Bordeaux, France, an elegant city 360 mi/580 km southwest of Paris and near France's Atlantic coast, is the heart of the famous Bordeaux wine region.

In addition, Bordeaux has some of France's best 18th-century architecture and a major fine-arts museum. Go for a walk along the river near the Quai de la Douane (Customs House Quay). The city is a walker's paradise, especially in the compact center, where the only transportation is an electric tram.

Long a bastion of conservatism, Bordeaux has loosened up considerably. The Gironde departement has been revitalized and the banks of the Garonne River have been transformed, with an esplanade of shops and restaurants replacing old river warehouses. Downtown, visitors should be sure to traverse Rue Charlotte, a shopper's nirvana.

Bordeaux has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the largest urban entity to be so honored.

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