also one of the tallest churches in Bordeaux. It is located on the southern edge of the old town near the main train station.
Saint-Bruno Church: The Romanesque church has an intricately carved granite and marble choir decorated with several figures. Across the street is Bordeaux's Great Cemetery, the Cimetière de la Chartreuse, with many mausoleums, funerary chapels and other artistically designed tombs. Particularly famous is the tomb of Jean Catherineau (1802-1874), a large, creepy-looking figure of a grim reaper. The most famous person buried here was the painter Francisco de Goya.


Secular buildings

The Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux was built between 1773 and 1780 by Victor Louis in the style of Italian classicism. The theater opened on April 7, 1780. The drama Athalie by Jean Racine was performed. The theater is one of the landmarks of Bordeaux and was considered the largest and most beautiful in France after its completion, in which the most famous ensembles gave their performances. Since 1991, the interior has been restored to its original blue, gold and marble decor.
The Palais Rohan is the former seat of the archbishop. Built between 1771 and 1784 for Archbishop Mériadec de Rohan, it was rededicated in 1835 as the town hall. Most of the interior has been preserved. At the back, two wings house the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux.
The Grosse Cloche or the Porte Saint-Eloi is the former town hall tower that served as the city gate after the main building was demolished. It is named after the huge bell, weighing almost eight tons, which is suspended in its central part. It is flanked by two 41 meter high towers. The clock was installed in 1759 and the bell in 1775. The bell is another symbol of Bordeaux, which can also be found in the city coat of arms.
The Porte Cailhau, also a former city gate, is one of the few testimonies from the Middle Ages together with the Grosse Cloche. It was built from 1495 in honor of Charles VIII.
The Porte de Bourgogne or Porte des Salinières is another former city gate across from the Pont de pierre bridge, built in the mid-18th century. There are three other former city gates of a similar design:
Porte Dijeaux, Porte d'Aquitaine and Porte de la Monnaie.
The Palais Gallien is not a palace, but the remains of a 3rd-century Roman amphitheater that could seat 15,000 spectators.
Hôtel de Ragueneau, historic town house


Modern architecture

The new building of the Palace of Justice, based on a design by Richard Rogers, impresses with the meeting rooms shaped like huge eggs, which are integrated as free-standing oval structures into a glass architecture with a corrugated roof. The Cité des civilizations du vin features 2,500 reflective aluminum panels on the façade of the building's 55-metre tower. It is intended to imitate sparkling fine wine in a glass.

In June 2019, the MÉCA opened as the Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine (“House of the Creative Economy and Culture in Nouvelle-Aquitaine”). Located near the main train station, the MÉCA is an architectural highlight of the new Euroatlantique district.


Streets, squares, bridges

With an area of 126,000 m², the Place des Quinconces is one of the largest undeveloped squares in Europe. The square was created in 1820 on the site of the former Château de la Trompette after the demolition of the fortifications. Towards the Garonne, it was decorated in 1829 with two 21 meter high columns and a flight of steps. On the city side, the square is closed off by the Monument aux Girondins, the monument to the Girondists, a column with two fountains and many other figures built between 1894 and 1902 to commemorate the members of the Gironde who fell victim to republican terror .
The Place du Parlement is a rectangular square with closed neoclassical buildings from the first half of the 18th century and was used as a marketplace. Today it is part of the pedestrian zone and houses numerous restaurants and cafés.
The Place de la Bourse is the most prominent part of the kilometer-long view of the Garonne. The magnificent architectural ensemble was built in the mid-18th century. A customs museum is housed in the Palais de la Bourse, the old port exchange. The square was created as the Place Royale from 1733 to 1743. Where the 1864 Fountain of the Three Graces now stands was a monument to King Louis XV that was destroyed in the French Revolution. The architect of the ensemble was Jacques Gabriel V. (1667-1742) together with his son Jacques-Ange Gabriel (1698-1782).
The Place de la Victoire is a circular square in the center of which is the Porte d'Aquitaine, an impressive triumphal arch from the mid-18th century.
The Pont de pierre, the city's first bridge, was ordered by Napoleon but built later. Legend has it that the 17 arches of the bridge represent the 17 letters of the name "Napoléon Bonaparte".
The Pont d'Aquitaine, the 1967 motorway bridge, is designed to allow ocean-going ships to pass.
Located between the Pont de pierre and the Pont d'Aquitaine, the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas is a road bridge built as a lift bridge that allows seagoing ships, especially cruise ships, to travel to the old town.
The Allée de Tourny, built between 1743 and 1757, is the showpiece of the street system designed by the intendants. Originally, the north side had only one storey so as not to obstruct the fortress' field of fire. At the end of the avenue is the Hôtel Meyer, built in 1796 for the Hamburg consul Meyer. Here Friedrich Hölderlin worked as a tutor.
The Mériadeck district, a large administrative and service center, is the result of recent urban planning.
Many streets and squares are named after slave traders of the 18th century, e.g. B. Rue Pierre-Baour, Place Johnson-Guillaume, Rue David-Gradis, Place John-Lewis-Brown, Rue Pierre-Desse, Rue François-Bonafé.
The public Jardin Public from the 1850s, now designed in the English style, with numerous solitary plants and historical statues.



The cultural infrastructure of Bordeaux is enriched by a number of well-known museums. The largest of them is the Musée d'Aquitaine, one of the largest regional museums in France. The rich collection on regional history is complemented by the Center Jean Moulin, which offers an extensive exhibition on the history of the Resistance. Economic history also has its place. The southern wing of the Palais de la Bourse is reserved for the Customs Museum. Above all, the checkered history of maritime trade in Bordeaux is exhibited here.

Art occupies a prominent place in the museums of Bordeaux. A large art collection, mainly classical paintings, is located in the Galerie des Beaux-Arts and in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which was set up in the rear wings of the town hall (Palais Rohan). In the immediate vicinity is the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. A large and famous collection of furnishing and interior design art is housed here in an 18th-century city palace.

Modern art can be found in the Musée d'art contemporain (CAPC) in the old customs buildings of the city port. In the Entrepôt Lainé, an old warehouse, mainly traveling exhibitions are shown.

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Design contains, among other things, an extensive collection on the French Restoration and on Prince Henry, Duke of Bordeaux, the presumptive heir to the throne of King Charles X of France. The centerpiece of the collection is a life-size bisque statue of the prince aged seven, made by the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory and unique, originally owned by the royal family.


What to do

Swimming pools
Bordeaux has four indoor pools, one outdoor pool and the Plage du Lac on Boulevard Jacques Chaban Delmas in Bruges. The city beach is open from the second weekend in June to the second weekend in September. The city also offers an overview of the opening hours of the indoor pools on its website.

Football: The stadium Stade Bordeaux-Atlantique Stade Bordeaux-Atlantique (Matmut Atlantique) in the north of the city holds over 42,000 spectators.

Regular events
The Fête du Vin takes place on the last weekend of June or the first of July, from Thursday to Sunday at midnight. Only in even years, on the esplanade des Quinconces and the quai Louis XVIII. This is now the biggest event in Bordeaux. All wines from Bordeaux and Aquitaine are presented. A pass costs €21 (2021) and is valid for four days. This includes 11 vouchers for wine tastings. You also get a glass. You can go from stand to stand, from taste to taste. There you can also taste the real Margaux, Pomerol or Saint-Emilion. Something most of us can't afford every week. If you want to discover really special wines, you should go there on a Thursday. There are also many stalls selling local produce such as foie gras and duck fillet. There are also concerts and on Sunday evening the festival ends with a magnificent fireworks display.


Getting here

By plane
Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (IATA: BOD) is approximately 12 km west of the city centre. It offers all the amenities of a medium-sized international airport.

As of 2023, there are the following direct connections from German-speaking countries to Bordeaux:
easyJet from Basel and seasonally Berlin
Lufthansa from Frankfurt am Main and Munich
SWISS from Zurich
Volotea from Düsseldorf, Hamburg (from October 10, 2023) and Stuttgart
Flight connections between Bordeaux and Paris have been banned by law since the summer of 2023, as the route can be covered in two hours by train.

Since April 2023, the easiest and fastest way to get from the airport to the city is with the newly opened tram ("Tram") line A, which leads directly to the city center, or with the express bus 30'Direct (every 30 minutes, €8) , which ends at the main train station.

By train
Bordeaux's main train station is Bordeaux Saint-Jean. In addition to numerous regional trains (TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine), the TGV high-speed trains of the state SNCF also stop here at least every 1-2 hours, which run (sometimes without stopping!) via Tours and Poitiers to Paris - the journey takes only 500 km despite the distance about 2 hours. Bordeaux is served from Paris-Montparnasse by both the "classic" TGV inOui (black-silver) and the "cheap offer" TGV Ouigo (blue-pink). Some of the latter also start at TGV stations on the outskirts of Paris, and are easy to get from €15 (online only), while the regular TGV with more comfort costs from around €60. Since seat reservations are mandatory, early booking is recommended.

On the other hand, cross-connections to other parts of the country, such as in the direction of Lyon, are rare - despite the immense detour, the trip over the high-speed lines via Paris is often the fastest option.

On the street
Bordeaux is the terminus of the continuous A10 motorway from Paris. From and to Toulouse it goes directly with the A62, direction Lyon via the A89, which previously passes through Clermont-Ferrand. The motorways in France are well developed, but you have to pay a toll.


Around the city

Since the establishment of three tram lines in 2003, Bordeaux has had an efficient local transport system. The tram et bus de la cub (tbc) offers a range of tickets. The most important are the single journey for €1.70 (10 €13.70), as well as the day ticket for €5.00 and the evening ticket €2.60 (Pass Soirée). All tickets must be validated each time you board a vehicle. Single tickets are valid for one hour during which you can change at will. Evening tickets are valid from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Trams run approximately from 5am to 1am. After that, night services operate. Since 2013 there has also been a regular service to four stations with boats on the Garonne, the so-called Batcub - the above-mentioned tickets are also valid here. (everything as of 06/2014)

In addition, the Bicycles VCub bicycle rental system is available in Bordeaux, which can also be accessed via the tbc homepage. Access codes can also be booked there from €1/day. The first 30 minutes of use are then free of charge, after that 2€/hour. Loan and return at all VCup stations.



Bordeaux is famous for its shopping mile, Rue St. Catherine. In this case, mile is a literal one, as the shopping street runs straight ahead for pretty much a mile from the Grand Théâtre to the Place de la Victoire.

The oldest market in Bordeaux is the Marché des Capucins near the Place de la Victoire, a weekly market was held in this area of the city as early as 1749. Today, the market halls in the district between the university and the African district are open almost every day (Tue-Fri 6am-1pm, Sat/Sun 5:30am-2:30pm). There is also a wealth of other weekly markets, some of which are specialized. A complete overview of the markets with opening times can be found on the city's website.



The Bordelais cuisine lies in the tension between the Atlantic and the very agricultural areas of south-west France. Regarding the Atlantic, it is worth getting up early and taking a stroll through the Marché des Capucins. Here you will find everything that comes fresh from the water, e.g. B. Oysters from the Bassin d'Arcachon, various types of sea snails (Bigorneaux) and of course fresh fish. All this with a bottle of white wine from the Entre-deux-Mer is an excellent start to the day.

The rural cuisine is best tasted on the Rive droit. In the Libournais, a real specialty is the Lamprois à la Bordelais, a river snake cooked with spices and potatoes in its own blood and lots of red wine. The magret de canard (duck breast), roasted on the fat side or grilled and rubbed with honey, makes every gourmet's heart beat faster. The strong but round Merlot wines of the Rive Droit go well with these specialties.

A detour to the beautiful Sauternes area south of Bordeaux with its world-famous sweet wines is also worthwhile. The combination of foie gras on a lukewarm baguette and the matching sweet selection made from Semillion is a must.

L'Orangerie, Jardin Public, Cours de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux. Tel: (0)5 56 48 24 41, email:



Bordeaux is a city located in south-west France, about 45 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean on the Garonne River, which runs through the city in a wide arc. This shape of a crescent moon gave the city the name Port de la lune (Port of the Moon). A few kilometers downstream, the Garonne joins the Dordogne to form the Gironde estuary, which is more than 70 kilometers long. The tidal forces can therefore be observed right into the city area. At high tide, the inflowing seawater pushes the river back and raises the level by about four to five meters. The resulting currents cause whirlpools and turbulent surface water. Sometimes a real wave can travel dozens of kilometers upstream. This phenomenon is called mascaret (spring tide) in Bordeaux.



The left bank of the Garonne, on which the vast majority of the urban area is located, consists of wide, swampy plains from which low hills rise. These consist of boulder sediments and mostly have gravel and crushed stone as subsoil. The soils are poor, but due to their water permeability and ability to retain heat, they are excellent for viticulture. The city of Bordeaux lies between the downstream Medoc and the upstream area of the Graves, which geomorphologically are very similar. Famous wineries are not uncommon in the heavily urbanized metropolitan area.

The right bank merges almost immediately into a limestone plateau up to 90 meters high, so that there is a striking steep step. About 20 kilometers away, the plateau is home to world-famous wine regions such as Saint-Émilion, Pomerol and Fronsac, which produce some of the world's most expensive wines.



Bordeaux is on the southern edge of the temperate climate zone. The very mild winters and the long, warm summers already show a subtropical-Mediterranean influence. Rainfall is common in all seasons; With a rainfall of over 900 millimeters per year, relatively high amounts are achieved by French standards. These mainly occur in the winter half-year, in the summer more in the form of warm thunderstorms. The highest amount of rainfall ever measured in France within half an hour was reported in Bordeaux in July 1883. A “double thunderstorm” in 1982 also caused enormous damage, when on May 31st it rained the whole month's target within one hour and three days later in 50 minutes another half.

The mean annual temperature is around 12.8 °C with an average minimum of 5.9 °C in January and a maximum of 20.2 °C in July. The temperature maxima, which have been shifted backwards in time, are due to the oceanic climate. Despite the balanced temperature profile, extreme temperatures can occur in the right weather conditions: During the 2003 heat wave, the maximum values reached at least 35 °C on twelve consecutive days, including one day of 41 °C.

The city has a high level of solar radiation. With around 2000 hours of sunshine per year, Bordeaux surpasses most French regions with the exception of the Mediterranean and some Atlantic coastal areas.

The microclimates of Bordeaux and the surrounding area are decisive for the excellent wine-growing conditions: the city and the surrounding wine-growing areas are protected from sea winds by a wide strip of pine forest (Forêt des Landes). In addition, the Gironde ensures a temperature-balancing effect, since this body of water releases heat stored during the day at night and also reflects the sun's rays into the surrounding area over a wide area.



Bordeaux is administratively divided into eight urban arrondissements. The arrondissements 1 to 6 are on the left bank of the Garonne and are numbered from north to south, the seventh denotes the right bank of the Garonne and the eighth the incorporated district of Caudéran. Since historically grown things were mostly not taken into account, this has led to the residents not identifying with their arrondissements – as in Paris, for example. Instead, it is customary to indicate the place of residence according to quarters or districts. Usually, these also provide some information about the standard of living.


Old Bordeaux

Since 2007, the old town of Bordeaux has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the designation Historic Center of Bordeaux (“Port of the Moon”). The area inside the former city walls is the historical core of Bordeaux. Delimited by the annular structure of the main streets and the banks of the Garonne, it is divided by two main axes:

Rue Sainte-Catherine, now entirely pedestrianized, runs north to south for over a kilometer from Place du Grand Théâtre to Place de la Victoire, where the old university buildings stand. Here and to the west is the business district of Bordeaux with a focus on trade and services, to the east up to the Garonne predominates - partly very old - residential buildings.

The east-west axis is formed by the Pont de pierre, the only bridge crossing within the historic center. Its continuation is the Cours Victor Hugo. To the north, residential and business locations of a high to very high standard predominate, to the south simple locations.

In the north-west, in the Quinconces and Hôtel de Ville districts, you will find fine restaurants and cafés, representative branches of banks and financial service providers, cinemas and high-end retail outlets. Here is the so-called Triangle d'or (Golden Triangle), which was already known in the days of the directors, an almost equilateral triangle that is formed by three avenues and is considered a showcase for fine Bordeaux. There are restaurants, hotels and pubs in the north-eastern part in the Saint-Pierre and Saint-Eloi districts. The originally alternative charm is slowly giving way to a certain chic. The south-west part of the Victoire district is strongly characterized by students, but is also the preferred place of residence for the middle class. In the south-east in the districts of Capucins, Saint-Michel and Sainte-Croix, low-income sections of the population predominate with the elderly, workers, the unemployed and immigrants.


The former faubourgs (suburbs)

The residential belt between the Cours and the Boulevard emerged from former suburbs outside the city walls and is structured in a similar way, with a few exceptions: preferred locations predominate in the north and simple locations in the south.

Along the Garonne lie the districts of Chartrons and Grand Parc in the north.

The north-west around the Palais Gallien is home to the Saint-Seurin district, an upscale residential area and home to many consulates.

In the west, the Mériadeck shopping and administration center rises up, the only inner-city high-rise ensemble. For its construction, large areas of simple quarters were demolished, the condition of which was regarded as dilapidated and unhygienic. Although high-quality residential development was planned between the commercial and administrative areas, there was no increased settlement of the upper class; on the contrary, the buildings have already developed a light patina. However, the generous traffic development led to the settlement of some hotels of higher standards. Around Mériadeck, the original development for the lower to middle-middle class has been preserved, consisting mostly of one- to two-storey rows of houses with small gardens. These so-called échoppes are very popular with the population today.

Saint Genès in the south-west is upper-class, while the train station district in the south is still a residential area for the poor. Industry and commerce, railway lines and less than appealing infrastructure such as the central slaughterhouses characterize the picture.

The right bank of the Garonne has come under the spotlight of urban planners after decades of neglect. In place of the industrial and railway districts of Bastide and Benauge, a completely new upper-class residential area is being built directly opposite the old town. This happens primarily in La Bastide on the southern area of the former railway and goods railway site and the adjoining commercial areas. This started with the conversion of the old Gare d'Orléans train station into a multiplex cinema and the opening of the botanical gardens Jardin botanique de Bordeaux in 2003.

On the other side of the boulevard, to the north, are the Lac district, which has no residential buildings to speak of, and Bacalan, a traditional dockworker's district that is now heavily affected by unemployment. To the west is Caudéran, a suburb incorporated in 1964 with sparse development and a few representative villas. This is where Parc Bordelais is located, the city's largest public green space. To the southwest is Saint-Augustin, a middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhood; the Stade Chaban-Delmas stadium and the central hospital are located here.



As in almost all French metropolitan areas, the core city of Bordeaux is surrounded by a belt of independent municipalities that have grown together inseparably, but have not been incorporated. While Bordeaux lost population overall in the 20th century, some of these suburbs have grown tenfold their original population. The spatial expansion of the agglomeration is particularly remarkable on the left bank of the Garonne: For decades, the city has literally eaten its way into the surrounding pine forest, repeatedly pushing a belt of currently preferred peripheral residential areas in front of it. The almost consistently low level of development also contributes to the use of land.

The highly densely populated part of the metropolitan area lies roughly within the ring road. The intersections between the ring-shaped boulevard and the arterial roads are the so-called Barrières. These by no means form clear borders between Bordeaux and the suburbs, but on the contrary, due to their traffic situation, they have become small sub-centres of the inner city, half of which is in Bordeaux, the other half in the neighboring municipalities, which also each have their own city centres. These places have populations between 10,000 and 70,000 inhabitants.

Outside of these cities or beyond the ring road, the development is looser, the population density is lower and the average income of the residents is higher. Some large facilities such as the airport and industrial settlements break up the uniform picture. The communities located in this outer belt have between 5,000 and 25,000 inhabitants. On the opposite side of the Garonne, the transition is abrupt due to the limited space available. While near the city limits in Lormont and Cenon there is high-rise development on a larger scale, rural areas begin immediately to the east.


Flora and fauna

The urban area is so dense on almost 90% of the area that there is no room for natural habitats. Here the vegetation is limited to parks, green verges and empty building lots. The animal world also only exists to the extent that it can adapt to almost closed, built-up areas. Bordeaux in particular has a massive problem with its rat population, which the city government has been fighting for years through improved waste disposal and stricter controls on catering facilities.

Areas close to nature can be found in the extreme north of the urban area and occasionally on the banks of the Garonne opposite the old town. In the north in particular, which has been designated as a local recreation area, some areas have deliberately not been cultivated, so that flora and fauna still exist here that are typical along the Gironde: a number of migratory birds have their resting places here, and some can be found in the woods Species of small game, and in swampy places, residents of wetlands (amphibians, etc.) can also be found.

The vineyards form their own biotope, but they have disappeared from the city of Bordeaux. On the other hand, in some neighboring towns such as Pessac or Villenave-d'Ornon, wine is cultivated. Partridges and rabbits and their predators (birds of prey, etc.) have their habitats here. The aquatic habitat is relatively undisturbed. In the Garonne there is a large number of organisms that have adapted to the conditions in brackish water reservoirs, see Gironde. The artificially created lakes are primarily home to ornamental and angling fish.



The history of Bordeaux spans a period of almost 2300 years. It is shaped by Celts, Romans, Franks and the Anglo-French contrast. Bordeaux has belonged to France without interruption since the middle of the 15th century. Over the centuries, the city has experienced three periods of economic prosperity, mainly due to the strategic location of trade and transport links.



The city dates back to a Celtic settlement from the 3rd century BC. which was called Burdigala by the Romans and became the capital of the province of Aquitania. It was during this period that Bordeaux experienced its first heyday, which lasted several hundred years; Both the viticulture that was already practiced at that time and the favorable location as a seaport were the reasons for this. Since the immediate surroundings were swampy - the Aquitanian word burd means swamp - and infested with malaria and therefore seemed unsuitable for settlement, Bordeaux is an example of a city founded for purely strategic reasons. The Via Aquitania connected Bordeaux to Narbonne via Toulouse, the older Via Agrippa connected the city to Lyon and from there to the centers of Augusta Treverorum, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium and Massilia.

The cityscape of ancient Burdigala must have been impressive; Travelogues by Roman writers described it as a rich, splendid city. Even during the decline of the Western Empire, the city was able to maintain a certain standard of living within its fortifications before a series of looting and devastation caused by the migration of peoples put an end to prosperity.


Middle Ages

In the 5th century Bordeaux was conquered by the Visigoths and shortly thereafter by the Franks. At the latest after the division of the partial empire of Charibert I of Paris, i.e. 567, Bordeaux belonged to Neustria. However, after the marriage of the Neustrian king Chilperic I, he gave the city along with Cahors, Limoges, Bearn and Bigorre as a dowry to his bride Gailswintha. These five cities were strategically located in the territory of father-in-law Athanagild, king of the Visigoths. After Chilperic had arranged for his wife to be murdered, this inheritance passed to the kingdom of Austrasia, according to a regulation of a Malberg convened by Guntram, king of the Burgundians. Ultimately not agreeing to this, Chilperic attempted to reconquer the cities in 573, with his son Clovis as commander. Although the conquest of Bordeaux succeeded in the short term, Clovis' troops were driven out again just a month later by the Austrian Margrave Sigulf.

In 732, Abd ar-Rahman devastated the city during his campaign. After the Arabs were defeated at Poitiers, they were pushed back behind the Pyrenees, but the Normans invaded and plundered the city again in the 9th century. Only after that did Bordeaux begin to recover. A turning point came when Eleanor of Aquitaine made the south-west of France an English fief by marrying Henry II. From the 12th to the 15th century, Bordeaux remained under the rule of the kings of England and experienced a second economic boom. The city was given a new city wall and the Romanesque church was replaced by a Gothic building, the Saint-André cathedral. Bordeaux was the seat of an archbishop and capital of the Principality of Guyenne, the English adaptation of the French term Aquitaine.

From 1462 to 1790, Bordeaux was the seat of the Parlement de Bordeaux, which was responsible for Aquitaine and exercised legislative, judicial and executive powers there on behalf of the crown. In particular, as a court of appeal, it decided in the last instance all civil proceedings (in written proceedings) and all criminal proceedings (in oral proceedings). For centuries, the Parlement de Bordeaux competed with the Parlement de Toulouse, mostly over disputes over competence and priority.

Compared to other French provinces, the standard of living in Bordeaux and the surrounding area was high. The food supply was adequate and the town benefited from a trade network through which local wine could be exported and English manufactured goods imported. During the Hundred Years' War, the English were able to hold on to Bordeaux, only after the Battle of Castillon did they finally have to evacuate the Guyenne. On October 19, 1453, Charles VII's troops entered the city. The return to France was by no means welcomed by the citizens, many of them powerful and wealthy merchants, since the previous sales markets in England were lost as a result. The king also protected himself by having two large fortresses built, the Château de la Trompette in the north and the Château du Hâ in the west. These were primarily defensive structures, but the guns could also be aimed at the population in the event of an uprising. The University of Bordeaux was founded in 1441.


Modern times

From absolutism to the 20th century

After a period of decline, Bordeaux experienced its third heyday in the 18th century thanks to the thriving Atlantic maritime trade, particularly with the Antilles. At that time, some capable directors were sent to the city, who gave it a completely new face. The Marquis de Tourny in particular made important contributions here. The old city walls were torn down and replaced by wide boulevards, the so-called cours. Some of the most impressive private houses were built along these cours, some of which still look like palaces today. The magnificent buildings on the edge of the harbor quays also date from this period. Built in the classical style, the Grand Théâtre received the most sought-after ensembles in all of France. A masterpiece of mercantile architecture is the Palais de la Bourse, the seat of the stock exchange. This transformation of Bordeaux in the spirit of enlightened absolutism impressed the young Georges-Eugène Haussmann and may in part serve as a model for the transformation of Paris under Napoleon III. have become.

→ Main article: Place des Quinconces
At the time of the French Revolution, Bordeaux became the capital of the Gironde department. In the National Assembly, the deputies, known as Girondins, were an important group that initially had considerable influence and played a key role in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen and the new Constitution. These Girondins were politically associated with the Liberals. With the reign of terror of the Jacobins around Maximilien de Robespierre in 1793/94, however, they lost their influence and were persecuted. A century later, the Monument aux Girondins was dedicated to them on the Place des Quinconces. The economic situation in Bordeaux also deteriorated again.

During the Napoleonic Wars, huge contingents were transferred to Spain, passing through Bordeaux, among other places. It is thanks to this circumstance that the Pont de pierre, the first permanent bridge over the Garonne, was built in 1822. The concerns of the local officials about not being able to master the technical challenges in view of the strong current and the unpredictable tides are said to have prompted Napoleon to say "Impossible n'est pas français!" (Impossible is not French!).

During this period, the population grew significantly despite economic difficulties. New suburbs developed between the Cours and the new city boundary, today's boulevard, parts of which have remained the city boundary to this day, spreading out in a ring around the medieval core on the left bank of the Garonne. In the north-west and south-west were the districts of the upper bourgeoisie, in between the simple residential areas for workers and the lower middle class. The right bank of the Garonne developed only slowly in comparison. During the emerging industrialization, most of the large companies settled here and in the port area. Bordeaux began to merge with its neighboring cities.


Since the 20th century

Bordeaux in World War II

In 1870/71, as well as in the First and Second World Wars, the French government withdrew from Paris to Bordeaux before the advancing German troops. In mid-June 1940, more than half a million civilians and soldiers fleeing the Wehrmacht had also arrived in the city.

From July 1, 1940 to August 27, 1944, Bordeaux was occupied by German Wehrmacht troops, who built an important U-boat port here and maintained a naval hospital from 1942. Despite this fact and the exposed location near the Atlantic coast, which the Germans developed into the "Atlantic Wall" and fortified with bunkers along its entire length, Bordeaux remained almost undamaged. The oil refinery facilities north of Bordeaux were bombed from the air in August 1940.

During this time, the city, like the entire south-west of France, was a stronghold of the Resistance. On October 21, 1941, wartime administrator Hans Gottfried Reimers was killed by resistance fighter Pierre Rebière. The day before, an attempt had been made to assassinate field commander Karl Hotz in Nantes. For this reason, 48 hostages were shot by the German occupying forces in Nantes on October 22, 1941 and 50 prisoners in Bordeaux on October 24, 1941.

Maurice Papon, the secretary of the Gironde prefect, Sabatier, who was collaborating with the National Socialists, tried to suppress the Résistance with cruel means. For his arbitrary rule and his joint responsibility for the Holocaust - he was responsible for the deportation of the Bordeaux Jews - he was only tried in Bordeaux in 1997 as one of the last representatives of the collaboration. Jacques Chaban-Delmas, one of the most important figures in the resistance against German occupation, was elected mayor after the war and held this post for almost fifty years.

After the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, Hitler ordered the port facilities and the Pont de pierre bridge in Bordeaux, built under Napoleon Bonaparte, to be destroyed as German troops retreated from Bordeaux. Contrary to the order, the division commander, Generalleutnant Albin Nake, concluded a secret agreement after negotiations with the representatives of the local resistance that the city of Bordeaux would not be destroyed if the German troops, who were withdrawing without a fight, were not attacked by the resistance groups, but were given safe conduct. On August 22, 1944, the German sergeant Heinz Stahlschmidt blew up the German ammunition depot with the 4,000 detonators ready for the intended detonation, killing several German soldiers in the process. It is not clear whether this act of sabotage prevented the destruction of the city, as the German troops still had enough artillery to destroy the city. Both sides stuck to the agreement that was reached, so that Bordeaux was not destroyed, combat measures were avoided and the German troops and civilian forces were able to withdraw in three marching groups.


Internment camp in Bordeaux

In early 1939, several internment camps were set up in France for people who had fled to France during or after the end of the Spanish Civil War. After the outbreak of World War II, these camps were also widely used to intern so-called unwanted foreigners, which included Germans and Austrians living in France, whether they were pro-Nazi or anti-fascist. For people in these camps who had the chance to emigrate to a third country, for example the USA, Bordeaux was one of the major embarkation ports, along with Marseille and Le Havre. For this purpose, a camp for internees from Les Milles was set up from late 1939 to June 1940 in a former rope factory in Bordeaux, where people had to wait for their emigration. This emigrant foyer at Quai de Bacalan 24 (♁Lage) lost its function with the beginning of the German occupation of Bordeaux. On July 17, 1942, the chief of police in Bordeaux telegraphed the prefects of the southern zone, informing them that exit visas for foreign Jews issued in France were no longer valid. After the outbreak of war, the emigrant's foyer was used by the Vichy regime to intern political opponents, especially communists. As the camp soon became overcrowded, it was replaced by a camp in Mérignac.

Fort du Hâ (also Château du Hâ; ♁Lage), another internment site in Bordeaux, was a 15th-century former ducal palace that was converted into a prison in 1790 and remained in use as such. In 1940, the German occupying forces confiscated three quarters of the prison space and imprisoned resistance fighters here. Some of them were deported from here to German concentration camps or were shot at Camp du Souge.

The part of Fort du Hâ occupied by the Germans, known as the German Quarter, was separated from the rest of the prison by a brick wall. The remaining French Quarter housed common-law prisoners and political prisoners arrested by the Vichy police.

Only one tower remains of the Fort du Hâ; The École Nationale de la Magistrature, a management college, is now located on the site of the former prison. A memorial was also erected here to commemorate the deportations.

Adjacent to the German Quarter of Fort du Hâ was the Boudet Barracks (♁Lage) on Rue de Pessac, a former French military prison. The occupation authorities housed resistance fighters here. "When they were liberated, the former barracks bore witness to the mistreatment and torture to which the resistance fighters imprisoned there were subjected in these premises."

Another place of internment was the synagogue of Bordeaux. (♁Lage) After the raid of January 10, 1942, it served as a place of accommodation for the arrested Jews. After they were taken away, the synagogue was desecrated and vandalized. From July 12 to August 8, 1944, the Train Fantôme, filled with several hundred people, stood in Bordeaux. Before this continued its journey to Dachau, the men from the train were housed in the synagogue, the women in the Boudet barracks.


Bordeaux in the second half of the 20th century

In the second half of the 20th century, Bordeaux underwent a profound structural change. The seaport, until then located directly in the city, was abandoned and replaced by a terminal near Le Verdon-sur-Mer on the Gironde estuary, which has the necessary water depth and capacity to handle container ships. The oil tankers serve a newly built large refinery in Pauillac, some 50 km away. After the May 1968 riots, the University of Bordeaux was relocated to a new campus in the suburb of Talence to keep students at a distance. In the north, an exhibition center, hotels and shopping centers were built on previously unused land. An administrative town was built near the city center, for which an entire neighborhood was demolished. In addition, a ring road ("Rocade") was built to deal with the increasing traffic problems. In the 1970s, Ford, IBM, Siemens and Aérospatiale, among others, settled in newly designated areas on the outskirts of the city and in the neighboring communities.

Not every one of these brutal measures was worth the effort, but the decline of the economy could be stopped. This was also made possible by the merger of Bordeaux and its neighboring communities to form the Bordeaux Métropole, a municipal association that regulates inter-municipal tasks such as structural policy, local transport and supply and disposal.

During the 1990s, Bordeaux became fully aware of its historical heritage. The old town, which has almost completely retained its historical appearance, has been increasingly traffic-calmed and the residential areas have been upgraded. Historical buildings have been renovated, the front facing the Garonne has been restored and new buildings such as the Cité Mondiale du Vin have been carefully integrated into the cityscape. In 1994, a large-scale urban regeneration project was presented, with the main aim of reuniting the city with the Garonne. Old warehouses were demolished, bike paths and promenades were built, and the brownfield sites on the right-hand side of the Garonne were given new, high-quality buildings. In 2004, the tram, which had been replaced by buses since the 1960s, was re-inaugurated with three new lines. Efforts to preserve and carefully modernize the old core were rewarded in 2007 with the inclusion of the old town in the UNESCO World Heritage.




The language border between the Langue d'oïl and the Langue d'oc runs in the immediate vicinity of Bordeaux. During the Middle Ages, the langue d'oïl reached Blaye, just 30 kilometers from Bordeaux. At the same time, the Occitan area, starting from the Gironde, is divided into different dialects like a fan. Originally, an Occitan dialect with a Gascon influence was spoken in everyday life in Bordeaux, while the right side of the Garonne was already influenced by the Auvergnatian variant, and then from Libourne by the Limousinian variant. With the establishment of standard French as the everyday language from the 19th century, at the latest since the First World War, these dialects, the so-called patois, were pushed back. In Bordeaux, the patois disappeared particularly early: this is due to the urban structure, but was certainly reinforced by the fact that even within the urban area, different patois that were difficult to understand among one another were spoken. Even before 1970, Occitan had finally disappeared from everyday life. What remains today is a typical "southwestern" accent. This dispenses with the nasal pronunciation or only hints at it. In addition, the vowels are often pronounced lighter and shorter than in standard French, which can increase the speaking speed considerably.


Population development and density

In 2005, the French institute for statistics INSEE estimated the population of Bordeaux at around 230,000. This means that there has been a population increase of over 14,000 inhabitants since the last census - a growth that is more than double the French average. This is a clear trend reversal, because since 1900 the population in the urban area had been steadily declining for almost a hundred years. At the beginning of the 20th century there were still more than 260,000 inhabitants, but even after the incorporation of Caudéran in the 1960s, there was a risk of the population falling below the 200,000 mark around 1980. The growth within the agglomeration, whose population was already 754,000 in the last census in 1999, is unbroken. The CUB had 720,000 inhabitants in 2010.

Since incorporations in France are rather reserved, the urban area of Bordeaux has reached a certain population limit. The population density is relatively high and, with more than 4,000 inhabitants per square kilometer, is above that of comparable cities in German-speaking countries - in some cases considerably higher in the inner-city residential belt. In contrast, the CUB 1200, the agglomeration shows only 713 inhabitants per square kilometer and still has considerable reserves for the densification of living space.


Population structure

Bordeaux has an overall favorable population structure. The metropolitan area has always been attractive to immigrants because of the climate, living conditions and opportunities for development. The educational institutions in particular, and to a lesser extent the newly established branches of industry, have resulted in the population being below average in age and educated above average by national standards.

The ethnic composition has experienced some peculiarities over time. For centuries, Bordeaux was a port of call for Portuguese and Spanish exiles, especially political refugees and Sephardic Jews suffering reprisals in their homeland. This is also the reason why an above-average number of Portuguese guest workers later settled in Bordeaux, who built up a flourishing community here. Immigrants from the Maghreb, most of whom now have French citizenship, also play a role, but not nearly as much as in the metropolitan areas of Paris, Lyon or Marseille.



Bordeaux has traditionally been a place of religious tolerance. During the religious wars, which had disastrous consequences in the immediate vicinity, the city willingly took in refugees. This was not entirely unselfish, because the Huguenots contributed a lot to the economy. There has also been a large Jewish community and the synagogue, which is worth seeing, for a long time. Unlike most cities in northern and eastern France, immigrants are helping to stabilize the Catholic population, since in Bordeaux they mainly come from southern Europe.

Since no official statistics are kept on religious affiliation in France, it is not possible to give exact figures for Bordeaux either. If one takes the average French population as a basis (60% Catholic, 8% Muslim, 2% Protestant, 1% Jewish, 1% other communities, 28% without religion), Bordeaux deviates slightly from these figures. Specific factors such as the generally above-average number of Muslims in cities, the above-average number of Protestants in southern France and the above-average representation of Jews in Bordeaux suggest that the Catholic population is less than 60%.



Bordeaux has traditionally been a stronghold of French-style liberalism. The experience of free trade, which was already well developed here in the Middle Ages, meant that the citizens, who were very self-confident early on, formulated their interests and even enforced them under feudal or absolutist systems. While this attitude was still considered progressive before the French Revolution, it was soon discredited because the liberal attitude of the bourgeois type was also associated with unconditional support for private property and the pursuit of individual prosperity.

Despite some changes in the political landscape, the majority of Bordeaux has remained true to this tradition: while Aquitaine and the Gironde department in particular have remained a stronghold of the socialists, Bordeaux itself has opted for middle-class council majorities since the middle of the 20th century, and its mayors always elected from the Conservative or Economic Liberal parties. This only changed in the 2020 local elections, when a left-wing alliance won the election and Pierre Hurmic was the first politician from the French Greens to take office.


Coat of arms

Blazon: "In red under a blue shield head, in it bars of three golden heraldic lilies, over a blue wave shield base, therein three black wave threads and a lying silver crescent moon, a growing black jointed silver castle with battlement wall, central, closed round portal, four battlemented, conical-footed round towers, Two on the left and two on the right standing close together, in the middle a growing crenellated round tower with a round arched window, a silver bell hanging in it, all covered with cones and surmounted with a golden leopard looking ahead.”

Explanation of coat of arms: The coat of arms dates back to the period immediately after the end of the Hundred Years' War. The lilies on a blue background in the shield stand for royal France, the golden leopard on a red background symbolizes the Duchy of Guyenne and the castle is the town hall of Bordeaux, which was then housed in the city palace that no longer exists. Today only the tower with the thick bell (big cloche) still exists. The crescent moon in the river waves hints at the name Port de la Lune, underscoring the town's role in maritime trade. This arrangement of the symbols underscores the French claim to town and countryside and is reflected in the town's motto. In the full coat of arms, the saying can be found in a banner below the shield; above the shield is a mural crown with seven battlements - sometimes replaced by a count's crown - and it is held on the left and right by two antelopes.

As a symbol of Bordeaux, the crescent moon has acquired a special meaning over time. For a few hundred years, a graphic form has developed that depicts three crossed sickles and is used as a shortened form of the coat of arms. The city administration uses this sign as a plaque to identify city property or city activity, also as an image-enhancing brand symbol, similar to a logo. It is also very popular among the population: the trois croissants adorn house facades, items of clothing or are available as stickers, etc.



Bordeaux's economy has always been inextricably linked to wine and the port. Trade, transport and services still play a crucial role in the local economy today. Bordeaux, on the other hand, only became an industrial location late and fell into a structural crisis only a short time later. After overcoming these, predominantly future technologies have been settled there. The unemployment rate was 9.9% in 2006 and 10.3% in 2011.


Service sector

Wine and sea trade are still important economic factors today. The port was ranked as the seventh largest seaport in France in 2019 (in terms of tonnage handled: almost 5.4 million tons landed and almost 1.5 million tons left the port) Bordeaux wine is exported to many countries. In 2019, Bordeaux wine worth 2.1 billion euros was exported.

Wholesalers and retailers are well represented and partially focused on the distribution of regional or specialized products. Land and sea freight forwarders operate a wide range of activities from here, with goods transshipped by road at 90 million tons per year, which is ten times the amount handled by sea. As the administrative center of the region and the department, the city has a strong administrative position. There is also the University of Bordeaux and institutes such as the Institute for Oenology. Trade fairs, congresses and tourism were an important economic sector in France until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Well-known fairs have been held in Bordeaux for centuries. The largest public fair is the Book Fair Salon du Livre, which takes place annually in March; Trade fairs such as Vinexpo or Vinitech-Sifel are primarily aimed at commercial visitors.



The agglomeration has 88 commercial areas, which are supplemented by six so-called "technology poles". Bordeaux has declared five industrial focal points as strategic location factors: aerospace, electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, automotive engineering and building materials. Ford had a transmission plant in the suburb of Blanquefort; 850 employees worked there until it was closed in 2019.



In Bordeaux there is a large and varied range of educational opportunities. 70,000 students alone are spread over the four universities, which appear together as the University of Bordeaux, but are formally independent of one another. In addition to the university, the city has eight engineering colleges, four business schools, the Institut d'études politiques de Bordeaux and five other colleges, including the Santé Navale, which provides training for naval health care. Bordeaux is home to the École national de la magistrature (ENM), the French training center for judges and public prosecutors. Saint-Joseph de Tivoli is considered one of the oldest schools in the city.



Bordeaux is the location of the Sud Ouest media group, which publishes a number of guidebooks, magazines and illustrated books in addition to the regional daily newspaper Sud Ouest and its Sunday edition. The circulation area of the daily newspaper reaches into the Charente, the Limousin and the Pyrenees; the circulation is among the highest in all of France. Book publishers have a long tradition in Bordeaux, which is why the city is also the location of a book fair. In addition, the television and radio stations, e.g. B. France 3, regional offices in Bordeaux, the local television station TV 7 Bordeaux is also based here. Some private radio stations are also based in Bordeaux.



Bordeaux is famous for its varied, exquisite cuisine. The proximity to the sea, the surrounding vineyards and the hinterland characterized by polycultures offer a variety of different local specialties. Many dishes à la Bordelaise stand out: These are served with - usually red - Bordeaux wine, often also with shallots, the use of which has largely replaced onions or garlic in the cuisine of the French south-west.

The markets source fish, oysters and seafood in particular from nearby Arcachon, a center of oyster farming, and from the Gironde. Oysters are usually served with white bread and butter, but also grilled minced pork, which sets a tasty counterpoint. Spring is the peak season for shad, a boney but tasty white-fleshed fish caught mainly in the Gironde. Lamproie à la Bordelaise, lamprey, a snake-shaped fish whose red blood is processed into a complex sauce together with red wine, is particularly popular and correspondingly expensive. The connection with Portugal has meant that cod is also very popular in Bordeaux. The brandade de morue is a salad made of boiled potatoes and diced cod, served cold or lukewarm, dressed with a vinaigrette and sometimes flavored with cucumber or shallot.

In Bordeaux, preference is given to "red meat", especially beef, over all other types of meat. Here, too, there are many variants with red wine sauces, entrecôte à la Bordelaise, the piece of ribs covered with plenty of shallots, is particularly well-known. As in the Périgord, confit, pickled pieces of goose or duck, are a staple of the cuisine. Foie gras or pâté is also sourced from the Landes department in addition to the Périgord. It is remarkable that Bordelais is almost the only region in France that has not produced its own cheese. In addition to produce from neighboring regions, the Bordelais traditionally prefer Dutch cheeses, which were introduced to the city hundreds of years ago.

Canelés are a real Bordeaux specialty. These are small cakes baked in a characteristic gugelhupf-like shape and no higher than 10 cm. A successful canelé has a caramelized crust that can range from golden yellow to dark brown, depending on the baking time. The interior, on the other hand, is soft, airy and creamy-sticky. Rum and vanilla ensure the unmistakable taste. Canelés have to be eaten fresh every day, which is why they are not only expensive, but also cannot be exported. There are very few reputable providers. Canelés should be baked exclusively from egg yolk without egg white, since the egg white is needed in the wine cellar for the red wine. To clarify the red wine, it is beaten until foamy, placed on the surface of the wine and sinks down as a curtain in the wine, with the albumen binding all the turbid matter in the wine on its way down. The yolk, on the other hand, remains when the eggs are broken and is used to bake canelés. So Canelés are actually a makeshift solution so as not to throw away too much egg yolk or a way of using leftovers.



The Girondins Bordeaux have been a sporting figurehead since the Second World War. They have already been French soccer champions six times, but also have a handball team. In the first decades of the 20th century, on the other hand, it was mainly the VGA du Médoc and the SC de la Bastidienne that represented the city nationally in this sport. In the south-west of France, rugby union is widespread and extremely popular alongside football. The local clubs are Stade Bordelais and CA Bordeaux-Bègles Gironde; they represent a joint professional team called Union Bordeaux Bègles. Bordeaux was one of the venues for the Rugby World Cups in 1999 and 2007. Matches are planned for Bordeaux again for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The city maintains a particularly close relationship with cycling. Bordeaux is a regular stage city of the Tour de France and is considered the most prestigious arrival for sprinters along with the finish on the Parisian Champs-Elysées. For a long time there was also the Bordeaux-Paris one-day race, in which the approximately 600 kilometers of road between the two cities had to be conquered in one day. It was therefore considered the toughest bike race in the world. This was also a reason it was discontinued in the late 20th century. The Velodrome de Bordeaux Lac Stadium hosted the 1998 and 2006 UCI Track World Championships and the 2007 Paralympic Track Cycling World Championships.

Bordeaux is also characterized by the surfing tournaments that are regularly held on the Atlantic coast. The waves on the Côte d'Argent are considered to be one of the ideal destinations for surfers worldwide; in nearby Lacanau, competitions are held every year, attracting great public attention. Surfers also take advantage of the Mascaret, a tidal wave in the Gironde that, under favorable conditions, continues into the city. Especially around the equinox, waves up to three meters high push into the estuary, which are used extensively by surfers.

Bordeaux was one of the venues for the 2016 European Football Championship. So far, Bordeaux has hosted the Stade Chaban-Delmas. However, since the stadium could not be expanded further without destroying the art deco style, a new stadium was built in the Bordeaux district of Lac. In May 2015, after two and a half years of construction, the Matmut Atlantique was opened and is available for hosting four preliminary rounds and one quarter-final of the 2016 European Championship.

In 2015, a three-cushion world championship was held for the first time in the Palais des Congrès. The city signed a two-year contract with the world association Union Mondiale de Billard (UMB). The following year, the city was again the venue.



Bordeaux has always been a very conveniently located city. The imperial roads crossed here as early as Roman times and the port was one of the larger of its era. One of the main routes of the Camino de Santiago has passed through Bordeaux since the Middle Ages, the Via Turonensis. The Napoleonic road system also had one of its junctions in the city.



Road transport plays an important role in Bordeaux, as international goods traffic from Portugal and almost all of Spain passes through the city. In the summer, there are several waves of individual vacationers. Private and commercial traffic meant that Bordeaux was integrated into the French motorway network very early on. The A 10 (Paris-Bordeaux), which continues south to Spain as the N 10, the A 62 (Bordeaux-Toulouse-Narbonne), the A 63 (Bordeaux-Arcachon) to the sea and the A 89, completed in 2007 ( Bordeaux–Lyon).

Already in the early post-war period, the traffic problems became so obvious that a continuous ring road became necessary. The A 10 has crossed the Garonne over the Pont d'Aquitaine, a suspension bridge construction, since 1967. During the 1970s and 1980s the ring was closed. In the south, this so-called Rocade crosses the Garonne a second time via the Pont François Mitterrand. Until then, road traffic was exclusively routed over the two inner-city bridges, Pont de pierre and Pont Saint-Jean. Since 2013, there is another road bridge, the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, located between the Pont de pierre and the Pont d'Aquitaine. It was built as a lifting bridge to enable seagoing ships, especially cruise ships, to travel to the old town.



Bordeaux is an important railway junction. Built in 1898, the main train station Bordeaux-Saint-Jean testifies to the importance that the city already had in the 19th century. This was initially a terminus and north-western node of the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi, whose route network covered almost all of southern France. Across the Garonne was its smaller counterpart, the Gare d'Orléans, which was the southwest terminus of the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer Paris-Orléans.

The Pont Saint-Jean was the first railway bridge to be built over the Garonne very early on. After the merger of the two railway companies in 1934, the main station was expanded into a through station and the Gare d'Orléans lost its importance. After its abandonment it was in the meantime threatened with demolition. Today, a multiplex cinema is housed in the renovated building.

Today, the important Paris-Irun (Spain) axis runs via Bordeaux, which is served over its entire length by the TGV. Between Paris and Bordeaux, it is consistently developed as a high-speed route. Many connections run daily between the two cities, the journey time is around two hours. A TGV line also connects Bordeaux to the Mediterranean via Toulouse.



Flight connections are becoming increasingly important in Bordeaux. Bordeaux Airport is located in Mérignac, to the west of the metropolitan area, and can be reached by a shuttle bus. In the 1990s, the airport significantly expanded its capacity by building a new terminal. Goods are also handled at the airport.



Shipping has always played a prominent role in Bordeaux. At times the largest port in France, the city center is now only a port of call for cruise ships and excursion boats. With 16 cruise ships and 13,000 passengers in 2004 alone, Bordeaux ranks second among French ports in this regard. The industrial port facilities are now located outside the urban area in a strip from Bassens on the Bordeaux city limits to Le Verdon, more than 100 km away.

As part of the reshaping of the Garonne riverbanks, the cruiser Colbert was withdrawn.

Up the Garonne lies the river port, which is important for inland navigation and tourism. The construction of the Airbus A 380, which is partly manufactured in Toulouse, caused a lot of discussion. For the transport of the components on the Garonne, it was considered to structurally adapt the historic Pont de pierre, i. H. to partially widen the bridge arches, which monument conservators criticized. In order to be able to transport large Airbus parts such as the fuselage and cockpit under the Pont de Pierre, these parts are loaded onto smaller barges in Pauillac in order to transport them to Langon. Nevertheless, the passage is only possible when the water level of the Garonne is low, i.e. at low tide.


Public transport

The TBC operates numerous bus lines and, since 2004, tram lines again. The trams have a newly developed system that allows the overhead lines in the city center to be replaced by conductor rails laid in the ground for aesthetic reasons. The decision was made when the buses were stuck in constant traffic jams and the construction of a subway was not possible because of the proximity to the sea and the low location of the city. After initial technical difficulties, which residents often opposed to the new tram system, the tram is now functioning satisfactorily.

Since 2010, TBC has also operated a bicycle rental service with 174 stations and 1700 bicycles via VCUB.