Thought that this article that appeared in the Telegraph maybe interesting fror those of you planning a trip to Bordeaux.....
Kick off at the Tourist Office (12 Cours du XXX-Juillet) - an early coffee at the Café Napoleon III almost next door will put you in the right, wood-panelled frame-of-mind to tackle the Triangle-d’Or, Bordeaux’s show-piece centre. Here, colonial trading wealth ripped out medieval squalor to replace it with avenues, stately open space and neo-classical declarations of Bordeaux’s belief in the rightness of riches. It’s a stunning 18th-century ensemble which compels decorous behaviour. This is also where the posh shops cluster, so keep a tight grip on wife and credit card. And so, via the Place-des-Quinconces, to the riverfront, now a breathing space of greensward, promenades, rescued warehouses and conviviality. Walk upstream to the Palais-de-la-Bourse, the stock exchange in the days when merchants had wigs and standards, and expected splendour.
Lunch right here, at Le Gabriel (10 Place de la Bourse; 0556 300080, www.bordeaux-gabriel.fr). A two-course bistro midday meal costs €21.
Plunge into the ancient urban tangle of the St Pierre district directly behind. The message of fine old churches dissipates fast amid a throbbing warren of medieval streets and comely little squares, fringed with bars, restaurants and (especially on Rue Ste Cathérine) shops which normal people can afford.
You deserve dinner at Le Chapon Fin (5, Rue Montesquieu; 0556 791010, www.chapon-fin.com, menus from €60). The extraordinary interior-rockery décor has hosted presidents and divas and so is clearly right for you. Then wander back to the St Pierre district for a nightcap at any of several zillion bars. The baroque décor of La Comtesse (25 Rue-du-Parlement-St-Pierre) always suits me, though I’m twice the age of other customers.
Start south of the centre, before the 12th-century façade of Ste Croix church, on Place Renaudel. It’s a most pleasingly peaceful spot. There’s something medieval in the way flea markets, bric-à-brac and hallal butchers gather round the flamboyant Gothic church of St Michel and its free-standing spire.
Continue to Rue Rousselle, hub of the salt-fish trade. Sixteenth-century philosopher Montaigne lived at N°25. His dad was in pickled herring. Now up Cours Alsace-et-Lorraine to the magnificent St André cathedral and its independent tower, both built when the English ran Bordeaux (though we didn’t put the golden Virgin on top). The nearby Musée d’Aquitaine (20 Cours Pasteur, www.bordeaux.fr, free) has a superb historical collection, from the Romans through to today. If you visit only one museum in Bordeaux, this is it.
At the Bistro-du-Musée opposite the cathedral (37 Place Pey-Berland; 0556 529969, www.lebistrodumusee.com, two-course menu of the day, €13.50).
Amble to the riverfront and hop a tram downriver to the Chartrons district. First job: get the shopping out of your system in former riverside warehouses converted to shiny factory shops (www.quaidesmarques.com/bordeaux). Then explore the Chartrons. Seventeenth-century English, Irish and Flemish wine-merchants set up business here, outside the city walls, because city-fathers wouldn’t tolerate them in the centre. The district is now a mix of fine wine houses, narrow workers’ streets and bohemian overtones. Meanwhile, the Musée d’Art Contemporain (7 Rue Ferrère, www.capc-bordeaux.fr, €5) has everything, from the terrific to the incomprehensible, which you expect from good contemporary art museums.
Dine back towards the Ste Croix church in the tiny Rue Porte-de-la-Monnaie where chef Jean-Pierre Xiradikis has established an empire of five eateries, from a simple café-bar to top-of the range La Tupina. The latter has been bringing south-west farmhouse cooking into town for years (0556 491555, www.leportdelalune.com, dinner from €60). Then nip to the Quai-de-Paludate. At N°58, the Comptoir-de-Jazz is the mature choice for live music and a glass or two