The Bordeaux vineyard has a rich 2,000-year history and has always successfully combined tradition with innovation. This can be clearly seen in its landscape, where the acres of vines and iconic châteaux sit alongside masterpieces of modern architecture.
From modest vine huts to wine storerooms, cellars and the most prestigious châteaux, over the centuries viticulture has helped to shape a truly unique architectural heritage. The Bordeaux wine region has undergone an architectural revival in recent years, with numerous examples of modern architecture appearing on wine estates, ushering in a new golden age in the wine industry.
One such example can be found at Château Les Carmes Haut Brion, in the Graves and Sauternes wine region, a building designed by Philippe Starck and the architect Luc Arsène-Henry. The slender silhouette of this iconic building resembles an upturned boat and can be found in the estate’s grounds. Over in the Médoc, this maritime feel can also be found amidst the vines at Château de Beychevelle, where a stylish and elegant wine cellar, whose panes of glass, wooden masts and metallic ripples are a throwback to the estate’s seafaring heritage. Inside, the vat hall's design resembles the hold of a ship, evoking a sense of travel.
In Blaye and Bourg, the Maison des Vins de Bourg has also been inspired by this wave of modern architecture, constructing a new tasting room made entirely of glass. This minimalist extension overlooks the Gironde estuary and blends seamlessly with the old stone house and its underground cellar. A similarly respectful dialogue between the past and future can be found at Château de Prieuré Marquet, in the Saint-Émilion wine region. This refurbished charter house offers high-end accommodation and successfully combines the warmth of the 15th century stone and marquetry with decorative aspects fashioned by famous designers.
Another stunning architectural master-stroke can be found within the walls of Bordeaux itself, La Cité du Vin. Located alongside the Garonne, between the river and city, the very design of this majestic eight-storey building evokes the spirit of wine, with its bold curves and sparkling reflections. Like a lighthouse beside the water, it marks the entrance point to the wine region beyond.
Modern architecture has helped to shape the landscape across Nouvelle-Aquitaine and right in the heart of its capital. Your journey to discover these modern architectural masterpieces is only just beginning!