Brief history of Bordeaux

Bordeaux has been occupied for thousands of years.

First by the Celts, who established a small village they named Burdigala around 300 BC, then by the Romans, in 60 BC. With the fall of the Roman Empire came hundreds of years of strife and chaos.

Peace finally returned to the city in 1154, when the Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married the French Count Henri Plantagenet, who became King Henry II of England within months of the wedding. Bordeaux fell under English control for the next three centuries, during which time it began to grow and prosper. By exporting wine to England, it earned its reputation in the wine trade.

After the Hundred Years War, Bordeaux fell under French rule. However, the region returned to turmoil over the following years as the town was devastated by revolution, empire and the Terror.

Things settled down in the 18th century and Bordeaux once again experienced a golden age of prosperity as a result of its wine trade with the UK, Germany and the West Indies. Many of the city’s buildings (around 5,000 of them) were built during this period and they still stand today.

The urban project launched in 1996 by Alain Juppé and made concrete by the cleaning of façades, the development of the quays along the Garonne river, the commissioning of the tram that runs on a ground-level power supply and the requalification of urban areas strengthened this desire to protect and showcase Bordeaux's heritage. And nowadays, all that history and work has been recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Classification.