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Bordeaux as a whole, rather than any particular points within it, is what you'll want to visit in order to understand why Victor Hugo described it as Versailles plus Antwerp, and why, when he was exiled from his native Spain, the painter Francisco de Goya chose it as his last home (he died here in 1828). The capital of southwest France and the region's largest city, Bordeaux remains synonymous with the wine trade: wine shippers have long maintained their headquarters along the banks of the Garonne, while buyers from around the world arrive for the huge biennial Vinexpo show (held in odd-number years). Today, much in the city is spanking new, courtesy of France's former prime minister, Alain Juppé, who became mayor of the city several years ago. As the gateway to marvelous Margaux and superlative Sauternes, Bordeaux—best entered from the south by the river—is 580 km (360 miles) southwest of Paris, 240 km (150 miles) northwest of Toulouse, and 190 km (118 miles) north of Biarritz.
Bordeaux at a Glance
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