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Bordeaux's La Cité du Vin

Bordeaux's new La Cité du Vin is a £70m riverfront museum entirely dedicated to the art of viticulture. What better excuse to visit the French wine capital?

Published 27 Aug 2016, 09:00 BST, Updated 7 Jul 2021, 15:16 BST
La Cité du Vin
La Cité du Vin.

A vintage bore?
Banish all thoughts of dusty old grape presses and tastings hosted by farmers who are too tanked to pour straight. This is like no other wine museum: a curvaceous aluminium-and-glass theme park of viticulture that looks like it's designed by Frank Gehry (it's not), packed with more shiny state-of-the-art interactive gadgetry than every other science museum in France put together. It's telling that director Philippe Massol has been poached not from a leading wine estate but from the Futuroscope theme park in Poitiers. Even if you're not a booze hound, this is worth a visit.

Sip it & see
There are 20 different themed areas within a massive permanent exhibition space, exploring the history, culture and impact of wine, with what's pegged as 'immersive and sensory' experiences. In short: this is a museum that you don't need to dutifully rush around before earning time at the bar. The shop alone, a vast, barrel-shaped space, houses 800 wines (200 of them from France), and three tasting rooms offer the chance to indulge all five senses. As yet, however, that doesn't include the chance to bathe in the stuff. Surely a Spa is to come?

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Published in the September 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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