Joe and I have been to a lot of museums in our travels and we’ve done a lot of the biggies. The Museum of Natural History. The Louvre. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The British Museum. The Museum of Natural History. Bits and pieces of the Smithsonian. We have tentative plans to visit the Field Museum when we go to Chicago this fall. Joe’s been to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in NY and Museum of Popular Culture in Seattle. We’re both big fans of museums of science and industry in any big (or not so big) city we visit. We’ve even done some off-the-beaten track museums like the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, the Ghibli Museum in Japan and Alexander Hamilton’s home in Harlem, which has been turned into a museum. But this one we just found out about just sounds fascinating!
La Cité du Vin (City of Wine) is a museum & theme park dedicated to WINE! It’s located in Bordeaux, which make perfect sense, when you consider that Bordeaux is the wine capital of the world. And just like the science museums of your past (or maybe your present), they focus on an immersive, sensorial approach. And I’m ready to buy tickets right now!
La Cité du Vin calls itself a new generation museum, “where wine comes to life within an evocative architectural design.” The museum gives a different view of wine, across the world, across the ages, and across all cultures and civilizations. Run by the Fondation pour la Culture et les Civilisations du Vin, their mission is to promote and share the cultural, universal and living heritage that is wine.
Open since mid-2016, the museum cost $92,000,000 to build and is huge! Split over ten levels, it’s an architectural space 13,350 m2 in size with a tower stretching 55 meters (180 feet) high and an eighth-floor viewing platform that is 35 meters (115 feet) in the air.
We understand that most wine museums are kind of boring, and no wonder….they’re usually run by wine people who are thrilled to talk about soil types and tannins. This museum is totally different, though. They brought in people who know how to explain things as normal people are interested in hearing them, to the point where even if you don’t really like wine and don’t know a Carménère from a Bartles & James wine cooler, there’s still something for you to enjoy. There are nearly twenty different themed areas that invite you to discover and enjoy the exploration of wine across time and around the world (examples include The World Wine Tour, The Worlds of Wine and The Metamorphosis of Wine). There are temporary exhibits, events and shows, plus workshops, tours, screenings, tasting sessions, water shuttles to the vinyards, and even a reading room. And a visit to the permanent tour also includes a free, innovative tool available in nine languages (French, German, English, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Dutch & Portuguese) and the access to La Cité du Vin’s Belvedere, where you’ll discover a 360° view of Bordeaux with a glass of world wine.
The museum is open 7 days a week, including school holidays. It offers a sit down restaurant, a Brasserie-wine bar with 800 wines to choose from, as well as a gift shop that has wine-related products. Tickets start at €20.00 (roughly $20-$25, or £15-£20, depending on the exchange rate). If you’re into wine, or even if you’re not, if you’re in Bordeaux, you really ought to check out La Cité du Vin.
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