Once upon a (city of) Wine

Hi dear Beauty. You, the one that we waited for so much…

I saw you awakening this morning, whereas the impatient crowd was already yelling at your feet.
The sun watered you of golds, bathed you in light, and you took all time to stretch one by one your strange scales under its flirty rays.
You, my awake Beauty, welcomed in the belly of that City which was long named « sleeping ».
How do you feel, on this festive eve, where your flank will be heated and burned by thousands of spotlights, and your ground trodden with hundreds of impatient steps?
You have to realize…you were watched and cared like a child, and people wanted more of you than anything !
But do not pressure, Beauty. Don’t fear.

Come on and land. I’ll tell you your story …

You were born in a city that couldn’t exist without you.

She was a color. She was a nectar.
She was « Bordeaux ».
The middle of our world, to us, lovers of good life, good food. Synonymous of a thousand promises, and evocative of so many feelings. But very difficult to place on a map, for many people. It’s so funny…

It was said of her she was « the capital of wine. » Tourists were able to make hundreds and thousands of kilometers to join her and her sensual experiences. The elegant Ambassador of Aquitaine, so beautiful and nature when she wears a simple vine leaf. Unique and virginal Bacchante, for whom wine is an art.

I see that you’re smiling ? Oh, I know : it’s been 3 years since you are sculpted, auscultated, and that occult schemes speak about you. Oh…but under your « gouleyant » rounded curves, Beauty, you already spy, spin and swirl wine in all directions. You know it well … But us?
Spoiled children in this jewel-City, which has for case one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world, now we realize that you had everything to teach us.


Wine is culture. Wine is civilization…

Oh, we had already noticed that beyond the glass where the velvet of yourmuses’ dark dresses reflected, wine had some « firepower under the hood ». Wine was moments between friends, with an impalpable flavor. Announcements made, great events, which had to be immortalized.
Also, solitary walks in deep countrysides, where the wet soil’s smell after the storm mingles with the sound of leaves that the wind caresses like a lover. It’s strange, when we felt the aromas into a glass of Burgundy, we found those moments and memories. They took our body, without understanding why …
Wine was the long monologues of a man, a woman, inexhaustible and burning about it, and we could listen them for hours, talking about the grains they saw birth. Those sun-kissed grains, pampered by a land that will never find its equivalent in any other place on Earth.

Yes, we knew that, everyone in our nooks and crannies, in our times hard to leave (because timemachines doesn’t exist …). We caressed emotions that a « terroir » and a piece of Humanity could whisper into the hollow of our ears. But who was able to welcome in his bosom all of these secrets ?

Your birth…

And the day comes when wine-enthusiasts had the idea to entrust this mission to you. It was in 2009.
Do you understand, now, why so many people wait feverishly at your door? 7 years…it was so long…
We laid your first stone in 2013. First stone … what do I say: your first vine! Unveiled by your major mayor (Bordeaux Mayor), do you remember how exciting was this moment ? And me, already, I was there …. I felt this moment was some kind of historic.

For three years people has refined your silhouette, and some “happy guess” bend over your cradle: architects made you a special being, somebody apart.
Speaking Beauty, after 3 years of work, you’ll open tomorrow, and you’ll have mission (should you choose to accept it…) to unite cultures and civilizations by a binder that bring them together: wine.
And you gave me a gift: i was one of your first guests.

First sight

Very quickly we found ourselves to be tens of journalists when arriving to your port, and we penetrated your side by the water, a day before your official opening.
Forgive us: we were impatient, and so we have weighted you, judged, dissected, photographed all your sides. But you, impressive and elegant, you let us do all what we want …
At first, majestic, your unique architecture imposed itself as an obvious. I still hear these skeptics and forked tongues prejudge about your atypical physique. Trust me, my dear, I know how unpleasant it is: it’s never easy to stand out and to be different… I’m like that. It would have been easy to give you 4 straight walls in order to please everyone. But honestly, was that your ambition? Did you deserve as much conformity ? I don’t think so…
While the boat led us to you, we discovered that you had spread a wide arm over the river to welcome us. From this superb pontoon, instead of the wastelands of a bygone era, the sun was spinning your reflections under its rays. We understand : it was the carousel of wine at the bottom of glasses…
You melt to the landscape, taking its colors so as never to hurt, but in the middle of Bordeaux you was like Mount of Venus.
As we approach you, eyes wide open, we discover your skin. Are you alive strange Beauty, who seems bending astonishing scales under the folds and contortions of your arched skeleton?

Your inner Beauty

Then you opened your door … the adventure began. Lights were already different. Our feeling ? As we were entering a tank. The first of your rooms tells us your story.

3 years of work, as your birth album: an exhibition signed Isabelle Rozenbaum.

From the outset, you know that your future visitors will want to have private « rendez-vous » with you, so you’ve provided them with separate rooms : library, tastings, workshops. Everyone will have the choice of conversing with you in secret rooms.
Walls and ceilings are suddenly laced with organic hangings (a man says me : « like wine molecules ») : it’s time to discover your permanent tour.
Sounds immerse us into a strange atmosphere. Your physics is atypical: your voice too. Drops, scraps of operas, pieces of phrases and speechs, all is mixed, and I lose my landmarks. I feel bizarre, I’m wondering where I am.

« You’re nowhere Papotiche, Wine is everywhere in the world and History. »
Rascal girl : you are uprooting me to drive me virgin of all prejudices, and make me forget the vision of the wine that my culture and my country has been inculcated me…

Ok. I trust you. I accept your invitation.

You remind me that divine nectar is the fruit of grape, and that grape is some lands, and women and men who shape it. I listen, I look, from the 4 corners of the globe, testimonies that show that the techniques can diverge, as long as the passion remains.
There are screens and monitors all around me. You speak to me terroir and roots through the digital, you’re definitely a sassy girl…

I’m having fun with this virtual world : I turn a few world maps, I slip images under my hands, I already learn a lot (and I’ll say nothing to my readers : surpiiiise !), and you, at this moment you choose to become again down to earth: you immersed me in the Egyptians period, amphoraes and other containers, and I jump to the past. You, the time-wine-machine…
I feel so small. I was not expected to drink wine ? … oh I knew it but you do well to remember me that i’m not your first love.

While I relativise and say me « I’m not the middle of the World », you disturb me again, and put me in the center of Earth. You drive me to a « senses buffet », you have this message for me : the wine is above all an emotion. Wine makes us travel in time, but in the depths of our own affects.
Under glass bells, like memories that nothing can alter, you imprisoned these perfumes that the wine reminds to us.

Citrus fruits…chocolate…the grass…I…I…   

… I’m smelling white flowers: how much it was beautiful, how fine it smelled, that bouquet of lilies and lilac offered by my first love. I still have my nose plunged in … even if the love has gone away. I remember our first kiss…
    … Pineapple: I remember in your glass-bell these warm summer afternoons, when my mother handed me wide slices of this exotic fruit, to quench my thirst. I’m 10 year olds. Thank you mum.
    … Leather: I’m uncomfortable. I feel the anguish of the stables where the horse saddles were stored. I was panicked by these great animals, when I was a child. I’m 32 and this smell still makes me tremble … What are you playing with me ???
   … Licorice: suddenly I see my grandmother opening this heavy jar of sweets, all impregnated with the persistent odor of the dark and aniseed roll that none of my cousins would take. Licorice was dragging at the bottom of the pot, infusing Roudoudous and cubs. Baw…we didn’t like it. But one day I took him to please Granny. I think of his smile every time I feel the licorice. Because Granny is dead and I miss her. Licorice drive me to her, just one second. Granny…I miss you…

And i find licorice to each glass of Pomerol which has its smoke. I find Granny in some glass of wine.
A tear in the eye, suddenly I understand: these emotions that wine awakens in us, it’s what makes unique each sip that it offers to us. It’s why Wine is a divine nectar …
Earth, my emotions, and from now you speak to me about history : I sit down and listen to Pierre Arditi conversing with illustrious great men, seated as at the Last Supper.
History … and culture! A room further, the conditions of a meal are recreated! And people speaks of wine in the Jewish tradition, the place of wine in family meals, food and wine accords according to the country: Franck Ferrand or Hélène Darroze invit me to chat with them, at their table.



And suddenly, I find the sun and I reach your mount, Ô Venus: the visit ends with a tasting in your “belvedere”. Eyes are said to be “the mirror of the soul”. In your eyes ? Bordeaux, from the top, with a view that will be among the most beautiful in the city. How great is your soul, Beauty.


Your story? Oh no, Ours…

Here, I wanted to tell you your story, but finally, my dear, it was you who had to tell me mine. The most intimate, the one that brings back every pieces of my body to my family, my past, my sorrows, my little happiness and my great joys. And my « History » : of my humanity, of differences that make it so rich and precious, of the cultures that are mixed everywhere around me and before me, to make the modest human being I am at the instant. You reminded me, through wine, that I was very small, but yet infinitely important. Wine is of all cultures, and it speaks to us civilizations.


Once upon a wine

I know that on the eve of your official opening, a thousand feathers more experienced and expert than me will describe and write about you. Their words will be rights, and great. But this article, it’s our story, me, and you. I don’t want to break the magic of your secrets by raising more concretely the veil on your 3000m2, your 20 interactive spaces, your restaurant, your cellar. My readers have the right to have the same early experience of this “rendez-vous” with you.
I just wanted to tell you about your birth, to reassure you, and to tell you that the fairies who bent over your cradle kept their promise. You’re great, you’re pretty, you’re elegant and so intelligent. You’re a great woman (you know that I’m a feminist ?). Architects, creatives, the whole team that has believed in you for years : I congratulate them, what a talent, what a passion ! And I’ll come back
very often to see you, to continue with you this trip. Because you have hours and hours of pictures to show me …
I know that every story you tell me will make my future sips of wine carried my lips to new adventures.


The Cité du Vin will open in Bordeaux …

What can I say to you, my dear? From an obscure beginning, your controversy physical has the superb of the greatest. And your inner beauty confirms it. But more than anything, do you know what seduced me the most, my Bacchante? The impertinence with which you quelled all those people who pointed their fingers to Bordeaux, those people who accused the city to be a pretentious « navel-gazing » when she talks about wine. Because you know what? Bordeaux, mistakenly described as haughty and egocentric when talking about corks, is indeed the first and therefore only city in the world to have erected such a vast edifice to remind this world that SO wine has no borders. No time borders, no country borders. The Cité du Vin is not an ode to Bordeaux, but a universal « palace », an ode to wine.
To our cultures. To our civilizations. He is a binder, in all points of Humanity.
I’m proud of the message in my city, me the Burgundian who sometimes hears some “Bordeaux bashing” when I get off Garonne.


Hi dear Beauty.

You, the one we expected so much…for so long.
Your name of baptism is « Cité du Vin », and you’re the ointment that Bordeaux missed. In carrying this universal message, the city has, thanks to you, won its title of “capital of wine”.
We will continue to watch over you, like a treasure. As much as now, you watch over the legacy of all our civilizations
Are you trembling? Don’t be afraid, oh my angel apart, and take advantage of those angels who are passing to take your part. It seems to be the part that intoxicates the most …pampering bodies and souls… In french, “la part des anges”.
The jubilation that you will trigger tomorrow will be kind, I promise, and Bordeaux will thank you every day for having fulfilled your own promise.
I tell you « merde » for your opening. Elegant but not stuck, I’m sure you’ll forgive me for this ending word…
Your devoted, Among others now…

Papotiche. Yours.


Links and practical information

La Cité du Vin – 1, esplanade de Pontac – 33 300 Bordeaux www.laciteduvin.com  
Tickets of the permanent Tour (open exhibition space occupying more than 3,000 m², nearly twenty different themed areas)
Adult 20,00€ 
Adult reduced place*16,00€ 
Young rate 10,00€ 
Children 8,00€ 
Less than 6yo : free Some spaces are open access. 

Possibility of season tickets (48 E for 12 months), subscriptions and workshops 
A free access area will inform you about the wine tourism offer of the department, with possibility to book excursions in the vineyard (wine roads area). 

Opening hours 
Winter : Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
March : Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
High season : Open daily 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.