Best Of Bordeaux Week – Architecture Porn

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The first time I ever visited Bordeaux was about 3 years ago. I just remember it being a beautiful place, with the sun gleaming off the yellow stone of the various Châteaux in the countryside and the façades of the buildings in downtown Bordeaux city. Apparently though, and it’s hard for me to really get a grasp on this, it used to look like a dump!

What is it now? About 10 years since Alain Juppé become Mayor of Bordeaux? When he came along most of Bordeaux’s beautiful city centre buildings were black, encased in hundreds of years of soot and pollution from the busy city. Legislation through a little bit of stick and carrot negotiating put the incentive on people to clean their own places up. To get the masons out and scrub them down. The result has left Bordeaux in more “top city destinations” lists than you can shake a stick at.

Even the Chateaux in the countryside had left something to be desired. Bordeaux wines at the top end had always been well made and fetched top dollar, but some of the buildings and wineries were being left to rot. It’s guys and girls like Bernard Magrez, Jack Ma, and Clément Fayat who have bought these sleeping beauties and restored them to former glories. Ok, a fair few quid went into restoration, so they expect a fair few quid out at some point, but the increase in the tourism dollar from the on site hotels and wine tours should reap some hefty rewards.

On top of restoring the old, they’re adding the new. The glorious looking “swirl in a glass” design of the Cité Du Vin fits in perfectly on the river bank. Right alongside it is the majesty of the new bridge that has opened up both sides of that end of the city for massive redevelopment and also the inward waters of Bordeaux for river tourism once again.

It all just looks so great, it really does.

Cheers


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