The prototype for Paris

Yes, there was a model to follow when Baron Haussman was asked by Emperor Napoleon III to transform a then still quasi-medieval Paris into a “modern” capital that would make France proud. Bordeaux was that model, as it had been mostly renovated in the 18th century, though some of its older past remains.

Thanks to a thorough cleaning project that took place in the last 20 years, the wonderful buildings that create a uniform facade as one enters the city plus a complete rethink of the riverfront, there is now a wonderful face to this historic town. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and will continue to be well-preserved.

The port that made this city’s fortunes now welcomes huge cruise ships, and the rougher stuff has been relegated to a series of smaller ports not visible from the town.

The city is so clean that it almost looks brand new, but that doesn’t detract from its charm. It is a lovely walking city with a massive cathedral, dedicated to Saint-André.

The history of Bordeaux is fascinating, but well beyond my reach to recount.  Just know that names like Eleanor of Aquitane, her husband, Henry II of England, Edward, the Black Prince, and Richard the Lionhearted all have connections to Bordeaux, and caused it to be ruled by England for 300 years. Good for the wine trade!

Speaking of which, we are going on a wine tour here tomorrow, so we can really focus on what this city and this region are all about. So much to know; so much to drink!

As a side note, while we are loving our current gîte and its extremely hospitable hosts, we are experiencing “wee-fee” issues there; hence some delays in posting. But isn’t it cute?


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