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Insider’s guide to Bordeaux city

The fourth generation to be involved with Château Haut-Bailly, Véronique Sanders has grown up with the city of Bordeaux as her playground. From gastronomy to music, the best views to the freshest markets, she shares with us her cultural highlights in her guide to Bordeaux city.

Bordeaux has always been recognised as one of the wine capitals of the world, so it makes sense that fine cuisine is never far away. What I love about our city is that, like its wines, there are restaurants for every occasion.

For me, if I am looking for a relaxed atmosphere I go to Gravelier for its modern cuisine and delicious menu du jour, or La Brasserie Bordelaise for its foie gras and fine grilled meats. For a special occasion I would recommend the Hotel St James, just outside the city at Bouliac, with its summer terrace offering a spectacular view of the city.

Other favourites of mine include L’Estacade on the right bank of the Garonne, looking across the river to the Place de la Bourse, La Tupina for the typicity of its regional cuisine, L’Univerre for its wine list, Le Petit Commerce for its selection of fresh fish, and of course, La Corniche, located south of the city for its spectacular view of Arcachon Bay and the Dune of Pyla, Europe’s tallest sand dune. These are some of my long-time favourites, but there are also many new and inventive restaurants opening in the city, like the Pressoir d’Argent or Le Gabriel, and Miles, with its contemporary cuisine and pleasant ambience. Garopapilles, a wine shop and restaurant, is the new project from our former chef, Tanguy Laviale, offering fine cuisine in an intimate setting.

I love to cook as well and I am always inspired by our many markets. The Capucins market in the St Michel district is open six days a week. Our chef, Jean-Charles Poinsot, goes each day to choose ingredients for his menus. There is also the Colbert market on Sundays where you can eat fresh oysters while sitting on the river bank of the Garonne, or the great traditional village market of Léognan on Saturdays located down the road from our château.

Shopping highlights

For those who love cheese, some of my favorite merchants include La Ronde des Fromages or Karine – the latter sells at the Capucins and Chartrons market. Anyone with a sweet tooth should go to the chocolate house Saunion or Sorbet d’Amour at the Place du Parlement for fresh ice cream and sorbet.

Bordeaux seems to have a wine shop on every corner, and my favourites – L’Intendant with its famous ‘Stairway to Heaven’, Badie, and La Vinothèque – are all found in the city centre. For a glass of wine, you can’t beat the view from the summer rooftop bar of the Grand Hotel which overlooks the historic Opera de Bordeaux.

For those looking to relax, drop by Any’teas next to Notre Dame on the passage Sarget, watch a movie at the Utopia Cinema, or walk through the city centre checking out the boutiques – the bookshop Mollat is one of my favourites. Or visit one of the city’s museums such as the CAPC or the Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Design, which is a beautiful hotel particulier from the 18th century.

Of course, along with wine and food comes music and I couldn’t let you go without mentioning the Grand Théatre, the oldest theatre in Europe. With its operas and ballets, it is also the home of the new concert hall, L’Auditorium.

Bordeaux is not only beautiful, it is fun!

See below for a map and list with contact details of Veronique’s top 23 places to visit in Bordeaux:

1 Restaurant Gravelier gravelier.fr
2 Brasserie Bordelaise brasserie-bordelaise.fr
3 Hotel Saint James saintjames-bouliac.com/en
4 L’Estacade estacade-restaurant.com
5 La Tupina latupina.com/en
6 L’Univerre univerre-restaurant.com
7 Le Petit Commerce +33 5 56 79 76 58
8 La Corniche lacoorniche-pyla.com
9 Pressoir d’Argent ghbordeaux.com/uk/le-pressoir-d-argent.php
10 Le Gabriel bordeaux-gabriel.fr
11 Miles en.restaurantmiles.com
12 Garopapilles garopapilles.com
13 La Ronde des Fromages larondedesfromages.com
14 Chocolaterie Saunion +33 5 56 48 05 75
15 Sorbet d’amour osorbetdamour.fr
16 L’Intendant +33 5 56 48 01 29
17 Badie www.badie.com
18 La Vinotheque vinotheque-bordeaux.com
19 Grand Hotel ghbordeaux.com
20 Mollat mollat.com
21 CAPC capc-bordeaux.fr
22 Le Musée des arts Décoratifs bordeaux.fr/p63910
23 Grand Theatre opera-bordeaux.com

Written by Véronique Sanders

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