One of the benefits of having bigger kids is the chance to travel while they are at summer camp. While the kids were off getting fresh air, Mr. Momtrends and I hopped on OpenSkies to Paris for a trip to France. From Paris, we trained to wine country and paid a visit to La Cité du Vin Bordeaux.
Travel takes trial and error. We didn't stumble upon this spot right away. When we first got to Bordeaux, we paid a visit to the old-fashioned Museum of Wine and Trade. It's a musty affair that harkened back to my days exploring museums as a kid. Not much to touch and a lot of not-so-interesting things to read.
Here we saw a lot of dusty bottles, old maps, and ledgers. At the time they were vaguely interesting, but after we paid a visit to the modern counterpart down the road, I can say there's really no reason to visit this spot.
The Cité du Vin is everything a modern museum should be: immersive, forward-looking, and interactive. Are you ready to dive in?
Visit La Cité du Vin Bordeaux
This museum is more than just about romancing the grape. It's about educating wine lovers about all things wine. For instance, I had no idea that wine was such an important economic force. Sure, I knew it is an important French export, but it's of huge global import. China is becoming a large consumer of wine and getting into the production business. Even small countries with few resources are making wine. On our visit, we saw an exhibit about the wine of Georgia (the country, not the state).
Of course, wine isn't just about big business. It's also about enjoyment. There's much to learn about the wine making process. I saw the range of territory deemed suitable to produce excellent grapes, how the grapes are processed into wine, and how vineyards market their wine in hopes of finding a larger and larger share of the alcohol-drinking consumers out there.
My favorite part of the museum was the wine portrait area. Did you know wines can be split into six major families: dry white, red, rosé, sparkling, fortified, and sweet? We played around at the interactive stations learning about the aromas that wine makers use to create flavors.
In all, we spent about two hours at the museum. It's all quite child-friendly if you can wrap your head around the fact that you are exposing your kids to the culture of alcohol. We saw MANY strollers rolling through, apparently the French don't have issues with this concept!
La Cité du Vin Bordeaux Building
The exterior is bold and modern. The XTU firm (led by Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazière) designed the swirling building that lively sits as a bold juxtaposition to a city steeped in history. Reading up on the design, I learned that the architects were striving for a liquid form that represented the way light changes the color of wine.
When you are done learning about wine, it's only fitting to get to sip some. Every ticket comes with a tasting. We were offered wine from all over the world. Mr. Momtrends opted for the less-well-known Mexican wine; I went for the safer rosé. As we sipped we wandered around the glorious tasting room. Look up, the ceiling is made of wine bottles (my goodness, who cleans those!). Be sure to step outside and take in the surroundings. The museum is located on the Garonne River, and the building offers spectacular views of the waterfront.
The Cité du Vin is a museum as well as a place of exhibitions, shows, movie projections, and academic seminars on the theme of wine located in Bordeaux, France.
Plan Your Visit La Cité du Vin Bordeaux
A Visit to La Cité du Vin Bordeaux will cost €20.00. This includes access to the permanent tour exhibits, an interactive guide (offered in eight languages), and a tasting glass. In addition, there are special exhibits and classes going on frequently. Be sure to check the website to see what is being offered.
Address: 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France
Phone: +33 5 56 16 20 20
More details here: http://www.laciteduvin.com/en
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