La Cité du Vin gives you an immersive, multi-sensory tour of the wine world
Bordeaux is the undisputed capital city of the wine world, and with La Cité du Vin the city reaffirms its status as the world’s top destinations wine lovers. Open since June 2016, La Cité du Vin is the only cultural center in the world offering an approach to wine to a wide audience. It will certainly also attract attention thanks to it’s wonderfully audacious architecture and exposition space inside.
The Permanent Tour
The permanent tour consists of 19 stations, or themed spaces, where you can easily spend half a day learning about absolutely every aspect of wine-making, around the world, in France and in the Bordeaux regions. Some of the stations are passive in the sense that you sit down, watch and listen, but there are also hands-on themes such as the one about “everyday-smells” where you learn to distinguish and familiarize yourself with quite common smells.
The expert “trick” seems to be to memorize or to keep a vocabulary of typical smells, and more importantly common tastes, and then articulate these impressions when you enjoy a glass of wine, or whenever you want to impress your friends. One thing is certain, if you are not already an expert, you will definitely get a flying start at la Cité du Vin.
NB! Try to be there at least 2-3 hours before closing time in order to get the maximum out of the visit.
An Architectural Signature
La Cité du Vin’s innovative and original architecture gives it a unique identity. Designed by the architects of the agency XTU, Anouk Legendre and Nicolas, its form is reminiscent of a gnarled vine, or perhaps the movement or swirl of the wine in a glass, or the flow of the Garonne river.
The architecture aims to evoke the soul of the wine and the liquid element. This creates a link with the river, the port and the industrial space that surrounds it, and it gives the impression of a perpetual movement thanks to its round shapes and surface reflections.
Its 13,350 m² spread over 10 levels are based on foundations consisting of 300 piles, 50 to 120 cm in diameter planted in the ground, seeking an anchorage in hard rock 30 meters down. The frame of the lower part of the building is composed of 574 arches made from Nordic spruce and French Douglas fir.
This emblematic building attracts attention not only by its curves but also by its skin with its iridescent effects. 2500 silkscreened aluminum panels and 900 perforated glass panels cover the building, which rises to 55 meters in height.
Beautiful and Tasty
La Cité du Vin is a curiosity to discover both for its cultural content but also for the gastronomic experience and the beauties it offers, from the outside as well as on the inside. In addition to the temporary exhibitions, the Cité has a panoramic restaurant on the 7th floor, with a wine list of more than 500 labels, and a wine bar with more than 50 wine references by the glass. The building houses a cellar representing 88 countries through more than 10,000 bottles.
The final stage of the journey of the wine world is located 35 meters up, at the Belvedere on the 8th floor, where the 360° panorama embraces the Girondine city, the Port of the Moon and vineyards in the distance.
La Cité du Vin
Photos by Asgeir Pedersen, Spots France