Located in southwest France on the broad Garonne river, Bordeaux is a decidedly cosmopolitan city with a well-deserved claim to fame: a cracking wine scene. The vibe here is peaceful and refined: think wide pedestrian-friendly boulevards, manicured parks, an exceptional dining scene and a healthy mix of classic and modern architecture. What's more, its unique location near the Atlantic and the Pyrenees means you're never too far from the sea or the mountains.
It may have once been nicknamed La Belle Endormie (the Sleeping Beauty) of France because of its laid-back character, but these days there are plenty of things to do in Bordeaux. For history buffs, the gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, which dates back to the 12th century, is a must-see. You can also visit the mesmerizing Miroir d'Eau (water mirror) which, at 3,450 square metres, is the largest reflection pool in the world. Lastly, the new Cité du Vin wine is both a modern architectural marvel and a sensory experience. Step inside to learn all about the history and cultural significance of wine.
And of course, a trip to this city wouldn't be complete without embarking on one of the region's world-famous Bordeaux wine tours. Check with the Tourism Office for timings and prices.