BOR­DEAUX-UPON-GA­RONNE

Bor­deaux is, wi­thout doubt, a cos­mo­po­li­tan ci­ty. Among the ma­ny re­la­tion­ships the ci­ty has for­ged with coun­tries across the globe over time, its links with En­gland re­main un­brea­kable; the ci­ty was ru­led by the En­glish crown for three cen­tu­ries.

Bordeaux Moments - - Ici D'ailleurs -

As hei­ress to the Fran­kish Du­chy of Aqui­taine, the young Elea­nor was mar­ried to King Louis VII of France in 1137, with the mar­riage ta­king place in Saint-an­dré Ca­the­dral. As a free wo­man in a world ru­led by men, she di­vor­ced her hus­band fif­teen years la­ter and sub­se­quent­ly mar­ried Hen­ry Plan­ta­ge­net, Count of An­jou and Count of Maine, Duke of Nor­man­dy and the fu­ture King Hen­ry II of En­gland. This mar­riage brought Aqui­taine un­der En­glish rule. At its peak, the Plan­ta­ge­net Em­pire stret­ched from the Scot­tish bor­der all the way down to the Py­re­nees. For three cen­tu­ries, Bor­deaux en­joyed a pri­vi­le­ged sta­tus as ca­pi­tal of an En­glish do­mi­nion, no­ta­bly through its mo­no­po­ly on the pro­duc­tion, sale and dis­tri­bu­tion of a light red wine which the En­glish de­ligh­ted in: cla­ret. Before Ch­rist­mas and Eas­ter, up to 200 boats left En­glish ports 'to get the wine', hea­ding to Bor­deaux. The ex­pe­di­tions of 1303- the re­cord year du­ring En­glish rule- would on­ly be sur­pas­sed in 1950! The his­to­ri­cal pre­ce­dents that Bor­deaux’s wine trade with En­gland set reach as far as the size of a bot­tle. Ori­gi­nal­ly, cla­ret was sent in 50-gal­lon bar­rels (225 litres), which- out of sheer prac­ti­ca­li­ty- was then di­vi­ded by 300 when glass pro­duc­tion was de­ve­lo­ped. It led to the now ty­pi­cal size of 75cl bot­tles, a crate of six equa­ting to a gal­lon, and two gal­lons ma­king twelve bot­tles. Ano­ther ves­tige of the En­glish per­iod is the large num­ber of for­ti­fied ma­nor houses and forts built in the re­gion at

the time of the Black Prince, other­wise known as Ed­ward of Wood­stock: son of Ed­ward III and com­man­der of the prin­ci­pa­li­ty of Aqui­taine. He died short­ly before suc­cee­ding his fa­ther, so it was his son, Ri­chard of Bor­deaux, who took up re­si­dence in Wind­sor un­der the name of Ri­chard II, lea­ding a rei­gn of contro­ver­sy. Se­ven­ty-five years la­ter, in 1453, John Tal­bot’s de­feat at the Bat­tle of Cas­tillon mar­ked the re­turn of Bor­deaux to the French crown. Ho­we­ver, En­glish in­fluence did not cease. Des­pite the pre­pon­de­rance for trade with Nor­thern Eu­rope in the 17th cen­tu­ry, Lon­don’s high so­cie­ty ex­tol­led the vir­tues of Bor­deaux’s fine wines in the 18th cen­tu­ry; as such, Bor­deaux owes a debt to the En­glish just as much as to the Ro­mans for its title as the world ca­pi­tal of wine. More re­cent­ly, the ci­ty has de­ve­lo­ped a taste for beer thanks to the ma­ny ci­ti­zens of Her Ma­jes­ty who have ope­ned pubs and craft bre­we­ries. Some of them see Bor­deaux as the re­gio­nal ca­pi­tal of “Dor­do­gne­shire”. Em­pha­si­sing this unique re­la­tion­ship, Eli­sa­beth II ho­nou­red the Port of the Moon when she vi­si­ted on The Bri­tan­nia. Lau­ra Ash­ley, Marks & Spen­cer and the Bri­tish Coun­cil have all had a base here, and the ci­ty is still one of on­ly three lo­ca­tions in France to have Bri­tish di­plo­ma­tic re­pre­sen­ta­tion.

SOME SYMBOLIC ADDRESSES

• The Gol­den Apple

First Bri­tish pub to open in the ci­ty (1990). 46 Rue Bo­rie 33300 Bor­deaux Tel: 05 56 79 03 85 www.gol­den-apple.fr

• En­glish Coun­try Kit­chen

Res­tau­rant, tea room and brunch spot. 4 Rue Cas­tel­nau d’au­ros, 33000 Bor­deaux Tel: 05 56 52 81 70 www.en­gli­sh­coun­try­kit­chen.fr

• Paul’s Place

An ar­ty “sa­lon” with a hea­vi­ly Bri­tish in­fluence. 76 Rue Notre Dame, 33000 Bor­deaux Tel: 06 73 65 31 96 www.pauls­pla­ce­bor­deaux.com

• Brad­ley’s book­shop

The on­ly En­glish-on­ly book­shop in the re­gion 1 Rue de la Mer­ci 33000 Bor­deaux Tel: 05 56 52 10 57 www.brad­leys-book­shop.com

• Tea Co­sy

Find some Bri­tish goods, plus cro­cke­ry, de­co­ra­tions, throws… use­ful and de­co­ra­tive items, Made in the UK. 60 Rue Bouf­fard 33000 Bor­deaux Tel: 05 56 81 34 20 www.bou­ti­quean­glaise.com

• La Mai­son du Thé

250 teas, one of the most pres­ti­gious French tea houses 19 Rue des Rem­parts 33000 Bor­deaux Tel: 05 56 90 03 03 www.la­bou­ti­que­duthe.fr

• The For­tress of Blan­que­fort

A stra­te­gi­cal­ly im­por­tant fort in Guyenne which hos­ted the Black Prince. Ex­te­rior ac­ces­sible by Rue de la For­te­resse (Ave­nue du Gen­ral de Gaulle, to­wards Blan­que­fort centre) Tours must be re­ser­ved at the Mai­son du Pa­tri­moine de Blan­que­fort. Tel: 05 56 57 19 42

• A com­me­mo­ra­tive mo­nu­ment for Ope­ra­tion Frank­ton

Steles com­me­mo­ra­ting the “Co­ck­le­shell He­roes” Pointe de Grave, Le Ver­don-sur-mer

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