The Tour de France and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift on the move for cycling as a means of transport


Stage town for the 82nd time Prefecture of the Gironde. Prefecture of the New Aquitaine Region.
Population: 260,000 (994,000 in the urban area). 
Personalities: Montaigne, Montesquieu, François Mauriac, Jean Anouilh (writers), Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Alain Juppé (former prime ministers), Goya (died there), Rosa Bonheur, Albert Marquet, Odilon Redon (painters), Sempé (cartoonist), Alain Giresse, Christophe Dugarry (football), Serge Lama, Marcel Amont (singers), Francis Castaing, Blel Kadri (cycling).
Specialities: Bordeaux wines. Canelé bordelais. Bouchons (chocolates). Sarments du Médoc (chocolates). Entrecote à la bordelaise (sirloin steak). Lamprey à la bordelaise. Médoc wines. Caviar from the Gironde. 
Sport: Girondins de Bordeaux (football), Union Bordeaux Bègles (rugby), Boxers de Bordeaux (ice hockey).
Events : International Jumping, International Golf Open, BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux (tennis tournament held at the Villa Primrose), Bordeaux International Table Tennis Open, Bordeaux simming race, Bordeaux-Saintes and Bordeaux-Paris (cycling).
By bike: 1,182 km of cycling facilities. Bordeaux Bike Experience. Roger Lapébie cycle path.
Economy: wine capital of the world (38 appellations: Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion, pauillac, sauternes, graves, médoc, saint-julien, moulis, pomerol, entre-deux-mers, agneau rosé, clairet, pessac-léognan, cadillac...) Gastronomy. Business tourism. Aeronautics and space (Dassault Aviation, ArianeGroup, Safran and Thales). Administration. Universities.    
Festivals: Wine festival, river festival. Climax Festival, Bordeaux Congo Square, Bordeaux Jazz Festival, Bordeaux Rock Festival, Festival Relâche, Escale du livre, Vinexpo. Pleasure fair.
Labels: Unesco World Heritage. French Tech. City and territory for bicycle tourism. Organic territory. Qualiville. Sustainable development ribbon.
Websites / social networks: / / / Facebook: Ville de Bordeaux / Instagram: villedebordeaux

Le jardin public et l'ancien monument du jardin botanique de la ville © ©Thomas Sanson
Une terrasse sur la place du Palais © ©Vincent Bengold
Rive droite de Bordeaux avec la place de la Bourse en fond © ©Thomas Sanson


With 81 stages, Bordeaux is, after Paris, the city that has hosted the Tour de France most often, but the race has shunned the capital of wine for thirteen years, since the last winner in town (a sprinter, as tradition dictates), was none other than the greatest of them all, Mark Cavendish. Before him, finishers like Rik van Looy, André Darrigade, Walter Godefroot, Marino Basso, Freddy Maertens, Jan Raas, Eric Vanderaerden, Jean-Paul van Poppel, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Tom Steels or Erik Zabel had also won here. For 86 years, from 1891, Bordeaux was also the starting point for the Bordeaux-Paris race, a unique 600 km classic that was run partly behind derny. The greatest riders, Henri Pélissier, François Faber, Ferdi Kübler, Louison Bobet, Jacques Anquetil, Jan Janssen, won it and some riders, such as Belgian Hermann van Springel, who won seven times, had made it their speciality. Bordeaux, the former home of a major Six Day race, also has a major velodrome, the Bordeaux-Lac Stadium, where the 1998 and 2006 track world championships were held and where Chris Boardman, Graeme Obree, Miguel Indurain and Tony Rominger took it in turns to set a world one-hour record in 1993 and 1994. Among Bordeaux-born cyclists feature two Tour stage winners, Francis Castaing in 1985 and Blel Kadri in 2014.

Blel Kadri, Vainqueur de l'étape 8 lors du Tour de France 2014 © A.S.O./Xavier Bourgois
Le Tour de France 1908 à Bordeaux © Pressesports/Collection Laget
Marc Cavendish, dernier vainqueur à Bordeaux lors du Tour de France 2010 © Pressesports/Mons


Unesco World Heritage
On 28 June 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed Bordeaux, Port of the Moon, on the World Heritage List as an outstanding urban ensemble. The distinction of this vast area of 1,810 hectares was a first. The Unesco World Heritage Committee had never before honoured an urban ensemble of this size. The area inscribed on the World Heritage List between the Garonne and the boulevards includes the Port de la Lune and extends from north to south along the river, from Quai de Bacalan to Quai de Paludate, including the docks and the stone bridge. It encompasses almost all of Bordeaux within the boulevards, with the exception of the area beyond Saint Jean station, between the railway tracks and Boulevard Jean-Jacques Bosc.  

Place de la Bourse
Construction: 1730 to 1755
Style: classic
Architects: Jacques Gabriel and Ange-Jacques Gabriel
History: Place de la Bourse was the first breach in the medieval ramparts and, as a royal square, was the first place to be built. It served as a sumptuous setting for the equestrian statue of French king Louis XV. Inaugurated in 1743, it was also a symbol of the city's prosperity, and its name has been adapted to different political regimes. Originally a Royal square under the Ancien Régime, it became Place de la Liberté during the Revolution, then Place Impériale under Napoleon I, Place Royale again with the Restoration of the monarchy, and finally, after the fall of Louis-Philippe in 1848, it took on its current name of Place de la Bourse.
Characteristics: the square is one of the most representative works of French classical architecture of the 18th century, and an outstanding example of the "Place Royale" (Royal Square). The following monuments can be found in the square: the Customs House, which houses the National Customs Museum, Palais de la Bourse, the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Architecture and Heritage Interpretation Centre, the Fountain of the Three Graces and the water mirror, the largest water mirror in the world (3,450 m2).
Listed as: Unesco World Heritage Site within Bordeaux, Port of the Moon.  

Customs House and National Customs Museum
Construction: 1735 to 1738
Style: neo-classical
Architect: Jacques Gabriel.
History: originally called Hôtel des Fermes du Roi, the building was designed specifically to house the Ferme Générale, a private company, the forerunner of the customs service under the monarchy, which collected duties and taxes on goods on behalf of the king. The building still houses the Bordeaux Interregional Customs Directorate. In 1984, the institution decided to install the first national customs museum in the former customs clearance hall on the ground floor.
Characteristics: the architecture is in the neoclassical style. The two pediments, representing Mercury promoting trade on the Garonne (on the quayside) and Minerva protecting the arts (on the square side), were created by Flemish decorator Jacques Verberckt, who also designed the so-called "freezing fountain" against the wall of the inner courtyard. The building is organised around a rectangular courtyard that received the goods before and after customs clearance, which took place in the large hall.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1914, then 1961 and 2020.   

Palais de la Bourse
Construction: 1742 to 1749
Style: neo-classical
Architect: Ange-Jacques Gabriel.
History: Palais de la Bourse is part of the architectural ensemble that is the Place de la Bourse. Architect Jacques Gabriel first designed the facades of the Hôtel des Fermes du Roi, then after his death in 1742, it was his son Ange-Jacques Gabriel who continued his work, under the stewardship of the Marquis de Tourny. When the building work was completed in 1749, the Bourse des Marchands (previously located on the Place du Palais), the Chamber of Commerce and the consular court were able to move into their new premises.
Current use: the Chamber of Commerce (CCI) and the Commercial Court are still located in the building. However, the Bordeaux stock exchange, as a stock exchange, closed down in 1990, like the other regional stock exchanges.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1916, then 1942.   

Grand Theatre
Built: 1780
Style: neo-classical.
Architect: Victor Louis.
History: commissioned by Marshal de Richelieu, Governor of Guyenne, it was inaugurated on 7 April 1780 with the performance of Athalie by Jean Racine.
Characteristics: inspired by Antiquity with its peristyle, the 88 x 47 metre neo-classical building is part of the opulent urbanism of Bordeaux inherited from the Age of Enlightenment. It houses an auditorium with a thousand seats, a perfect example of an Italian-style theatre. It has regained both its original blue, gold and white marble interior decoration during its last restoration in 1991 and its perspective as a temple of the muses with the development of Place de la Comédie and Cours du Chapeau-Rouge in 2006.
Current destination: the Grand-Théâtre is now the headquarters of the Bordeaux National Opera house, where it stages its opera and ballet seasons. It also hosted the symphonic concerts of the Bordeaux Aquitaine National Orchetsra before the opening of the Bordeaux Auditorium in 2013.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1899.   

Monument to the Girondins
Construction: 1894-1902
Architect: Henri Deverin.
History: envisaged as early as 1868, the project for a monument to the Girondin deputies who were victims of the Terror had great difficulty in being realised. At first it was entrusted to Auguste Bartholdi, whose project, judged too costly, became the fountain on the Place des Terreaux in Lyon. The monument was finally erected between 1894 and 1902 under the direction of architect Henri Deverin. It remained unfinished, however, as the busts of the eight Girondin deputies initially planned were never sculpted. 
Characteristics: it consists of a large base framed by two basins, decorated with horses and bronze groups, and surmounted by a 43-metre column where the bronze statue of Liberty breaking its chains culminates (at 54 metres high).
Listed as: Historical Monument since 2011.   

Cailhau Gate
Construction: 15th century
Style: Gothic
Characteristics: the Cailhau Gate stands on Place du Palais on the river side. Located between the mouths of the two main rivers of Bordeaux, the Peugue (Cours d'Alsace et Lorraine) and the Devèze (Rue de la Devise), it was the main entrance to the city from the port. It gave access to the Palais de l'Ombrière, residence of the Dukes of Guyenne, then seat of the Parliament of Bordeaux from 1462.
History: the original gate was located in the 14th century rampart. It was replaced by the present monument, built near the Garonne between 1493 and 1496. As luck would have it, at the end of the construction period, King Charles VIII won the Battle of Fornoue in 1495, during which the archbishop of Bordeaux, André d'Espinay, led a contingent. To celebrate this victory, the gate was dedicated to Charles VIII and decorated with his white marble statue, surrounded by Cardinal d'Espinay and St John the Baptist. The statue, broken in 1793, was replaced by a stone copy in 1880. The building was redesigned, notably by widening the bay in 1753-1754. But it was above all architect Charles Durand who restored it and cleared it of the adjoining buildings between 1880 and 1890.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1883.   

Saint Andrew's Cathedral
Construction: 12th to 16th century.
Style: Angevin Gothic.
History: It was consecrated on 1 May 1096 by Pope Urban II, on a tour to preach the First Crusade. It was rebuilt in the Gothic style from the 12th to the 16th century. Two royal weddings were celebrated in this church: in 1137, the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine, then aged fifteen, to the future Louis VII, King of the Franks; and in November 1615, the marriage of Anne of Austria, Infanta of Spain, to Louis XIII, King of France and Navarre.
Characteristics: it was under the pontificate of Clement V, former archbishop of Bordeaux, that the former Romanesque cathedral took on the appearance of a Gothic building. The choir and the radiating chapels were built in the 14th century. The facades of the transept arms were also built at this time. The bell tower, towers and spires of the southern transept were completed in the 15th century.  The cathedral is flanked by a 15th-century tower: the Pey-Berland tower, built by order of the archbishop of the same name.
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1862. Unesco World Heritage Site as part of the Pilgrimage Route to Santiago de Compostela.   

Rohan Palace (Hôtel de Ville)
Construction: 1771-1784
Style: neoclassical
Architect: Richard-François Bonfin
History: built for Archbishop Ferdinand-Maximilien-Mériadec, Prince of Rohan, between 1771 and 1784. Archbishop's palace until the Revolution, departmental palace then seat of the revolutionary court in 1791, prefecture palace in 1800, imperial palace of Napoleon I in 1808 and royal palace in 1815 under Louis XVIII, the Rohan palace became the town hall in 1835.
Characteristics: the complex is built in a monumental, sober and balanced neoclassical style. It is based on the configuration of private mansions "between courtyard and garden".
Listed as: Historical Monument since 1997.  

Wine city
Creation: 2016.
Characteristics: a flagship of Bordeaux wine tourism and the new totem of Bordeaux, the Cité du Vin has welcomed two million visitors since its opening in 2016. This place with its unique architecture reveals all the wealth and diversity of the world's wine industry. It has been ranked as the seventh largest museum in the world by National Geographic. The building, designed by architectural firm Anaka XTU, surprises with its rounded exterior and its 55-metre spire, which imposes its presence on the Bordeaux sky. The wooden vault of the torus is reminiscent of a ship's frame and the environmental impact of the building is controlled.
A special feature is that it also hosts temporary exhibitions, such as the Picasso exhibition in the summer of 2022. The spire allows you to taste the best wines with a panoramic view of the city.  

Pool of lights
Bassins des Lumières consists of four water basins, 110 m long, 22 m wide and 12 m high: 90 video projectors and 80 loudspeakers allow images to be projected onto 12,000 m2. Bassins des Lumières is the largest digital art centre in the world. It is three times the size of Carrières des Lumières in Les Baux-de-Provence and five times the size of Atelier des Lumières in Paris, two other sites managed by the Culturespaces company.

Cité Frugès (Le Corbusier)
Commissioned from architect Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris by his real name) by sugar industrialist Henry Frugès, who wanted to make Pessac a laboratory for the avant-garde, the housing estate is a complete break with the architecture of Bordeaux: strict geometric forms, concrete that has been worked on and left unfinished, panoramic terraces, bright colours. And when the 51 flats were delivered in 1926, the scandal was immediate.

La Cité Frugès © ©Guillaume Roustaing - Tourisme TV
Vue aérienne de la Cité du vin © ©Thomas Sanson
Le Palais Rohan © Getty/trabantos
View looking up at the north façade of the gothic Romanesque style Cathedrale Saint Andre in Bordeaux, Gironde Aquitaine, France © Getty/Jogn Abernethy
La Porte Cailhau © Getty/MarioGuti
Le Monument aux Girondins © ©Thomas Sanson
Le Grand Théâtre illuminé © ©gb27photo
Le Palais de la Bourse © Getty/Lisur
Le musée national des Douanes à Bordeaux, © Creative Commons 3.0/Dominique Repérant
Le miroir d'eau et la place de la Bourse © ©Alexander Demyanenkov
Le pont de Pierre © ©Vincent Bengold


Bordeaux cannelé
The cannelé, also written canelé, is a small cake in the shape of a fluted cylinder, with a soft and tender pastry, flavoured with rum and vanilla, and baked in a mould originally made of copper, which gives it a thin caramelised crust. The cannelé has no certain origin. Legend has it that it was invented in the Annonciades convent in Bordeaux, prepared by the nuns to feed the poor. The closure of the convent in 1791 is said to have led to a slow decline in the recipe, but it gradually reappeared from the early 1980s.

Les Cannelés bordelais © Getty/Eric Cowez

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