Dubbed the ‘Pearl of the Aquitaine’, Bordeaux is a blissful mix of sophisticated city and bucolic countryside: historical architecture and hip modern culture, briny river waters and sandy shores, fragrant pine forests and sprawling vineyards. A wander through the city centre will take you past lacy-spired Gothic cathedrals and basilicas, through ancient cobbled alleyways and atmospheric squares dotted with sidewalk cafes, and along the walled banks of the mighty Garonne River. If retail therapy is what you are after, head to Avenue Saint-Catherine, France’s longest pedestrian boulevard, stretching for over a kilometre and lined with stores of all description, from exclusive boutiques to major department stores. And of course, don’t leave town without taking a tour of the wine estates dotting the city’s surrounds, where you can sample the region’s world-famous vino.

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