Visiting Bordeaux, France and wondering if La Cité du Vin is worth visiting? When you find yourself planning a visit to this wine city or if you are in the charming city of Bordeaux already, renowned for its exquisite wines and picturesque vineyards, it’s only natural to wonder if a visit to La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s wine museum is truly worth your time.
I pondered on the same question when I crafted my itinerary for my recent trip to Bordeaux. I must say, the allure of La Cité du Vin beckoned. I’m delighted to have made it a priority on my list of my must-visit attractions in Bordeaux. In this article, I happily recount my immersive experience and provide you with a firsthand account of my time at La Cité du Vin. I shall also delve into the reasons why a visit to La Cité du Vin an absolute must and is well worth your time.
From its striking architecture to its immersive exhibits, this cultural treasure invites wine enthusiasts, history aficionados, and curious travellers to indulge in an unforgettable experience. So, if you’re contemplating whether to venture into La Cité du Vin’s hallowed halls, read on. I share my exploration of the wonders of the immersive experience and the captivating heritage and traditions of the Bordeaux wine culture in southwest France so you can make an informed decision.
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About La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux
La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s wine museum has emerged as a prominent tourist attraction within the city. La Cité du Vin is not only a renowned wine museum but also the largest of its kind in the world. Established in 2016 with the aim to commemorate global wine culture and provide visitors with an educational experience on wine-making along with its historical significance. Since its establishment, this extraordinary museum has captivated wine enthusiasts and travellers alike, making it one of the most visited destination in the city.
La Cité du Vin, is a remarkable architecture. Inspired by the mesmerising graceful swirl of wine in a glass, and stands as a testament to its uniqueness. The striking design is a prominent landmark visible from a far. An impressive building, La Cité du Vin is situated in the north of Bordeaux, at Bassin a Flot, a focal point in a once gritty port area. Situated in this historic area, the museum’s striking presence uplifts the surroundings and breathes new life into the district, generating a positive impact on the local economy.
A Wine Enthusiast’s Dream: Why La Cité du Vin Should be on Your List
What to expect when you visit La Cité du Vin
This extraordinary wine museum in Bordeaux offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of wine, revealing its captivating history, culture, and significance. La Cité du Vin goes beyond the boundaries of a traditional wine museums in France. It is a global celebration of wine, providing a comprehensive exploration of vineyards, wine-making traditions, and wine cultures from around the world.
Allow me to provide you with a glimpse of the immersive experience awaiting you. I think the best way to describe Bordeaux Wine Museum is as an enchanting playground for wine enthusiasts. You’ll also discover an interactive journey that delights your senses with videos, touch screens, sensory tables, captivating narratives, melodic tunes, and more.
Bordeaux wine museum is not solely dedicated to the wines of Bordeaux. It proudly holds the title of a world wine museum. As such, the exhibition takes you on a voyage through various wine regions across the globe. Along this enlightening journey, you will delve into the rich tapestry of wine history, immerse yourself in diverse cultures, explore different grape varieties and wines, and uncover fascinating insights. This extraordinary exploration of the world of wine, offers a truly memorable and educational experience.
New for 2023, is a remarkable sensory experience, Via Sensoria which is unlike a traditional exhibition. You’ll find this on the first floor.
Once you ascend to the second floor, where the permanent exhibition resides, you’ll receive an audio guide that is an absolute must for fully enjoying the experience. Instead of an abundance of reading material, La Cité du Vin offers a visual and auditory feast, inviting you to observe, listen, and absorb.
Let’s start from the first floor, home to Via Sensoria.
Via Sensoria Experience: A Unique Sensory Tasting Journey
Via Sensoria is an immersive and soothing sensory experience that offers a unique and refreshing approach to wine tasting. It transcends the boundaries of a traditional workshop or exhibition, providing you with a sensory parenthesis that blends artistic elements with surprising tastings of wines from four different regions of the world. There are non-alcoholic beverages available also. Visual, sound, and poetic creations enhance the atmosphere, creating a truly enchanting ambiance.
The experience is led by a knowledgeable host-sommelier. The hour-long experience invites both wine enthusiasts and novices, adults and children, to engage with the program.
Departing from conventional tasting norms, Via Sensoria presents unexpected pairings between artistic environments and a thoughtfully curated selection of wines and non-alcoholic drinks sourced globally.
Six meticulously crafted original poems add a touch of personal enchantment to the journey. Each verse has been thoughtfully composed to seamlessly weave into the fabric of this extraordinary experience, intensifying the dreamlike ambiance that envelops you.
Launched in April 2023, Via Sensoria takes participants on a seasonal journey, immersing them in a tranquil and nature-inspired setting. From the break of dawn to the twilight hours, the experience guides visitors through the realms of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, unfolding throughout the one-hour course in the day.
Go here to view my Instagram reel for an idea of this immersive Via Sensoria experience.
How to Experience the Via Sensoria Immersive Program
For the Via Sensoria experience, it is essential to purchase a ticket for a specific day and time. Reservations are available up to one month in advance.
Your ticket grants you access to:
- A unique 1-hour experience blending visual and auditory creations, leisurely exploration, and tastings.
- Time slots are available between 10:00 and 19:00
- Four tastings of wines or non-alcoholic beverages, tailored to your preferences and age.
The tasting offerings in the Via Sensoria Program, La Cité du Vin
Throughout the experience, a sommelier will accompany you in groups of up to 15 individuals.
In the spring pavilion
A dry white wine crafted from Bordeaux’s Sauvignon blanc grapes or elderflower syrup.
In the summer pavilion
A white wine from Greece or iced tea infused with lemon and thyme.
In the autumn pavilion
A red wine hailing from Rioja, Spain’s renowned and oldest vineyard, or pear juice.
In the winter pavilion
A Crémant d’Alsace sparkling wine or caramel syrup.
Practical Information about Experiencing Via Sensoria, La Cité du Vin
Wine tastings are exclusive for individuals aged 18 and above. If aged under 18, participants can enjoy non-alcoholic beverages.
**Children under 6 can obtain complimentary tickets at the reception of La Cité du Vin.
It’s important to note that the Via Sensoria experience is distinct from the Permanent Exhibition and requires a separate ticket. If you wish to access the Belvedere of La Cité du Vin, purchasing a ticket for the permanent exhibition is necessary.
You can purchase your tickets for the Via Sensoria from the official page of La Cité du Vin.
The Permanent Exhibition at La Cité du Vin and the Belvedere
At La Cite du Vin, you will discover a comprehensive permanent exhibition featuring 18 sections divided into six distinct areas. Embark on an adventurous journey that traverses time and continents, unveiling the captivating world of wine.
- The discovery at the Permanent Exhibition aptly begins in the world’s vineyards, an area of immersive experience through captivating imagery and winemakers’ stories.
- It follows with the “know-how” area which provides insights into grape varieties and the winemaking process. You’ll find flat touch screens surrounded by impressive wooden bottle-shaped statues, facilitating exploration of major wine types, including reds, sweet whites, and sparkling varieties.
- The third area takes you into the rich history of wine. The journey explores contemporary trends in wine tourism, culture, design, and more.
- The “Art of Living,” area is one of my personal favourites. It offers an enchanting experience of “buffet of the five senses.” It comprise of two large tables, presenting a diverse array of food items, including fruits, and honey. This activity allows you to explore various wine aromas.
- The final two areas, while less interactive, captivate those with an interest in wine history. The fifth area explores the role of water and wars in shaping wine’s global history, while the last part of the exhibition focuses on the Bordeaux wine region.
Just so you know, the exploration of the Permanent Exhibition ends at the Belvedere on the 8th floor.
The Belvedere at La Cité du Vin
Make your way to the 8th floor, which really is one of the best highlights in Bordeaux. The Belvedere offers you a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
Here, indulge in a selection of wines sourced from various corners of the globe, highlighted in the exhibition. Immerse yourself in a breathtaking 360° view of Bordeaux.
The Belvedere stands tall at 35 meters, offering a unique vantage point to explore the city of Bordeaux and its surrounding beauty. This extraordinary panoramic view serves as a seamless continuation of your journey through the Permanent Exhibition, culminating in a remarkable cultural experience—a wine tasting. The Belvedere offers a diverse assortment of approximately fifteen wines in collaboration with 50 wine regions worldwide.
Your ticket to the Permanent Exhibition of La Cite du Vin includes access to the Belvedere along with the tasting of a glass of wine from vineyards around the world. Non alcoholic beverages are available.
The Wine Cave at Cité du Vin
Latitude20 at the Cité du Vin, simply known as the wine cave is truly the World’s Cellar of Wines! A captivating experience of an extraordinary collection of wines from over 70 countries!
Step into a jaw-dropping setting—a “library cellar” housing an impressive selection of over 14,000 bottles. Explore a curated range of 800 wines sourced from across the globe, including unexpected gems from Syria, Ethiopia, Namibia, Peru, Bali, and even Tahiti. Led by a team of expert sommeliers, Latitude20 offers an exceptional assortment of wines at affordable prices ranging from €5 to €50.
What Else to Experience at Bordeaux’s Wine Museum
In addition to the main attractions, there are several other delightful experiences at La Cité du Vin which are not-to-be-missed highlights:
The Wine Library: Located on the first floor, the beautiful library houses an impressive collection of wine-related books. Dive into the literary world of wine and expand your knowledge while surrounded by a serene and inspiring atmosphere.
Le 7 Restaurant: Situated on the seventh floor, Le 7 Restaurant offers a truly exceptional dining experience. Indulge in exquisite cuisine paired with an extensive wine list while enjoying panoramic views of Bordeaux.
Brasserie on the Ground Floor: Situated to the rear of the wine cave, the Brasserie offers easy and quick lunches consisting of sandwiches, soups, pastries, and beverages.
Wine-Tasting Workshops: La Cité du Vin hosts daily wine-tasting workshops conducted in French, English, and Spanish. These workshops take place in modern tasting rooms and provide an opportunity to further enhance your wine expertise. The English workshop primarily focuses on Bordeaux wines, while the French workshops cover a variety of themes, including specific wine regions and wine pairing with cheese or chocolate. Immerse yourself in the art of wine tasting, guided by knowledgeable experts who will unravel the nuances of flavours, aromas, and wine culture.
Make sure to check the schedule and availability of these workshops during your visit to La Cité du Vin, as they offer an enriching and interactive way to engage with wine in a more hands-on manner.
Is it Worth It? Exploring the Value of Visiting La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s Wine Museum
As someone who has personally visited the celebrated Wine Museum of Bordeaux, I can confidently say that La Cité du Vin is definitely worth visiting.
La Cité du Vin offers a unique and immersive experience that celebrates the world of wine. A comprehensive exploration of its history, culture, and significance along with the museum’s interactive exhibits, stunning architecture, and sensory experiences make for a captivating visit.
Additionally, La Cité du Vin goes beyond the scope of Bordeaux wines. The museum embraces a global perspective that enables visitors to discover and admire wines from diverse regions across the world. This international approach provides a broader understanding of the wine industry and its diverse influences.
Furthermore, the museum’s location in the Bassin a Flot district adds to its allure. The revitalization of this area has transformed it into a vibrant and trendy neighborhood with street art, bars, and a bustling market, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore beyond the museum itself.
While the ticket price may be considered a bit steep, the value derived from the experience is undeniable. La Cité du Vin offers a comprehensive, immersive, and educational encounter that caters to a wide range of interests and wine knowledge levels. Whether you spend a few hours or an entire day exploring the museum, you’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for the art and science of winemaking, along with a wealth of fascinating insights to share with fellow wine enthusiasts.
In sum, the answer to whether La Cité du Vin is worth visiting is a resounding “yes.” Its global perspective, immersive exhibits, revitalized location, and wine tasting experience come together to create an exceptional journey for all who appreciate the beauty, history, and flavours of wine. So, without a doubt, make La Cité du Vin a priority on your itinerary and prepare to be amazed by this extraordinary wine destination.
How Much Time do You Need to Visit La Cité du Vin
Via Sensoria takes an hour. You can visit the Permanent Exhibition at your own pace and according to your interests. You can articulate your own trail of discovery and follow your desires with the audio guide.
Expect to spend an average of 2 to 3 hours at the Permanent Exhibition. It is also possible to spend the whole day here as there are many activities to deepen your visit which makes a visit here totally worthwhile.
How to Visit La Cité du Vin: Practical Information
Before visiting La Cité du Vin, here’s everything you need to know:
Tickets and Prices
The ticket price may be a bit steep, but the experience is definitely worth it.
Tickets for the Permanent Exhibition, including access to the Belvedere and a glass of wine:
- Adult ticket is €22;
- Kids over 6 years old can enter for €9.
- If you’re a family of two adults and two kids, consider purchasing the family pack for €54.
To avoid long queues, I highly recommend that you purchase your tickets online in advance. You can purchase your skip-the line ticket with wine tasting here, and walk straight through.
PRO TIP: You can also enjoy a 20% discount on Cité du Vin tickets and free public transport by purchasing the Bordeaux City Pass.
From April 8, to September 3, 2023:
- La Cité du Vin is open daily from 10:00 to 19:00.
September 4, to December 31, 2023:
- La Cité du Vin is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 on weekdays.
- Open until 19:00 on weekends and during school holidays;
- Closed at 16:00 on December 24;
- Closed on Dec 25.
*Opening hours may vary during high season, so it’s advisable to check the museum’s website for the most up-to-date information.
How to Get to La Cité du Vin, Wine Museum in Bordeaux
The easiest way to reach La Cité du Vin is by taking tram B and getting off at the “Cité du Vin” station. The wine museum is located within a two-minute walk from the tram stop.
If you’re on the other side of the Garonne river, you can opt for the boat (BAT 3) with the same ticket as the tram.
For more information about BAT 3 hours and other stations, refer to the official TBM site. Alternatively, you can use the city bikes available from V3 stations across the city, which offer a delightful ride from the city center to the wine museum. Keep these details in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to La Cité du Vin.
Add to Your Visit to Bordeaux Wine Museum
After your visit to the museum, take some time to explore the vibrant Bassin a Flot district. This neighborhood offers a unique blend of hipster and industrial vibes, making it a must-visit destination. The area is adorned with captivating street art, lively bars, music venues, and a stylish covered market.
The covered market (Halles de Bacalan) situated just across the road from Cité du Vin, offers a wide range of culinary delights which you wouldn’t want to miss.
For those with hearty appetites, Les Halles de Bacalan indoor market is an enticing destination that brings together a delightful array of organic bread, mature cheeses, fresh fish, homemade ice cream, rotisserie delights, wine merchants, and tantalising tapas. This bustling market is a vibrant hub, teeming with life and offering a feast for the senses.
Experience More of Bordeaux with these Indepth Articles:
Are You Considering Explroring Other Destinations in Europe?
While discovering Bordeaux, you may want to expand your itinerary to include a few additional destinations in France and beyond France.
Saint Emilion, situated under an hour’s journey from Bordeaux by train is an unmissable beautiful medieval village surrounded by a vineyard dotted landscape. The enchantment of this village is one that must be experience and you can read all about Saint Emilion and watch the reel here.
Recommended read: The Ultimate Guide to Your Travel Escape to France.
As for other destinations in Europe, London provides a wealth of attractions and activities, which you can find on my dedicated London page. If you’re drawn to the picturesque English countryside, be sure to visit charming towns such as Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Castle Combe, Burford, Lacock, Battle, and Canterbury.
Scotland, with its unspoiled landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and iconic attractions, is a captivating destination that shouldn’t be missed. From the rugged beauty of the Highlands to the mystical allure of the Isle of Skye and the charming town of Portree, this country offers a tapestry of natural wonders. In Edinburgh, the capital city, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene, explore historic landmarks like the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, and stroll along the historic Royal Mile.
Whether you seek outdoor adventures in the Highlands, a glimpse into Scotland’s history through ancient castles, or a taste of traditional Scotch whisky, Scotland promises a captivating journey through its rich heritage and breathtaking scenery.
Across Europe, there are incredible destinations worth exploring, both for short and long visits. Check out my travel page featuring Verona, Milan, Lake Como, and Lake Garda for more information. If Italy captures your interest, there is plenty more to discover on the Italy page as well.
More about Europe
Additionally, I have articles on Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest, Montserrat, and Seville, if you’re planning to visit these exciting cities. For a seamless travel experience, don’t forget to explore my resource page filled with valuable travel tips and information.
La Cité du Vin is different! This incredible attraction is undeniably worth visiting for its unique and immersive experience that celebrates the world of wine. With its interactive exhibits, stunning architecture, and sensory journeys, Bordeaux’s wine museum offers a captivating exploration of wine history, culture, and global significance. Beyond its focus on Bordeaux, the museum provides a broader perspective, showcasing wines from around the world and fostering a deeper understanding of the industry.
The museum’s location in the revitalised Bassin a Flot district adds to its appeal, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore a vibrant neighbourhood brimming with street art, bars, and a bustling market. Whether you are a wine enthusiast, history buff, or curious traveller, La Cité du Vin promises an enriching and unforgettable experience that makes it a must-visit attraction in Bordeaux.
Have a fabulous time at Cité du Vin! I most certainly did -:) xx