In 2023, the Cité du Vin in the gorgeous city of Bordeaux, France celebrates its 7th anniversary. While its delightful and varied wine-focused exhibitions have entertained and educated wine lovers from France and around the world, this year the swirly Bordeaux landmark is reinventing itself again, with updated interactive exhibitions and new tasting experiences that invite you to sip what’s new at La Cité du Vin. We were among the happy few who were able to check it out. Here’s what to savour on your next visit.
An Amusement Park For Wine Lovers
It was a sunny and cold morning when we got there. We were once again struck by the elegance of the bold architecture of this modern building. Its unusual shape was inspired by the movement of wine swirling in a glass and s the result of a fruitful Franco-British collaboration between two architecture firms. The building is today one of Bordeaux’s most visible and eye-catching landmarks. Its arrival on the Bordeaux landscape definitely played a major role in the rehabilitation of Bacalan, a former industrial area that is today full of trendy bars, restaurants, hotels and other cultural spaces.
The interactive exhibits at Cité du Vin
Through digital and interactive technologies such as touch screens, sensory tables, music, videos, and more, visitors are invited along an interactive journey through the world of wine. The permanent exhibition takes place on the second floor, where an audio guide is essential to enjoying the experience as there is a lot to watch and listen throughout the exhibition. Contrary to what many assume, the Cité du Vin isn’t focused on Bordeaux-only wine, although the hometown elixir does make an appearance. The Cité du Vin actually considers itself a world wine museum, and visitors get to relive the great adventure of winemaking in regions in the world, while leaning about wine history, landscape, trade and culture, grape varietals and more.
Eighteen sections make up the exhibit. Whatever your age or background, you can personalise your visit using your personal visit companion. The handset has a touch screen and an earphone. After choosing one of the nine proposed languages, you can opt for a theme visit of your choice or follow the main circuit. A WIFI connection automatically connects your device in each of the 18 spaces, which then interacting with other devices on the route through this impressive wine museum.
Touch, listen and learn all about wine at La Cité du Vin
You’ll be invited to touch, smell, and listen to expert interviews. A 360-degree omnidirectional screen will teach you plenty about the world of wine. You’ll learn about past wine civilizations and discover vineyards and wine growing regions around the world. You’ll understand what it’s like to be wine grower, how and why a vine stock grows, about different varieties through the globe. Your nose will be put to work at the Buffet of Five Senses”, where you can discover different wine perfumes and aromas. Recently added is the Dinner Table with a stunning visual art immersive display
You’ll even get some practical tips such as the best ways to serve, drink and enjoy wine. After the 90-minute visit, feel free to invite your friends over for a wine tasting. You’ll be ready.
Wine + Views
The visit ends with a trip up to the 8th floor, aka The Belvedere and the wine tasting space of the Cité du Vin. The wine tasting is included in your entrance ticket and you will have one glass of a wine of your choice, which you can enjoy with a bird’s eye view of Bordeaux from the balcony.
Sommeliers help make choices among a selection of wines from about fifty different international vineyards. Red, white or rosé, dry or sweet, organic, sparkling, pick your pleasure.
After the visit, grab snacks, lunch, dinner or more wine at one of Cité du Vin’s restaurants
Post Exhibit Fun
If you’re hungry after your around-the-world-of-wine visit, visit Latitude 20, the brasserie wine bar at Cité du Vin. Or book a table and enjoy a more upscale lunch, or dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Restaurant Le 7, with lovely panoramas over Bordeaux to pair with your meal and wine.
Don’t miss the library of wine-related books.
The Boutique is a wine-related concept shop that is accessible without a museum ticket. Pick up games, books, gifts, tableware and more.
BeSeeingYou In: Bordeaux
Good to know: The museum is located in the Bacalan districts, one of the most up-and-coming of Bordeaux.
WOW! Factor: La Cité du Vin is home to a wine cellar that is also the largest wine shop in Europe, with more than 14,000 bottles in stock, sold at various price points.
Tip: Across the street from La Cité du Vin is Les Halles Bacalan, a gourmet food market and great place for tapas and wine.
Author bio:Annick Dournes
Photos ©Frederic de Poligny