20+ Interesting Facts about the History of Bordeaux

History of Bordeaux

Bordeaux is one of the most famous regions of France. It is also popular worldwide due to wine, known as the world capital of wine.

Bordeaux is located in southwestern France on the Atlantic coast. The wines of the city are well-known for their complexity, elegance, and class. However, there is much more to Bordeaux than the wines, especially its history. So, let’s see some interesting facts about the History of Bordeaux.

1. Ancient Origins

The history of Bordeaux goes back 2000 years when the Celts founded it. The city’s Latin name, “Burdigala”, hints at its Gallic roots. Afterward, it became an important Roman port, facilitating trade across the Roman Empire.

2. Wine Trade Beginnings

Wine Trade Beginnings in bordeaux

Bordeaux is widely famous for its wine, but do you know when the wine trade began in Bordeaux? The wine trade started in Roman times, and it gained momentum over the centuries, eventually becoming synonymous with the city’s identity.

3. Golden Age of Bordeaux

Bordeaux gained a lot of importance between the 12th and 15th centuries from the flourishing wine trade. But the real golden age of Bordeaux began in the 18th century when 5,000 downtown buildings were erected.

4. Bordeaux Old Town

Bordeaux Old Town

The Bordeaux Old Town has been listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO since 2007 under the name Port de la Lune. This name was given in honor of the Garonne’s curvature in Bordeaux, which resembles a crescent.

5. Archaeological Treasures

The city’s archaeological treasures are a window to its past, with the Palais Rohan standing on Roman foundations, reminding visitors of its ancient roots.

6. Intellectual Renaissance

History of Bordeaux

The luminous enlightenment era resonated deeply within Bordeaux, nurturing an environment where thinkers such as Montesquieu flourished, contributing to the city’s legacy of intellectual exploration. Thus, the town holds a stronghold in the academic area!

7. The Iconic Place De La Bourse

It took 45 years to construct the Place de la Bourse, a beautiful city square, in the 18th century. It was explicitly constructed between 1730 and 1755. The structures were designed by architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, but after he died in 1739, his son took over and completed the work.

8. Port City Powerhouse

History of Bordeaux

By the 13th century, Bordeaux had emerged as one of the most important cities in Europe. The city has contributed to economic growth and has allowed for the export of its renowned wines.

9. Revolutionary Spirit

The French Revolution had an impact on Bordeaux. The city faced political unrest, and some architectural marvels were destroyed. However, it eventually rebounded, rebuilding its structure and sense of identity.

10. The Safe Place

safe place boreaux

During the war, the government and all the officials want to move away from the danger. So, they decided to move away from Paris, and the place they chose was – Bordeaux.

11. Knocking Down of Statues

Earlier, there was a statue of King Louis XV. However, that was destroyed during the French Revolution. It was a very iconic statue that went down during the French Revolution.

12. Pilgrimage Center

Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route

In the Middle Ages, Bordeaux was an important stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Pilgrims traveled through the city on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

13. Portuguese Connection

In the 17th century, the port of Bordeaux had a significant Portuguese community. This connection was fueled by trade, especially the export of salt and Portuguese wines.

14. Ugugu – The Battle Cry

Ugugu - The Battle Cry

If you look under the statues in the Place des Quinconces, you can easily see the word ‘Ugugu’. It is a Cambodian battle cry in the pride of Khmer who brought wine varietals to the city. The scriptures were built from 1894 to 1902.

15. Founding a University of Bordeaux.

Surprisingly, the church is one of the founding universities, but the one in Bordeaux was established by Pope Eugene IV in 1441.

It is also asserted that the Archbishop is to be given credit for the concept of founding a university in Bordeaux, but the church undoubtedly had a hand in its creation.

16. The Royal Marriage Is the History of Bordeaux.

 Royal Marriage in Bordeaux.

In the Middle Ages, strategic royal marriages were present in every European country. It is one of the ways to strengthen the relationship between the countries and sometimes even the rivals.

17. Napolean’s Influence

With Napolean’s rule came an era of modernization that left an indelible imprint on Bordeaux’s infrastructure, ensuring its place as a dynamic and evolving urban center. He aimed to improve the status of Bordeaux through infrastructure improvements, shaping the city into a dynamic urban center and thereby improving the city’s reputation.

18. Urban Transformation

History of Bordeaux

Guided by the visionary urban planner Alain Juppe, Bordeaux’s historic core underwent a revitalization that harmoniously merged its past with its dynamic present. The transformation still stands as a harmonious blend of past & present.

19. Brief Spanish Occupation

In the late 18th century, Bordeaux witnessed a brief occupation by Spanish forces during the War of the Pyrenees. Spanish forces entered the city, leaving a mark on the history of the city. This occupation was for a period, but it contributed a lot to the diverse historical narrative of the city,

20. Historical Street Names

historical street names of bordeaux

The streets of the city reveal its past through their names, with Rue Sainte-Catherine tracing back to medieval times, inviting exploration into its historical tapestry. For example, Rue Sainte-Catherine echoes medieval times, connecting the modern city to its ancient roots.

The names create narratives that connect modern streets to historical figures, events, and eras, providing a fascinating approach to exploring the complex and multifaced post.

21. Maritime Heritage

The maritime legacy of Bordeaux finds expression in the Musee Maritime, a homage to the city’s seafaring history and its role in shaping trade & culture.


At last, we will say that Bordeaux is a very beautiful city with a rich history. If you are someone who is interested in history, you should visit this city. Also, we should not forget why it is most popular – the best wine in the world! So, want to try this wine? Pack your bags, and visit this city, especially the Bordeaux old town – the listed UNESCO world heritage site.

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