Bordeaux reborn

The historic wine city is being spruced up and updated for the 21st century thanks to a massive regeneration effort. Our writer raises a glass to its reinvention

It’s Sunday night and my final meal in Bordeaux. I’m talking with a local called Brigitte in Le Plat à Oreilles, a popular husband-and-wife-run restaurant in the city centre that serves traditional country food. So far, so Bordeaux. But as I dig my spoon into the fricassée de lapin and try not to slurp my glass of Graves, I’m finding it hard to recognise the city that Brigitte is describing.

"Growing up in Bordeaux, I never really saw the river," she says. "It was physically blocked off by the port until about 10 years ago. In the city centre, the buildings were dark and dirty, and you couldn’t really sit outside in the squares because of all the cars. It wasn’t a very inspiring place to be."

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