The name of the fifth largest city in France aptly expresses its relationship to the landscape. Its a place which has been occupied for millenia given its position on the Garonne river and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The Romans called it Burdigala and were responsible for introducing that other important flowing liquid, wine, to the region and since those times, the city’s history and prosperity has been intimately linked with the wine trade.
It was due to that powerful and visionary woman, Aliénor d’Aquitaine, and her alliance with Henry Plantagenet who shortly after became king of England, that the wines of Bordeaux gained favour with the English people. Those full bodied yet easy to drink Clarets in particular were a favourite and to honour this predilection of his subjects, the king established “Bordeaux wines privilege” so that wines from other regions were heavily taxed and excluded from centering the city lest they sully the area’s magnificent product’s .
As I left the museum after a mini wine tasting at 10.30 in the morning I walked down to the Quai to clear my head and appreciate the magnificent Garonne river which flows through the city. As I walked back through the public gardens I caught a welcome spray from the fountain, just enough to cool me down on a day set to reach 35 degrees.