We had two hours on our most recent trip to Bordeaux, so not much of a tour, but I’d definitely go back. It’s a huge and slightly gritty city, with sprawling suburbs and industrial areas in every direction. The area around the old cathedral is “little Tangiers” and not very nice. The central area is lively and has good shopping, excellent food, good energy. 


  • **Basilique Saint-Michel + Belfry: mixed feelings about this place. It’s very dark inside, looks ancient and well-used, and a little mysterious. The Belfry has excellent views, and you can see the bells in action (worth waiting to see). There’s a dungeon in the basement with evocative signage. On my second, more recent visit, this just felt like where the local drug dealers like to hang out.
  • **Cathedral St-Andre: gigantic, attractive interior.
  • The **Musee d’Aquitaine is packed with top quality Roman artifacts (and a lot of other things), and deserves more time.
  • **Musée des Beaux-Arts: only half open on my visit (the older art). It’s a small, fairly good collection. I’d recommend only going if you can see the whole thing.

South of Bordeaux we found wine estate after wine estate, and had a very good lunch at **Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte (specifically La Table du Lavoir). This was an extremely posh experience, even for the “casual dining” restaurant.

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