The One Place You Should Visit In Bordeaux: La Cité du Vin

La Cite du Vin
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When you think of Bordeaux, France you might immediately think of wine. If you do, then you should also seriously consider visiting La Cité du Vin, a wine museum that is far from the “stuffy”, boring museums that you might be used to. It’s literally hands-on, interactive, and fun for adults and children. Oh, did I forget to mention? There’s wine tasting at the end of your visit, too!

La Cité du Vin Recently Unveiled

Inside La Cite du Vin
Inside La Cite du Vin

In June, 2016 Bordeaux unveiled this large, curved museum which was designed by architects Anouk Legendre and Nicholas Desmarzières from XTU, Paris. The complex has incorporated inventive, multi-sensory ways to get visitors to learn about wine history, culture, and wine making from around the world. The latest technology and visual effects are used in the displays throughout the 20 themed areas. This permanent exhibit space covers a large area and one is free to explore the museum at one’s own pace. 

As a result of my January visit, I offer some advice for those who might consider visiting it.

Inside La Cite du Vin
Inside La Cite du Vin

It was a bit confusing where to go after the ticket counter. They need better signage and the brochure you are given has incredibly small print and not a lot of detail. Just head up the stairs to the second floor. This is where you will get your interactive audio guide (it’s like an iPod) and headphones.

  • It is available in 8 languages and when you are at an exhibit, you hold your device against it to sync it via bluetooth.
  • The audio will start to talk about the display.
  • There is no set plan to follow. You can wander around to what ever exhibits look interesting.

Here are some of my favourites:

The World Wine Tour (Le Tour du Monde des Vignobles)

There are large screens which give aerial views of the different wine regions around the world. The cinematography is excellent. I suggest you start here and then wander around.

The Terroir Table (La Table Des Terroirs)

La Table des Terroirs at La Cite du Vin
La Table des Terroirs at La Cite du Vin

In this area one can watch videos of those involved in wine production from the wine makers to the exporters. You’ll learn about the tradition, soils, and history of wine making.

Buffet Of The Five Senses (Le Buffet Des 5 Sens)

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This was perhaps my favourite area because it was hands-on and fascinating. You basically are using your senses (especially smelling) to learn about wine and its characteristics. Children would especially like this interactive exhibit.

The Art Of Living (Tout Un Art De Vivre)

The Art Of Living (Tout Un Art De Vivre) at La Cite du Vin
The Art Of Living (Tout Un Art De Vivre) at La Cite du Vin

What a creative endeavour using technology! Picture a dining table and one of the guests is a chef discussing the art of French gastronomy. It’s like they’re sitting right across from you!

The Trend Wall (Le Mur Des Tendances)

Wine is now a trendy product and this display shows some of the latest trends in wine making and wine culture. Personally, I loved the little Citroen 2CV (just like my website’s logo) in the bottle.

All Aboard (À Bord)

All Aboard is another creatively done audio-visual exhibit where you are a passenger on a merchant ship in the 14th century, 17th century, and 18th century.

Next Stop: The Belvedère

The Belvedère La Cite du Vin
The Belvedère

On the 8th floor, you can choose to taste a glass of wine from one of many regions in the world. I, of course, chose France. Walk around on the perimeter to get a panoramic view of Bordeaux.

After Your Visit

Wine Cellar at La Cite du Vin
Wine Cellar at La Cite du Vin

Take a peek into the wine cellar and boutique on the ground floor. Both have interesting finds. In addition to the Permanent Exhibit, there are also documentaries and temporary exhibits and “Discovery” workshops such as one where you learn about wine tasting. The cost varies from 15-25 Euros.

While I have visited and written about a fun wine museum in Paris called Les Caves du Louvre (Wine Experiences For The Senses ) , La Cité du Vin is much bigger and much more interactive. So, if you’re in or near Bordeaux, I highly suggest you make a visit here. It will be worth your while.

La Cité du Vin Information

Ground Floor (Rez-de-chaussée): buy tickets here (although I bought mine online). It also has a boutique, wine cellar, and wine bar

First Floor: Auditorium, lecture hall, temporary exhibits and a reading room.

Second Floor: Permanent Exhibition. This is where you want to go. It has the displays and hands-on activities. Begin by picking up your free interactive audio guide.

Seventh Floor: “Le 7 Panoramic Restaurant” has over 500 wines and views of Bordeaux

Eighth Floor: Belvedère-has 360 degree views of Bordeaux and your end-of-tour wine tasting.

Website: http://www.laciteduvin.com/en

Address: 134 Quai de Bacalan, Bordeaux

Admission to the permanent exhibit (as of 2017): 20 Euros

Guided tours: 8 Euros

How to get to La Cité du Vin:

  • Tram Line B: from the main area of Bordeaux. It stops 1 block away from the museum, or
  • Batcub (River Shuttle):  the museum is one of its stops

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16 Comments

  1. An interactive wine museum? Sign me up! I do think “wine” when I think of Bordeaux and would love a visit to La Cite du Vin. Love the creative exhibits, particularly “The Art of Living”. Very cool.

  2. One of my favorite firsts when we arrived in Portugal was seeing the many vineyards although we have yet to see a harvest. I think a visit to the museum, La Cite du Vin, would be fascinating and especially loved your photo with all the wine bottles suspended from the ceiling. And, not only are you entertained and have an opportunity to learn something, you get to sample some of the libations at the end. Sounds like fun!

    1. The Belvedere with all he hanging bottles was certainly a sight to see. Really creative. It was a fun experience attending this museum.

  3. Thanks for publicizing this new wine museum in Bordeaux. Looking at your photos, I am not sure what to think of the ultra modern look of the place, but we will most certainly try to make time for a visit on our next trip.

  4. The architecture of La Cite du Vin wine museum looks amazing! Bordeaux is one spot in France that I seem to keep missing, but when I get there, I’ll definitely have to see this museum!

    1. For years I didn’t even consider visiting Bordeaux and now I realize I was missing a lot, not just because of this museum. It’s a beautiful city.

  5. What an interesting design! I’d probably be tempted to head to that tasting room and spend all my time there but have to admit the other floors looked mighty interesting as well!

    1. And you’re SO close! If I lived in England I’d be visiting all the time. Come to think of it, I’d probably LIVE in France!

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