Interview with Nicolas Martin director of the Bordeaux Tourist Office
In the last five years, the number of river boat cruises in Bordeaux has risen from 0 to 7, and even more contracts are set to be signed in the next few years. Viking, Uniworld, and CroisiEurope are all part of these companies responsible for sending more and more American cruise-goers.
Atout France: If you only had 24 hours in and around Bordeaux, where would you stop to eat and drink?
Nicolas Martin: One day in Bordeaux… it’s short, I would’ve given you a whole list of addresses!
Today, the major must-see in Bordeaux is the Cité du Vin. I have a bit of a soft spot for their Le 7 restaurant, which gives a magnificent panoramic view of Bordeaux and serves high-quality cuisine. The Cité du Vin also has its own wine bar on the first floor, facing the Garonne River, which allows quick service in a modern setting – ideal for groups.
You can also find loads of great places in Vieux Bordeaux. For example, I have a weakness for new fusion cuisine. You know, Bordeaux is one of the oldest ports in the world, at the convergence of influences from all over the world. Restaurants like Le Miles or Le Dan, for instance, are very representative of this new cuisine. The chefs are from Israel, New Caledonia, Vietnam, Japan, France, Hong Kong, and so on.
For a more well-to-do audience, I’d also advise a visit to our Michelin-starred addresses, like La Grande Maison, Le Pressoir d'argent at the Hôtel InterContinental, and their renowned chefs, Pierre Gagnaire and Gordon Ramsay. But Bordeaux brings together even more big names in French cuisine.
Atout France: What is special and unique about cruising in the area?
Nicolas Martin: What is absolutely unique in this region is the wine and historic heritage. The entire city center of Bordeaux is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, and the city is surrounded by the most famous vineyards in the world.
In just a few days’ visit, Bordeaux offers you the ability to experience France’s true art de vivre and extremely rich heritage and history: a gala dinner in one of our famous vineyards (Médoc, Saint Émilion, Margaux, Cheval-Blanc, and so on), a visit on the Garonne, and a stroll to the Place de la Bourse dating back to the eighteenth century.
For visitors interested in the new urban districts, the Darwin neighborhood on the Rive Droite of the Garonne has become the new “plugged in,” trendy part of Bordeaux. The neighborhood was built around an old military barracks converted to a new co-working space and a breeding tank for startups, which also welcomes lots of cool “hipster” restaurants.
For visitors who wish to discover more classic sites, Bordeaux has – in my opinion – a really magical place: The Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute. This private museum brings together unique collections of the world’s most well-known contemporary artists and street art in the wonderful setting of an old eighteenth century hôtel particulier. Even better, the Institute sits directly in front of the Pierre Gagnaire restaurant!
Atout France: Describe your favorite landscape in Aquitaine (visible from the barge if possible)?
Nicolas Martin: Sailing up towards the sources of the Garonne can give the impression of being in the Amazon rainforests, giving magnificent natural landscapes! There are no houses, only forests on the edge of the water, vineyards, etc. Arrival in Bordeaux is especially spectacular when the Chaban Delmas Bridge is raised.
- Nicolas Martin: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Thibault Lemierre (Wine Tourism Project Manager): email@example.com / +33 (0)5 56 00 06 16