I couldn’t get better time to visit Bordeaux, it was a full week of heatwave. It wasn’t easy to stroll in the street under 38-40 degrees despite the charm of the rive gauche city centre. I was equipped with long sleeve linen shirt, linen short, my wide hat, a bottle of water, evian face spray, and sun block cream. Still it was highly recommended (even by government, announced everywhere repeatedly) to stay indoor. Go inside people, hide yourself under the big tree, turn on the fan or get the air con!
So, besides staying long time for the trip with the tram (it’s cooled), I just did what a girl gotta do in Bordeaux, learning wine! I went to Cité du Vin, situated a bit far from the center, just across the Garonne river. Accessible with tram line B, it took only around 15-20 min from the center.
The building is facing the Garonne, and looks so modern, with half rolled up till the belvedère (observatory). I was having a light heat stroke while getting off the tram, I thought I saw a big testicle hanging in front of the bridge…
Well, anyway it is contemporarily sophisticated and cooled inside.
There was a long queue, but luckily there were only 2 people in front of me at the payment machine. Hoora!
Entrance fee is 20 euros for everything, including the paid exhibition and wine tasting at the 8th floor. And to be honest, if you really like wine, and wish to learn a bit in an interactive way, that was worth it. I spent almost 3 hours there, and tried every single interactive map to learn the history of wine, the wine route, wine season etc. you just tap your hand on the map and choose the subject you want to know.
There are some “loopholes” to see how the grape is being fermented, the process in the cellar, and we got to compose our own bottle. There are also some giant bottle cabin to see the fermentation of each grape, whether for rosé, red wine, red wine, champagne, where the bubbles are different. You can also practice the smell, by smelling some aromas to be sensitive to aromas brought by wine. From smelling old paper, fruits, coffee, flowers, wood….you train your smell to later explain and analyze the wine. A good connoisseur knows the wine label (where it was planted, the soil, crop, harvest time…) by just smelling and see the color.
My fave section was the interactive table, where you can learn how to dress the table à la française, along with the wines, of course, with the interactive interview with big famous chefs. The 3D interactive tools are really cool and really help in understanding stuff!
At the end, there was a section where you test your knowledge on wine….it’s like an exam!!
But after that, it was rewarding part. I went up to 8th floor, the belvedere part, where you can have 360 degree view on Garonne and city, with of course, a glass of wine of your choice in your hand! 🙂 I choose the red wine of 2010 from Pomerol (very very good year for Bordeaux wine), soooo good.
It was around 5 pm when I left the building, and once I stepped my feet outside, I felt like going inside and paying another 20 euros just to cuddle with big bottle of wine in the air con rooms (If I didn’t remember that I had table reservation and needed to shower before going..).
Anyway, it worth it (for me, at least). If you come in family with kids, I think they’ll have same fun, well try out your senses could be amusing for all ages, though. Except that they are not allowed to have wine tasting, that’s the less intersting part I guess….hehehehe