The Bordelais (Bordeaux region) is a place of ancient towns and timeless serenity. The city of Bordeaux itself boasts magnificent architecture and fine museums (especially the Musée d’Aquitaine) and has recently completed a 20-year renovation of the superb 18th-century limestone buildings that comprise its core. These include the majestic Place de la Bourse (the former stock exchange designed by King Louis XV’s architect, Ange-Jacques Gabriel), the opera house and miles of elegant riverside façades.
There are also three major wine areas in the Bordelais. The Médoc extends along the western bank of the Gironde estuary to the north of the city and is home to many of the most famous grands crus, such as Margaux, as well as renowned estates such as Château Mouton Rothschild. On the eastern bank, a second celebrated wine area surrounds the exquisite town of Saint-Émilion. Finally, to the south of Bordeaux, the region of Graves has produced wines such as the incomparable Sauternes from Château d’Yquem, which has produced wine from its gravelly hillsides since the Middle Ages.