It may be famous for its red wine, but the city of Bordeaux, on the Garonne river in southwest France, has many other charms – not least its stunning architecture, where historic buildings sit alongside ambitious modern designs. Whether it’s art you’re into, or history, discover the most exciting buildings to look out for.
The Danish architecture firm Big’s contribution to the Bordeaux architecture scene is indeed a giant – La Méca, the city’s newest cultural destination which opened in 2019, measures 18,000sqm (193,750sqft). The venue celebrates contemporary art, film and performance, and was conceived as “a single loop of cultural institutions and public space”. An outdoor urban room invites the public to interact with the building, with the aim for the space to be a blank canvas for the people of Bordeaux. It spearheads the transformation of the city’s riverfront industrial area, with surrounding sites earmarked for future cultural institutions.
This is where the historical and the contemporary collide: a market hall, originally built in 1869 by architect Charles Burguet, and restored in 1998. The former centre for Bordeaux’s wine trade still has traces of the wine barrels on its walls, but also features a 21st-century atrium. Today, the Chartrons building is a cultural hub and there’s plenty to see in the area – don’t miss the nearby Arc en Rêve Centre for Architecture.
Additional reporting by Cajsa Carlson