La Cité du Vin de Bordeaux, such a disappointment…

irons nBonjour guys ! On Monday 8th of August, I went to Bordeaux with my parents and we visited La Cité du Vin. It opened its door on the first of June 2016 after almost three years of work. It costed 81 millions of Euros, the majority being payed by Bordeaux citizens. I lived in Bordeaux for two years, and I was seing this building taking form, step by step.       I don’t like strong alcohol but I enjoy drinking sweet and fruity wines time to time. I am also interested in viticulture and wanted to learn more about wine. So with my parents we decided to visit the place, thinking it would be interesting. Considering the time and the money it took to build it, plus the publicity made around this project by the town hall of Bordeaux, the medias…our expectations were high. Too high. For the three of us, it was a real disappointment.

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The ticket is 20Euros for adults, but since I’m a student my ticket costed 16Euros. It’s quite expensive, but we were like « Well, it’s understandable, they have to make profit as fast as possible ». The entrance comprises a « dégustation » at the end of the visit. The place was crowded, but it’s the middle of Summer holidays so it’s normal. Oh did I mention that I find the architecture awful ? It’s so ugly I mean, come on ! But that’s not important. What matters is what’s inside right ? The problem is that even the inside did not fulfill my expectations.

Not in the way that the inside is ugly, quite the contrary. It’s noticeable that there have been a research work, some fournitures were thought in the details. For exemple, they’ve used empty bottle of wine to make fixtures, which is a great idea. The problem is that there are too many things, and in the end you get lost. There are 8 floors, a permanent course supposed to last two hours, a temporary one in which you can’t see nothing except photos of the construction site ( more publicity ), a reading corner with books about wine and… thats it. The rest of the floor is dedicated to ateliers ( tastings, oenology …) but of course you have to pay even more to assist to them.

The 7th floor is the restaurant  » Le 7″, and the 8th one « Le Belvédère » which was my favorite part, or only thing I liked. You can see Bordeaux with a 360° view, you better don’t have vertigo. It’s also here which occurs the « dégustation », one glass and no more. I’ve asked for a sweet wine, and I was poured a glass of Georgian white wine which I really loved. According to the woman who served me, it was Staline’s favorite wine. I don’t know how I’m supposed to take it haha My father had a strong red wine, I usually don’t like red one, this one included. My mother got a sparkling rosé, and I love rosé but this one tasted like sparkling water…

Let’s go back to the permanent course shall we ? Because the main issue my parents and I had about La Cité du Vin is concerning the 3rd floor. Which is bad because it’s supposed to be the « clou du spectacle ». It’s located on the third floor, and there is a lot of space which is a good thing, especially when the place is crowded. It stresses me when there are too many people, but the fact that the area is huge kind of bring some air. The issue is that lot of space means lot of things, too many things. One of the guy of the staff told us that the permanent course is supposed to last around 2 hours, but clearly I don’t know who has the courage to spend 2 hours in this floor.

Everything is virtual, there is no guide, they put you a cask on your ear with a remote, and you have to scan symbols when you want to have explanations. It’s an unbearable electronic voice, I did not turn in on once. Basically, I was just walking, seeing weird shaped fournitures, didn’t even understanding what they were. Here and there you have some panels with written explanations, but there are so many people already in front of them that you can’t read anything.

I went to La Cité du Vin to learn about wine, but clearly I did not learn a single thing ! It was a complete waste of time and money. There was thing which I found interesting, though it has nothing to do with wine so I don’t understand why it’s here : it’s « L’atelier des sens « . To make it short, you press a button and you have smell getting out of it, you have to guess what are the components of the smell. Some scents were delicious, some others disgusting, especially one, it was fun. But again, what about the wine ? It’s The City of Wine or not ? Apparently just in the name… I really don’t know how one is supposed to enjoy wandering in this place, maybe my words are hard but they are justified. It costed some money, every one was saying that it was going to be great blablabla and in the end well, you buy a 20E ticket to see screens, smell scents, and drink a glass of wine.

That’s being said, the staff was really nice, they were many people but every one was cordial and patient, even children, and we ended our afternoon by the boutique which offers expensive but interesting products. Finally, we stayed in La Cité du Vin for a little bit more than two hours. If I have known, I wouldn’t have visit it, but on the other hand I don’t regret that I did because now I have my opinion made about it. If you really like wine and oenology, I recommend you to visit a château where you can see the vineyards, casks of wine, storehouses, bottles, tasting and more important : explanations ! Usually, visiting a château costs around 35E, depending on how many wines you want to taste at the end and which château you visit. But it’s an actual tour, with real people talking to you, showing you, explaining to you. At La Cité du Vin, they re product the smell of a vineyard, of the wood of the wine boxes… Nothing’s real. When you are visiting a real château, there are no added flavors in the air, everything is authentic.

To summarize, La Cité du Vin is just here to attract tourist and to make money. The only real thing you see about wine is the bottles at the « dégustation » and in the boutique for you to buy them. Nothings is real, everything is virtual, I don’t see the point. If you have been to La Cité du Vin, tell me what you think about it, it interested me very much. As far as I’m concerned, next time I will go to a château ! I talk to you very soon, hopefully in an article in which I won’t have to write in negative terms… I wish you a great day,

Bisous, Marion. 



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