Bordeaux has been a very busy port throughout history, especially in its height during the mid 18th century when it was actually the second busiest port in the World at that time. Exporting wine was only part of the trade, Bordeaux was very important for many reasons and imported many exotique items from the West indies, sugar, tobacco & vanilla just to name a few. These historic trade routes propelled Bordeaux into being a strategic port during World War 2.
In fact when France was divided in 2 in June 1940, Bordeaux and the whole Atlantic coast was kept inside the nazi-occupied territory, while just a few miles East of the city was the border of what was called Vichy France, an area at the time still controlled by the then French government.
The Germans moved into Bordeaux and controlled the city and its port. A large submarine base, which holds 22 submarines was even built. Blockhouses and bunkers were constructed all up and down the Atlantic coast. Bordeaux was indeed considered a very important and strategic port. Interestingly enough, the wine trade however was of interest to the Germans, so it continued.
There are many interesting war stories that come out of Bordeaux - why the wine trade was of interest to the Germans? What was living in Bordeaux like during the war? Was wine really confiscated from big famous wine properties by the Nazis? Did they move into the beautiful wine chateaux and ransack the cellars?
Do you know the link between the film Casablanca & the city of Bordeaux or why the authors of the Curious George children's book series are also connected to this city? Finally did you know why the city of Bordeaux was spared from being destroyed at the end of the war?
The wine district of Bordeaux or the Chartrons district is packed full of history & holds many secrets - not only with stories from World War II, but also how this district, once it's own proper city, evolved from being a working center for the wine industry into a charming, hipster, antique, cafe and gallery-filled neighbourhood.
We have created a 2 hour walking tour that zig-zags through many of the narrow cobblestoned streets of the Chartrons and we answer all the above questions and hopefully give you a greater appreciation for this beautiful charming section of Bordeaux.
Check out group and private tours on the website for more information. We are looking forward to welcoming you to Bordeaux and sharing this special area with you!