Bordeaux must see: La Cité du Vin

I haven’t had the chance to experience France outside Paris, so Bordeaux was a most welcoming surprise in terms of jaunting destinations. The city and the surrounding areas are truly remarkable. When I began processing all the pictures and information I gathered in a 4 day trip, I started to realize that Bordeaux deserves more than just one post. So, because of its uniqueness, I decided to start with the city’s newest landmarks: La Cité du Vin – a museum dedicated entirely to wine.

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The amazing architecture of Cité du Vin – Bordeaux, France

As we get older we tend to refine our taste in food, men/women, cars, music and of course drinks. We’ve all been there during college years… drinking questionable cheap alcohol that provided the most excruciating hangover the next day. Or tried horrible mixing ideas like red wine with cola!!! (Never done it, but so many have fallen to this vile combo).

Gone are those days and I am thankful for evolving past them. I can say my taste refined around a passion for wines, and lately more towards red wines. So there you go… the perfect set-up: a wine lover, in the world capital of wine, visiting a museum dedicated to wine.

Highlights of the exhibition

La Cité du Vin was opened in June 2016. The building was designed by architects Anouk Legendre and Nicholas Desmarzières and is portraying the way wine is swirling in a carafe… or maybe a gnarled vine stock. Hmm… I can’t decide. Anyway, from the outside to the finest details on the inside, this “citadel” dedicated to wine is the most amazing thing I have ever visited. And the technology is unbelievable. I felt like Tom Cruise in Minority Report, hovering my hands over all the digital tables.

The whole museum appeals to all of your 5 senses: sight, smell, touch, sound and of course taste. You could easily lose track of time learning and engaging in all the information available at the scan of a code.

The amount of information is staggering. Starting with all the grapevines, to all the wine types, how they are produced, how you should enjoy them and in what combinations. For example… Did you know there is this type of wine called “Ice Wine”? In order to make it you have to collect the grapes at -7°, when they are frozen on the vine. This makes the juices more concentrated and you obtain a very sweet dessert wine. Truth be told I’m not a fan of sweet wines, but that little piece of information was fascinating.

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Heard it through the grapevine

There is a whole section where you can “interact” with different wine makers from all over the world. You can find out their stories, their history and you can get a glimpse in to their passion for wine making. I’m not surprised that most of the wineries are family owned businesses passed down from generation to generation. A passion like this is something you cultivate.

You can go through history and experience wine from the ancient Greeks throughout the Renaissance and all the way to the modern age. This has to be one of the most fascinating and interactive history lessons I have ever listened and watched. The stories are brought to life with the help of some amazing and amusing hologram displays.

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Learn the history of wine with the help of hologram displays
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Wooden models of different French Châteaus

If you enter the Bacchus and Venus area, you will experience how painters, sculptors, writers, artists over the centuries, combined wine with the art of seduction, love and eroticism. No need to mention that this area of the museum is for 18+ visitors. I am mentioning the 18+ limit because, La Cité du Vin [despite being a wine museum] is kid friendly, especially with all the interactive gadgets.

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Discover, beyond the curtain, how wine combines with love and seduction in works of art

I saved my favorite part of the exhibition for last; here you get to play with images, colors, smells and sounds. You can test your ability to recognize different scents or pair different foods with wines, all in The Buffet of Senses.

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Test your abilities in the Buffet of senses

Having all your senses tickled, you cannot leave THE museum dedicated to wine without a tasting. In the price of the ticket you get the audio guide that you will use to scan every bit of information in the museum and a wine tasting at the bar on the top of the building. You can enjoy the glass of wine with a beautiful panoramic view of Bordeaux, the Garonne river and the new Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, the largest lift bridge in Europe.

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End La Cité du Vin tour with a wine tasting and a panoramic view of Bordeaux
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View from the top – Bordeaux from La Cité du Vin
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Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, longest vertical lift bridge in Europe

Before leaving, make sure you visit the world wine cellar located on the ground floor. They have a wide variety of wines from 70 countries around the globe, with prices ranging between 5€ to 50€. I was pleasantly surprised to find not one, but three Romanian wines and 2 Moldavian ones, among them one of my favorites.

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Romanian and Moldavian wines are present in La Cité du Vin

 

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Jaunting Tips

  • To get to La Cité du Vin, you can take tram line B or bus lines 7, 32, 45. The stop is named accordingly “La Cité du Vin”. I don’t recommend parking in Bordeaux. It is expensive. You should park on the outskirts of the city for as little as 4-5€ per day, and hop on the public transport.
  • Full price ticket is 20€ and includes the audio guide and the wine tasting at the end of the tour; discount options are available on site
  • Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • There are temporary exhibitions and several workshops organized throughout the year; prices and bookings are available on the official website: laciteduvin.com

23 Replies to “Bordeaux must see: La Cité du Vin”

  1. The architecture is so cool!! Having moved to France, my appreciation for wine grew tenfold. This museum is a must-visit for me, it seems!

    1. You will be amazed. It’s out of this world.

  2. Hahaha… I think you and I think alike! I absolutely adored La Cite du vin. My favorite was the interactive guides on the terroir and different winemaking regions towards the beginning of the exhibition. Totally geeky, but I found it useful and fascinating. I’m studying for my wine exam and this museum helped a lot.

    1. Best museum ever :)) I didn’t even know when 3h went by, and honestly I could have stayed 3 more.

  3. Such a neat experience! I don’t know much about wine, but I did have ice wine in Canada and loved it and I haven’t been able to find it near me!! Sounds like I need to get some in France!

    1. Before going to La Cite du Vin I had no idea ice wine was a thing. Like I said the amount of information is amazing. And it’s not boring. You should definitely take a trip there. You will be amazed. Hey keep following Jaunting Trips. I have 2 more posts coming about Bordeaux and the region. I have a few more interesting findings 😉

  4. I’ve never been to France but whenever I thought about it, Paris and the French riviera was all that came to mind. But now I’m going to add Bordeaux to the list as well.

    1. I know what you mean. I mean Paris is Paris. You’ll see in my next posts there is even more to Bordeaux and the region. I totally fell in love with it.

  5. I love this kind of architecture <3

  6. The architecture is purely amazing! I would definitely go to a wine museum. Bordeaux has been on my go-to lists for some time, so when I get a chance to go there, I will definitely visit this museum. Thanks for the tips!

  7. I have to admit I crossed Bordeaux already a few times, but I never took the time to explore the city. But I would not say no to wine tasting with a view 😉

    1. I am planning another post about Bordeaux. It really impressed me and like you said… who can refuse a wine tasting with a view 😉

  8. I live in Paris, but spent two weeks in Bordeaux last fall. The highlight was Cité du Vin. I had 1/2 a day in the museum, but it wasn’t enough. I’m seriously visiting again as a day trip, now that the train is less than 2 hours from Paris. It’s that good!

    1. Indeed amazing city, amazing museum. Check for plane tickets also… I went to Bordeaux from Paris and I found it was cheaper and faster with Air France than with the train :))

  9. I’ve never heard of this place before! Totally sounds like my kind of museum! The buffet of senses sounds like the coolest part of the museum; no wonder it was your favorite!

  10. What an amazing place to spend the day. And it’s something for kids and adults to enjoy together! So cool. The Buffet of Scents sounds like a real treat, I would love to check that out.

  11. This looks wonderful! We have this on our bucket list for sure!

  12. Wine and cola? I didn’t even know that was a thing. Doesn’t sound very tasty. I haven’t been to France yet, but I love wine and museums so Bordeaux would be a perfect destination for me.

    1. Red wine and cola is as awful as it sounds :))

  13. The one place besides Paris that I’ve always wanted to visit is Bordeaux. I recently got back from Paris so Bordeaux is next. I honestly don’t know much about wine but the ‘ice wine’ process sounds so fascinating. Can’t wait to visit!

    1. I hope to get my Bordeaux post up in time then 🙂 It really is a beautiful city. I just wish I had a little more time to spent there. And if you get the chance and can rent a car, drive around the area of Bordeaux. Not just the city. It’s amazing.

  14. What a fantastic museum and such stunning architecture. I love wine and would really enjoy this experience. I was in Bordeaux several years ago, and now that the museum is open, I think it’s time to visit again soon!! Great overview. Thanks for sharing.

  15. […] Opened in 2016, La Cité du Vin has to be the best museum in the world. First of all… it’s a museum dedicated entirely to wine. Second, in the price of the ticket you get to enjoy a wine tasting with an amazing panorama over the city. And last but not least, it is hands down the best experience you can have in a museum dedicated to all your five sense. I couldn’t resume myself to a paragraph so I decided to write an entire post about it. Check out all the interesting details and more photos in this post: Bordeaux must see: La Cité du Vin. […]

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