) is a port
city in southwest France
, with one million inhabitants in its metropolitan area
at a 2008 estimate. It is the capital
of the Aquitaine region
, as well as the prefecture
of the Gironde department
. Its inhabitants are called Bordelais
The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, with a population of 1,200,000 inhabitants, is the fifth largest metropolitan area in France. The city is among the world's major wine industry centres. Bordeaux wine draws its name from the famous wine that has been produced in the region since the 8th century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century.
In the 1999 census, there were 215, 363 inhabitants in the city (commune
) of Bordeaux, and the 2005 census showed a significant increase, this figure reaching 230, 600 inhabitants. In 2007, there were 925, 000 inhabitants in the Communauté Urbaine de Bordeaux
and 1.2 Million in the Bordeaux Arcachon Libourne conurbation. Much of the population is French, but there are sizeable groups of Italians
and North Africans. The built-up area has grown swiftly in recent years and urban sprawl is now a problem.
Bordeaux is located near the European Atlantic
coast, in the southwest of France and in the north of the Aquitaine region. The city is built on a bend of the river Garonne
, and is thus divided into two parts: the right bank to the East and left bank in the West. Historically, the left bank is the more developed. In Bordeaux, the Garonne River
is accessible to ocean liners.
The left bank of the Garonne
where a large part of Bordeaux is located is a low-lying plain and often marshy.
Bordeaux has an oceanic climate
Winters are mild due to the prevalence of westerly winds from the Atlantic. Summers are long and warm due to the influence of the Bay of Biscay (surface temperature reaches 21-22°C). The average seasonal winter temperature is 6.53°C, although recent winters tend to be much above this. The average summer seasonal temperature is 19.51°C - once again every summer in the decade starting 2001 has been above this, including the record hottest summer of 2003 at 23.3°C.
|Average high °C (°F)
|| 9 (48)
|| 11 (52)
|| 14 (57)
|| 16 (61)
|| 19 (66)
|| 23 (73)
|| 26 (79)
|| 26 (79)
|| 23 (73)
|| 18 (64)
|| 13 (55)
|| 10 (50)
| Average low °C (°F)
|| 2 (36)
|| 3 (38)
|| 4 (39)
|| 6 (43)
|| 10 (50)
|| 13 (55)
|| 15 (59)
|| 15 (59)
|| 12 (54)
|| 9 (48)
|| 5 (41)
|| 3 (37)
|Average °C (°F)
|| 6 (43)
|| 7 (45)
|| 9 (48)
|| 11 (52)
|| 15 (59)
|| 18 (64)
|| 21 (70)
|| 21 (70)
|| 18 (64)
|| 14 (57)
|| 9 (48)
|| 7 (45)
|Average precipitation (mm)
|Source : The Weather Channel Météo France
Between 30,000 and 200,000 years ago the area of Bordeaux was inhabited by the Neanderthal Man
, whose remains have been found at a famous cave known as Pair-non-Pair, near Bourg sur Gironde, just north of Bordeaux.
In historical times, around 300 BC it was the settlement of a Celtic tribe, the Bituriges Vivisci, who named the town Burdigala, probably of Aquitainian origin. The name Bourde is still the name of a river south of the city. The city fell under Roman rule around 60 BC, its importance lying in the commerce of Tin and Lead towards Rome. Later it became capital of Roman Aquitaine, flourishing especially during the Severan dynasty (3rd century). In 276 it was sacked by the Vandals. Further ravage was brought by the same Vandals in 409, the Visigoths in 414 and the Franks in 498, beginning a period of obscurity for the city.
In the late sixth century, the city reemerged as the seat of a county and an archdiocese within the Merovingian kingdom of the Franks. The city fell into obscurity as royal power waned in southern Gaul in the late seventh century. The city was plundered by the troops of Abd er Rahman in 732, after he had defeated Duke Eudes and before he was killed during the Battle of Tours on October 10. Under the Carolingians were appointed a series of Counts of Bordeaux who served to defend the mouth of the Garonne from the Vikings. Eventually, the city was inherited by the Dukes of Gascony in the late tenth century.
From the 12th to the 15th century, Bordeaux regained importance as part of the English realm, following the marriage of Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine with the French-speaking Count Henri Plantagenet, born in Le Mans, who became, within months of their wedding, King Henry II of England. The city flourished, primarily due to wine trade, and the cathedral of St. André was built. It was also the capital of an independent state under Edward, the Black Prince (1362-1372), but in the end, after the Battle of Castillon (1453) it was annexed by France which extended its territory. The Château Trompette (Trumpet Castle) and the Fort du Hâ, built by Charles VII of France, were the symbols of the new domination, which however deprived the city of its richness by halting the wine commerce with England. In 1462 Bordeaux obtained a parliament, but regained importance only in the 16th century when it become a centre of distribution of sugar and slaves from West Indies along with the traditional wine.
Bordeaux adhered to the Fronde, being effectively annexed to the Kingdom of France only in 1653 when Louis XIV entered in the city.
The 18th century was the golden age of Bordeaux. Many downtown buildings (about 5,000), including those on the quays, are from this period. Victor Hugo found the town so beautiful he once said: "take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux". Baron Haussmann, a long-time prefect of Bordeaux, used Bordeaux's 18th century big-scale rebuilding as a model when he was asked by Emperor Napoleon III to transform a then still quasi-medieval Paris into a "modern" capital that would make France proud.
The French government was relocated from Paris to this city during World War II, when it became apparent that Paris would soon fall into German hands.
Bordeaux has about 117,000 hectares of vineyards
, 57 appellations, 9,000 wine-producing châteaux, 13,000 grape growers, 400 traders and sales of 14.5 billion euros annually. With an annual production of over 700 million bottles, Bordeaux produces large quantities of everyday wine as well as some of the most expensive wines in the world. Included among the latter are the area's five 'premier cru' (first growth
) red wines (four from Médoc and one, Chateau Haut-Brion, from Graves), established by the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855
The first growths are:
*In 1855 Mouton-Rothschild was ranked a Second Growth. In 1973 it was elevated to First Growth status.
Both red and white wines are made in Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux is called claret in the United Kingdom. Red wines are generally made from a blend of grapes, and may be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and, less commonly in recent years, Carmenere. White Bordeaux is made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle. Sauternes is a subregion of Graves known for its intensely sweet, white, dessert wines such as Château d'Yquem.
Because of the wine glut (wine lake), the price squeeze caused by increasingly strong international competition, and vine pull schemes, the number of growers has recently dropped from 14,000 and the area under vine has also decreased significantly.
The Laser Mégajoule
will be one of the most powerful lasers in the world, allowing fundamental research and the development of the lasers and plasmas technologies. This project, carried by the French Ministry of Defence, involves an investment of 2 billion euros. In 2009, the 600 experiments programmed each year with the Laser Mégajoule will begin. The "Road of the lasers", a major project of regional planning for the optical and lasers industries, will be born. Therefore, the area of Bordeaux will shelter the most important concentration of optical and laser experts in Europe.
20 000 people work for the aeronautic industry in Bordeaux. The city has some of the biggest companies including Dassault, EADS Sogerma, Snecma, Thales, SNPE, and others. The Dassault Falcon private jets are built there as well as the military aircraft Rafale and Mirage 2000, the A380 cockpit, the boosters of Ariane 5, and the M51 SLBM missile.
There is much tourism in the great city of Bordeaux centered around the city's wine making.
The port lies on the Atlantic ocean and the Gironde estuary. Almost 9 million tons of goods arrive and leave each year. The Port is a nice area to sit and relax, a good place to tour if ever visiting.
List of major companies in Bordeaux
This list includes both companies based in Bordeaux and outside companies with major operations in the city.
The university was created by the archbishop Pey Berland
and was abolished in 1793, during the French Revolution, before reappearing in 1808 with Napoleon I
. Bordeaux accommodates approximately 70,000 students on one of the largest campuses of Europe (235 ha)
The University of Bordeaux is divided into four:
- The University Bordeaux 1 (Physical sciences and Technologies), 10,693 students in 2002
- The University Bordeaux 2 (Medicine and Life sciences), 15,038 students in 2002
- The University Bordeaux 3 (Liberal Arts, Humanities, Languages), 14,785 students in 2002
- The University Bordeaux 4 (Law, Economy and Management). 12,556 students in 2002
Bordeaux has numerous public and private schools offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
Business and management schools:
- IUT Techniques de Commercialisation of Bordeaux (Business School)
- Bordeaux école de management (Bordeaux Management school)
- EBP International
- Institut des hautes études économiques et commerciales
- École de commerce européenne
- Institut d'études politiques de Bordeaux (Institute of political sciences)
- École nationale de la magistrature (National school for Magistrate)
- École du service de santé des armées
- École d'architecture et de paysage de Bordeaux
- École des beaux-arts de Bordeaux
- École française des attachés de presse et des professionels de la communication (EFAP)
- Conservatoire national des arts et métiers d'Aquitaine (CNAM)
Bordeaux is classified "City of Art and History". The city has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List
as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble"
Bordeaux is home to one of Europe's biggest 18th century architectural urban areas, making it a sought-after destination for tourists and cinema production crews. It stands out as one of the first French cities, after Nancy, to have entered an era of urbanism and metropolitan big scale projects, with the team Gabriel father and son, architects for King Louis XV, under the supervision of 2 intendants (Governors), first Mr. Dupre de Saint Maur then the Marquis (Marquess) de Tourny.
Main sights include:
- Esplanade des Quinconces
- Colonnes des Girondins
- Grand Théâtre
- Allées de Tourny
- Cours de l'Intendance
- Place du Chapelet
- Pont de Pierre
- Saint-André Cathedral, consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1096 . Of the Original Romanesque edifice only a wall in the nave remain. The Royal Gate is from the early 13th century, while the rest of the construction is mostly from the 14th-15th centuries.
- Tour Pey Berland (1440-1450), a massive, quadrangular tower annexed to the cathedral.
- Sainte-Croix Church (Church of the Holy Cross). It lies on the site of a 7th century abbey destroyed by the Saracens. Rebuilt under the Carolingians, it was again destroyed by the Normans in 845 and 864. It is annexed to a Benedictine abbey founded in the 7th century, and was built in the late 11th-early 12th centuries. The façade is in Romanesque style
- The Gothic basilica of Saint-Michel, constructed in the late 14th-15th centuries.
- Basilica of Saint-Seurin, the most ancient church in Bordeaux. It was built in the early 6th century on the site of a palaeochristian necropolis. It has an 11th century portico, while the apse and transept are from the following century. The 13th century nave has chapels from the 11th and the 14th centuries. The ancient crypt houses sepulchres of the Merovingian family.
- Palais Rohan (Exterior: )
- Palais Gallien, the remains of a late 2nd-century Roman amphitheatre
- Porte Cailhau
- La Grosse Cloche (15th century) is the second remaining gate of the Medieval walls. It was the belfry of the old Town Hall. It consists of two 40 m-high circular towers and a central bell tower housing a bell weighing 7,800&kg. The watch is from 1759.
- Eglise Saint-Eloi
- Place de la Bourse (1730-1775), designed by the Royal architect Jacques Ange Gabriel as landscape for an equestrian statue of Louis XV.
- Place du Parlement
- Place Saint-Pierre
- Rue Sainte-Catherine
Saint-André Cathedral, Saint-Michel Basilica and Saint-Seurin Basilica are part of the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.
- Musée des Beaux Arts
- Musée d'Aquitaine
- Musée des Arts Décoratifs
- Musée D'Histoire Naturelle
- Musée National des Doines
- French Cruiser Colbert
- Musée Goupil
- Casa de Goya
- Cap Sciences
- Centre Jean Moulin
Bordeaux has many shopping options. In the heart of Bordeaux is Rue Sainte-Catherine. This pedestrian only shopping street has 1.2 kilometers of shops, restaurants and cafes; it is also the longest shopping street in Europe. Rue Sainte-Catherine starts at Place de la Victoire and ends at Place de la Comedie by the opera house. The shops become progressively more upmarket as one moves towards Place de la Comedie and the nearby Cours de l'Intendance is where one finds the more exclusive shops and boutiques.
Bordeaux is also the first city in France to have created, in the 1980s, an architecture exhibition and research centre, Arc en rêve, still the most prestigious in France besides Paris IFA.
Bordeaux offers a large number of cinemas, theatres and is the home of the National Opera of Bordeaux. There are many music venues of varying capacity. The city also offers several festivals throughout the year.
These are the radio stations in Bordeaux.
- Wit FM: (pop, rock, dance music)
- Black Box: (Hip-Hop, R&B, Ragga, Funk, Soul, Disco)
- Radio Nova Sauvagine: (alternative music)
- Campus FM: (Alternative Music)
- RIG: (world music)
- La Clé des Ondes: (world music)
- TRG: (pop music)
- ARL: (world music)
- TV 7
- France 3 Aquitaine www.france3.fr
Bordeaux is an important road and motorway junction. The city is connected to Paris by the A10 motorway, with Lyon by the A89, with Toulouse by the A62, and with Spain by the A63. There is a 45 km ring road called the "Rocade" which is often very busy. The building of another ring road is under consideration.
Bordeaux has 4 road bridges that cross the Garonne, the Pont-de-Pierre built in the 1820s and 3 modern bridges built after 1960: the Pont Saint Jean, just south of the Pont de Pierre (both located downtown), the Pont d'Aquitaine, a suspended bridge downstream from downtown, and the Pont François Mitterrand, located upstream of downtown. These 2 bridges are part of the ring road around Bordeaux. There is also a steel railway bridge, built in the 1850s by Gustave Eiffel, and used daily by 100s, including the TGV, a very high speed train.
The main railway station
, the Gare St-Jean near the centre of the city, has 4 million passengers a year. It is served by the French national (SNCF
) railway's high speed train, the TGV
, that gets to Paris
in 3 hours, with connections to major European centres such as Lille
. The TGV
also serves Toulouse
from Bordeaux. A regular train service is provided to Nantes
. The Gare St-Jean is the major hub for regional trains (TER
) operated by the SNCF
Bordeaux is served by an international airport, Aéroport de Bordeaux Mérignac
, located 8km from the city centre in the suburban city of Mérignac
Trams, buses and boats
Bordeaux has an important public transport system called Tram et Bus de la CUB
(TBC). This company is run by the Connex group. The network consists of:
- 3 tram lines (A, B and C)
- 75 bus routes, all connected to the tramway network (from 1 to 96)
- 12 night bus routes (from S1 to S12)
- An electric bus shuttle in the city centre
- A boat shuttle on the Garonne river
This network is operated from 5am to 1am
There have been several plans for a subway network to be set up but they were given up for both geological and financial reasons. The tramway system was started in the autumn of 2000 and commenced service in December 2003, connecting Bordeaux with its suburban areas. It uses the APS technology, a brand new and exclusive cableless technology developed by French company Alstom and designed to preserve the aesthetic environment the tramway is surrounded by (although very controversial for its considerable cost of installation and maintenance, but also for the numerous technical problems that paralyzed the network for an unusually long time even if those problems have been resolved). At the same time many downtown streets and squares along the tramway lines became pedestrian areas, with limited access by cars.
The Stade Chaban-Delmas
is the largest stadium. It can host 35000 spectators.
There are two major sport teams in Bordeaux:
There is a 250 m wooden velodrome, Vélodrome du Lac, in Bordeaux which hosts international cycling competition in the form of UCI Track Cycling World Cup events.
Bordeaux was the birthplace of:
- Bertrand Andrieu (1761-1822), engraver
- Jean Anouilh (1910-1987), dramatist
- Yvonne Arnaud (1892-1958), actress
- Decimus Magnus Ausonius (c. 310-395), Roman poet and rhetorician
- François Bigot (1703-1788), last Intendant of New France
- René Clément (1913-1996), actor, director, writer
- Damia (1899-1978), singer
- Lili Damita (1901-1994), actress
- Danielle Darrieux (born 1917), actress
- Jacques Ellul (1912–1994), sociologist, theologian, Christian anarchist
- Eugène Goossens (1867-1958) conductor, violinist
- François Mauriac (1885-1970), writer, Nobel laureate
- Édouard Molinaro (born 1928), film director, producer
- Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), essayist
- Pierre Palmade (born 1968), actor, author
- St. Paulinus of Nola (354-431), educator, religious figure
- Georges Antoine Pons Rayet (1839–1906), astronomer, discoverer of the Wolf-Rayet stars, founder of the Bordeaux Observatory
- Richard II of England (1367- 1400)
- Pierre Rode (1774-1830), violinist
- Jean-Jacques Sempé (born 1932), cartoonist
- Florent Serra, tennis player
- Philippe Sollers, writer
Twin towns and partnerships
- Bristol, United Kingdom, since 1947
- Lima, Peru, since 1957
- Quebec City, Canada, since 1962
- Munich, Germany, since 1964
- Los Angeles, United States, since 1968
- Porto, Portugal, since 1978
- Fukuoka, Japan, since 1982
- Bilbao, Spain
- Madrid, Spain, since 1984
- Ashdod, Israel, since 1984
- Baku, Azerbaijan, since 1985
- Casablanca, Morocco, since 1988
- Wuhan, China, since 1998
- Oran, Algeria, since 2003
- Zahle, Lebanon, since 2006