As a fine connoisseur of the city, the author of the book “Bordeaux secret et insolite” invites us to get to know the abundance of unsung historic sites and buildings in Bordeaux. Here’s an idea for a more exclusive, two-kilometre circuit that you can cover on foot or by tram!
This discovery tour of the hidden spots of the world’s wine capital begins on the banks of the Garonne. At the corner of Rue Ausone and Cours d'Alsace-et-Lorraine stands the jovial bust of Decimus Magnus Ausonius, better known simply as Ausonius. This poet and winemaker from Saint Émilion is said to have produced one of the most prestigious of all vintages, which still bears his name today.
You then need to go up Rue Ausone and dive into the charming little streets before reaching the Maison de Marie Brizard. Born in 1714, this iconic Bordeaux figure devoted her life to helping the poor and needy. One day Marie took in a sick sailor, who passed on the secret of an elixir that cured every ailment. After improving on the recipe, Marie began to make the famous anisette, designed to bring comfort to people suffering from anaemia. The anise-flavoured liqueur was hugely successful, and was even served at the court of Versailles!
Close by lies Maison de Cyprien Gaulon. Before this Bordeaux printer-cum-lithographer had the brilliant idea of creating the wine labels we’re all familiar with today, bottles were simply stamped or marked with coloured threads. Although this fabulous invention may seem by-the-by to us, it isn’t, since it led to the introduction of a commercial identity that authenticated the origins of the wines.
The celebrated Rue Sainte-Catherine next door isn’t just a shopaholic’s delight! History lovers walking down the street will be overjoyed to come across the vestiges of the Grands-Carmes convent. Although only two cross-ribs of the building remain today, the label of the Tête Noire vinegar made by the fathers of the order of Carmel is still fresh in the minds of the people of Bordeaux.
Four hundred meters further down on this same unmissable street, the Victoire climbing vine takes centre stage on the eponymous square. As a result of the great care bestowed on it by generations of neighbouring pharmacists, this real Bordeaux institution has seen the vine prosper and grow since the first century AD.
And it’s all thanks to Philippe Prévôt that Bordeaux opens up like never before!
Office de Tourisme et des Congrès de Bordeaux Métropole
12, cours du 30 juillet
Tel.: +33 (0)5 56 00 66 00