Handsome monuments, lively street life, a great slice of old and new Bordeaux.
Victory Square, a key downtown crossroads.
Once the site of medieval fairs, jousts, and other celebrations, the Place de la Victoire is still important in the city's public life. The architecture dates from the 18th-century reubanisation, such as the Porte d'Aquitaine, finished in 1756 as a triumphal arch, incorporating heraldic and municipal symbols. The most recent addition was in 2005, in the form of a pink-marble obelisk and a pair of sculptures by the Czech artist Ivan Theimer in this pedestrian area, ground zero for the city's bohemian, artistic, and student life. A great way to soak up the local atmosphere for a couple of hours is watching the quaint streetcars pass by and street performers at their music and performance art while enjoying a drink or a coffee at one of the cafés around the plaza.