Destination Photo of the Week: Cruising into Bordeaux, France

by Janis on May 25, 2011

The Prinsendam docked on the Garonne River in Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux, port city built on a bend in the Garonne River in southwest France, is synonymous with the world’s most famous wine.   

Founded by the Romans during the 3rd century BC, Bordeaux is one of the oldest cities in France.

England ruled the city between 1154 and 1453. UNESCO recognized the city as a World Heritage Site in 2007.

The 230,000 residents of the city of Bordeaux are called Bordelais.

Bordeaux wine dates to the eighth century.

Most of the Bordeaux wine grapes grow in the Garonne Valley and along the banks of the Gironde estuary.  The 38-mile-long Gironde runs from the open sea of the Atlantic Ocean to the meeting point of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, just north of the city center of Bordeaux.  

The Gironde estuary (often mistakenly referred to as a river) possesses strong tidal currents and requires great care when navigating the by any type of ocean-going vessel.

Bordeaux by cruise ship

We visited Bordeaux onboard Holland America Line’s ms Prinsendam on an 11-day Heart of Bordeaux cruise from Lisbon to Amsterdam. The Prinsendam, also known as the “elegant explorer“ sails unique itineraries since its intimate size allows it into smaller ports like Bordeaux.

This city is known for its food and wine.   

Our cruise itinerary included an overnight stay in Bordeaux, allowing plenty of time for exploring the city, taking a tasting tour of leading wine producers, and a special dinner on our own at la Tupina, one of the city’s top-rated restaurants.

We found the best deals on Bordeaux wines at the Monoprix department store/grocery store.  As we surveyed the large and somewhat overwhelming wine selection, we noticed which wines the locals were buying.  Following their lead, we selected three bottles of Bordeaux wine that were priced between 8 and 9 Euros each.

They were perfect both for dinner back on the ship and to carry home, offering fabulous values compared to buying similar quality Bordeaux in the United States.  

We love exploring new destinations, especially those involving wine and/or water.  What’s your favorite wine destination discovery?

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