La Cité du Vin

I made an error of judgment back home when I was planning this trip and only booked two nights in Bordeaux. I should have booked for three. Not only is our little apartment just a fantastic place to stay, but if we’d had an extra night booked we would have had time for a winery visit. Never mind, we have one booked for Florence in a couple of weeks from now. But in our short time here we’ve really enjoyed our walks around the town and along the river front.

This morning we took our time getting ready and walked past the cathedral and down to the river, then along the river to the boat ramp. The ramp is just adjacent to the spectacular Place de la Bourse and the large water mirror where we had seen so many people splashing about and engaging in other forms of recreation yesterday. This morning it was quite empty of people and there was no water in the water mirror.

Just before 10am we took a short boat ride to Bordeaux’s relatively new wine museum, La Cité du Vin. Our tickets got us into the Permanent Exhibition, which is a highly interactive exploratory environment where you can learn much about wine.

There are nineteen different stations in the museum. The first three cover wine regions of the world. We watched video clips, examined maps and photos and artefacts, and listened to winemakers from different world wine regions. From Australia, we listened to winemakers from Henschke, Lehmann’s and the Barossa region explain how soil and climate conditions contribute to the unique features of their wines. We did the same for a few other wine regions.

The other interactive sections cover From the Vine to the Glass, Wine and Civilisation, Wine and You, Wine and the Imagination, and Bordeaux. Some of the most interesting experiences allowed us to train our noses to identify different characteristic smells used to describe wines, such as floral, spicy, citrus, etc. We learnt how to differentiate different colours within white and red wine varieties, and how to identify different textures within wine. We were there for over four hours and there were still a few things we didn’t spend much time on. We left the exhibition and went up to the eighth floor to the Belvedere, where we each received a glass of wine of our choice. I had a Languedoc red and Marg had a sparkling Bordeaux. From the bar there were panoramic views of Bordeaux, though the building is quite some distance from what I find the most interesting part of the town, the old town, so there wasn’t a great deal to see from up there.

We stopped in at the museum’s cafe for a very late lunch and then caught the boat back into the heart of Bordeaux, and we walked slowly back to our apartment from there. It was quite hot now and there was water in the water mirror again. I found myself looking for the shaded side of the street and was well and truly ready to sit down and have a long rest when we got back to the apartment.

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