The Palais de la Bourse ©Bordeaux Palais de la Bourse
Beyond all these convention and exhibition centers and the multitude of meeting rooms in its hotels, what seduces organizers and attracts them in the first place to Bordeaux is obviously the charm of the city itself, the historical heritage of its downtown area classified as a UNESCO site, and the diversity of urban or natural activities that it can offer alongside events. Its art of living also, and its wines among the most famous in the world.
To experience this, and without going as far as Saint-Emilion or the Médoc, business groups can find a prestigious vineyard near Bordeaux and the Mérignac airport, the Château Pape Clément
, which is suitable for both tasting tours and corporate events. The first of the four grands crus bought by businessman Bernard Magrez, the place offers business tourists a step back in time, the first grape harvests dating back to 1252, shortly before the family of Bertrand de Goth, future Pope Clement V, acquired the property.
Today, it is a more recent chateau, dating from the 19th century, which sits in the middle of a park surrounded by 30 hectares of vines. Exclusive corporate events, whether high-end meals or meetings, are regularly organized in one or the other of its four salons, or even in all four simultaneously. But the castle is also dedicated to incentive activities, such as Cluedo and, of course, wine tastings. In this context, Château Pape Clément offers an original workshop, called B-Winemaker, where participants practice wine blending and create their own bottle, covered with a personalized label.
But the Château Pape Clément also offers its upscale setting to larger events. In its grounds, a pavilion purchased by Bernard Magrez from Annecy and reassembled there can host seated meals for 70 people, cocktail parties for 100 participants, or meetings and training sessions for 60 people, not to mention the outdoor areas in fine weather. For larger seminars, product presentations, and especially gala dinners and cocktails, the venue offers business groups several solutions with the Orangeraie, a 200 m2 room that can accommodate 150 people in theater format or for dinners, or the Cuvier room
The 250 m2 cellar room is organized, as its name suggests, around the immense vinification vats. In a more intimate style, but with a view of the barrels where the future grands crus are aged, the cellar room lends itself to meetings, cocktails and dinners for up to 60 people.
If you don’t come to the wine, the wine will come to you. Specialized in incentives and team building, Ateliers de Bacchus, founded by oenologist Pauline Champeil, offers to animate corporate events with a series of fun and friendly services around wine, for example, initiation to wine tasting workshops that can easily be inserted into a day of seminars or, within the framework of cocktails and receptions, stands where guests take part in oenological games or workshops going from table to table. This event provider also has, in its range of team building offers, an escape game or a “wine casino” with themed tables where participants stake chips during challenges, sensory games and general knowledge questions. Wine tours in Bordeaux and Saint-Emilion, walking rallies or “wine Olympics” in a wine estate: Ateliers de Bacchus also go beyond the walls of event venues to showcase the richness of the Bordeaux terroir to company employees and guests.
If they have the time, business tourists can perfect their knowledge by visiting the permanent exhibition of the Cité du Vin, which presents wine and its thousand-year-old history in all its aspects, whether cultural, spiritual or sensory. Celebrating not the wine of Bordeaux, but the wine in Bordeaux, the opening of the place in June 2016 marked a major step in the evolution of the Bassins à Flots business district
Laid out on the banks of the Garonne, its facade of glass and aluminum panels, designed by the XTU agency, evokes, with its bold curves, both the vines and the wine turning in a glass. Dedicated to the general public, the fourth largest museum in France outside the Paris region, with nearly 400,000 visitors per year, also derives part of its revenue from hosting events. This new emblematic venue in Bordeaux rents out its reception areas for beautiful cocktail parties for 300 to 400 people. Cocktails can also be held at the Belvedere, on the eighth and top floor of the Cité du Vin, the highlight of the tour, where visitors can enjoy a glass of wine while taking in a unique view of the city.
In addition to these opportunities for socializing, the Cité du Vin also has numerous meeting spaces with a 250-seat auditorium, four seminar rooms on the second floor and three others on the sixth floor, which offer a panoramic view of the city and the river. Finally, to enhance professional meetings,
The Cité du Vin also offers team building and incentive activities with three of its rooms reserved for introductory tasting workshops.
If the Cité du Vin has initiated the new dynamic of the district, the opening in June 2020 of the Bassins des Lumières has continued it. What was originally a German submarine base during the Second World War has undergone an arty transformation by becoming, after the takeover of the place by Culturespaces, the largest digital art center in the world. Immersive projections reflected on the water of the pools and the concrete walls offer a new look at the works of the greatest painters – those of Klimt, Renoir or Chagall in recent years, 2022 being devoted to Venetian painting and the Spanish artist Sorolla.
As well as the general public, companies can make the magic of the place their own for the duration of an evening, with the organization of a welcome drink in the four successive basins, a speech here and gala dinners and cocktail parties for 600 to 800 people at the end. During the evening, participants can enjoy the visual and sound experiences offered by the Bassins des Lumières, but a company can also play on the space to highlight its image with projections of logos or visual creations
With this large capacity, the Bassins des Lumières have enriched the possibilities for organizing large social events in Bordeaux, which until now have been directed to Hangar 14, in the Chartrons district, or to the Palais de la Bourse, in the city center. At the heart of commercial exchanges in the 18th century, this historic building has now been converted into a place for sharing ideas and regularly hosts conventions of large companies or scientific and medical conferences.
In the early 2010s, the owner of the building, the neighboring CCI, modernized it by adding a convention center with a 190-seat amphitheater and several contemporary meeting rooms. However, it is the historic part that attracts attention, as much for its charm as for its capacity. Flanked by rooms that can be used for sub-committees, its immense hall hosts plenary sessions and dinners for up to 600 people, and can accommodate up to 1,200 participants in a cocktail configuration.
The Palais de la Bourse’s offer does not stop there, as on the second floor seven rooms in a row, all with parquet floors, moldings, frescoes on the ceiling and period furniture, can be used for prestigious meetings and receptions. The second floor houses the 1855 space, in memory of the famous classification of Bordeaux’s great wines, organized into a large meeting room, three lounges and a foyer, all offering an exceptional view of the Port of the Moon.
Next door, sharing the same historical character, participating in the same way in the
architectural unit of the Place de la Bourse, business travelers will find a more intimate seminar venue, more gastronomic too, the Gabriel, named after the architect of the neighboring palace. This Bordeaux institution, bought in 2019 by the de Boüard de Laforest family, owners of Château l’Angélus, has been redesigned and hosts a tiered range of offerings with a cocktail bar on the first floor, then a bistro on the second floor offering friendly, lightly priced cuisine focused on seasonal produce and local producers. Just above, on the second floor, is Gabriel’s focal point with its starred table overseen by chef Alexandre Baumard. And finally, the third and last floor is dedicated to professional or private events for up to twenty people, whether it’s cocktail lunches and dinners or conferences and study days. Or how to link professional activity and art of living.
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!