Allow us to introduce La Cité du Vin, a massive, visually stunning museum dedicated to all things vino, and in the most befitting of places – the heart of Bordeaux.
Though it just debuted in June, the wine lover’s paradise has already made a name for itself thanks to an instantly iconic design, courtesy of XTU architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières. The building’s striking exterior is meant to evoke “gnarled vine stock, wine swirling in a glass, [and] eddies on the Garonne,” by employing a nuanced design heavy on curves and reflective surfaces that trick the eye into perceiving perpetual movement. Sounds pretty cool, right?
Once inside the stunning space, visitors are implored to join wine-tasting sessions and educational wine courses and tours; eat a meal in one of their restaurants; take their time at the wine bar pouring more than 50 varieties of international wine; and refresh with chaise lounge-aided vineyard siestas.
Though the museum has much to see and do – there are 10 stories to explore – the space is really dominated by a more than 30,000-square-foot permanent exhibit with 20 multi-sensory themed areas, like, “Worlds of Wine” (how grape varieties have spread around the globe) and “The Metamorphoses of Wine” (all about the scientific process). And since we now live in a future foretold by The Jetsons, your guide isn’t a mere human, but a “travel companion.” That is, a tech-savvy tool fluent in eight languages that will guide you at your own pace.
You can also check out temporary exhibits – they have plans for two each year. Right now, you can pop into "Carte Blanche for photographer Isabelle Rozenbaum," a collection of 88 worksite prints that document La Cite du Vin's 36 months of construction from initial excavation to portraits of the patrons and architects.
Your tour of the collections winds its way down in the belvedere – 35 meters up, on the eighth floor of La Cité du Vin – with jaw-dropping 360 degree views of Bordeaux’s signature vineyards. Take a seat at the 30-foot-long oak counter, under a mammoth chandelier crafted from thousands of bottles, to sip on a selection of regional wines while any little ones you might be toting along can have their fun with a variety of virgin grape juices.
The good news keeps coming: entry to the permanent tour plus a tasting in the belvedere plus travel companion access is only €20, roughly $26 USD! And if once isn’t enough, season tickets are also an option...