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With its history and its beauty, Bordeaux, France is one of the best places to travel this year. In a 2013 survey, Bordeaux was ranked France’s second-favorite city, after Paris of course. Bordeaux has recently experienced a restaurant boom, adding to the charm of this lovely city. Here are a few things to do in Bordeaux, France:

  1. Place de la Bourse

The Place de la Bourse (Bourse Plaza), or the Place Royale, is one of the most beautiful squares in Bordeaux, and is an incredible example of late 18th-century Bordeaux architecture. In addition to the beauty of its architecture, another aspect that attracts tourists to the Place de la Bourse is the Miroir des Quais (The Quay Mirror) right across the street. This incredible water mirror is bound to leave you in awe. The best time to visit the Place de la Bourse is during the time when the sky is dark. The stunning contrast between the night sky and the illuminated buildings has made the Place de la Bourse one fo the most photographed places in Bordeaux.

2) Grand Theatre

The Grand Theatre is at the center of the Place de la Comédie, the ancient site of the Roman Forum and a hub of metropolitan life. Built in 1780, this theatre has become an icon of Bordeaux Classical architecture, attracting tourists from far and wide. Its lavish exterior has 12 colossal Corinthian columns as well as statues representing the muses. There are also statues of the goddesses Venus, Juno and Minerva. The interior is just as breathtaking, with stunning foyers and grand staircases. Some of the best performances to see at the Grand Theatre are those put on by the National Ballet of Bordeaux or by the National Orchestra.

3) Basilique Saint-Michel

Located on the Route of Santiago pilgrimage trail, the Basilique Saint-Michel is a perfect example of the “Rayonnant Gothic” style of architecture. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside the Cathedral of Saint Andrew and the Basilica of Saint Seurin. The Basilique Saint Michel took 200 years to build between the 14th and the 16th centuries. When you visit this magnificent structure, you can go to the top of the freestanding belfry and take in amazing panoramic views of the city. The quarter of Saint Michael that surrounds the Basilique is also a lovely place to take a stroll.

4) Musee d’Aquitaine

If the architecture hasn’t provided you with enough slices of history, you can visit the Musee d’Aquitaine to see a number of artifacts, such as the Laussel Venus, a 3rd-century statue of Hercules and Gallic gold coins from about the 2nd century BC. After visiting the Musee d’Aquitaine, you will have seen a number of objects from Bordeaux and the region of Aquitaine, some of which date back to prehistoric times. You can also see the 16th-century Montaigne’s tomb and the 13th-century figure of a knight of Curton.

Bordeaux is a charming city with history at every turn. While Paris is a must-visit, a trip to France is not complete without checking out the ancient beauty of Bordeaux.