Discover the rich history of the Port of the Moon with Bordeaux guide tours! The first settlement was detected in the 6th century before J.C. Due to its valuable strategic location, Bordeaux (which was christened Burdigala ) became a flourishing commerce center during Gallo-Roman period, which also made it the target of invasions. Battles over the port city along the Garonne River frequently occurred.
A turning point in Bordeaux history occurred in the 12th century when Duchess Eléonore of Aquitaine married the future King Louis VII, heir to the French crown. Upon their marriage, Louis became Duke of Aquitaine, and though an independent country, Aquitaine and thus Bordeaux, became linked to France. However, the marriage dissolved in 1152, after 15 years, stripping Louis VII of his title as Duke. Later that same year, the Duchess married Count Henri Plantagenet, who was crowned King Henry II of England two years later, thus aligning Bordeaux with England. This marked the beginning of multiple conflicts between France and England that spanned 300 years.
Under English rule, the city thrived, due in large part to the wine industry, as Bordeaux wine tours will uncover, and the city grew in importance as a commerce center. However, with the battles of the Hundred Years' War, the French rose up to assert control over English-held lands and Bordeaux was captured in 1451, marking the beginning of the end of the War.
After returning to French control, Bordeaux’s economy suffered, when the city halted wine commerce with England. Economic stagnation continued until the middle of the 18th century, when Bordeaux established itself as a port essential for trade. Bordeaux steadily increased its economic power as trade with French colonies boomed. Bordeaux emerged as the primary European distribution point for the cocoa, sugar, coffee and cotton from the West Indies.
The city was modernized and saw the construction of many of the architectural jewels still standing today, including the Arch of Aquitaine in Place de la Victoire, and the magnificent Opera and Grand Theatre. Bordeaux multi-lingual tours reveal splendid gardens and public spaces and classical bourgeois appearance, earning the city a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century.