Bordeaux (Bor-do'), the third seaport of France, and chief town in the dep. of Gironde, is beautifully situated in a plain on the left bank of the Garonne, about 60 miles from its mouth in the Atlantic, and 359 miles SSW. of Paris by rail. Transatlantic steamers can easily ascend with the flood to Bordeaux, which is accessible at all times to vessels of 600 tons. The commerce both by the Garonne and by railways is very extensive, and the long and crescent-shaped harbour, providing anchorage for 1200 ships, has a singularly noble appearance. The river is crossed by a bridge 532 yards long, erected in 1811-21. The archiepiscopal cathedral of St Andre, consecrated in 1096, is remarkable for its beautiful towers, designed and built by English architects during the English occupation. Bordeaux contains a faculty of science and letters (rebuilt in 1885-87, and constituting part of the university of France, with 1500 students), schools of theology, medicine, art, and navigation, an academy of arts and sciences, a valuable gallery of paintings, a museum, and an observatory. The Grand Theatre is one of the largest and finest buildings of its kind in France. The public library has upwards of 160,000 volumes. Pop. (1872) 190,682; (1891) 247,890; (1901) 257,638.
The principal branches of industry are the production or preparation of sugar, brandy, liqueurs, vinegar, tobacco, printed calicoes, woollen goods, casks, paper, earthenware, glass bottles, capsules, labels, and chemical products. There are large dockyards, but little shipbuilding. The old Canal du Midi connects Bordeaux with the Mediterranean. Except those of Champagne, no French wines have been so much exported to foreign countries as those grown in the dep. of Gironde, especially the Medoc, and known as Bordeaux wines. Some of them are red (known in England as Claret), others white. Brandy, vinegar, fruit, fish, lace, jewellery, ready-made clothing, and skins are also among the principal exports, the largest trade being with England and South America. Bordeaux is an important centre of the French cod-fishing ships for Newfoundland and elsewhere.
Remains of the Roman Burdigala, which was made by Hadrian the capital of Aquitania Secunda, are the so-called 'palace of Gallienus,' really the ruins of a large amphitheatre. Having suffered successively from Vandals, Goths, Franks, and Moors, Bordeaux was taken by Charles Martel In 735; as the capital of the duchy of Guienne, in 1152 passed, by the marriage of Eleanor of Guienne with the future Henry II. of England, under English dominion; and was finally restored to France in 1451. It was the birthplace of the poet Ausonius, Richard II. of England, and Rosa lonheur.