When talking about Bordeaux, there are many interesting places to visit and enjoy, both in the city centre and in the outskirts of the city. However, there will always be some that are much more popular and attractive, such as the Water Mirror. This is an obligatory stop for locals and visitors alike.
Every day, no matter what time of year, hundreds of people flock to Bordeaux’s water mirror. Here, they can have fun with the jets, especially children, or simply share this pleasant local atmosphere.
What is the water mirror of Bordeaux?
Built in 2006, the Bordeaux Water Mirror is special. Although there are many more in Europe and other continents, this is the largest in the world. It is 3,450 m2 in size. It is also free of charge and is located in the heart of the city centre.
It is a huge rectangular area between the Place de la Bourse and the Garonne River. It was designed by the French architect Michel Corajoud as a meeting place for locals and tourists. It is also surrounded by numerous buildings of great importance to Bordeaux, such as the impressive Cité du Vin.
Bordeaux has undergone a great change in recent decades. After several years of some discovery, some of the main elements have gradually been refurbished and improved. And the Water Mirror is one of the highlights.
This particular space has different jets of water on the floor, which release the liquid every few minutes. This does not mean that it is some kind of swimming pool or something similar. On the contrary, it also has a meticulously timed drainage system.
The water is only able to occupy a few millimetres of the surface. This results in a kind of mirror of immense proportions that allows the reflection of the beautiful and impressive neoclassical buildings in the surrounding area to be included.
If we were to make a sort of selection of the most photographed places in the city, it would be at the top of the list. Above all, because of the increasing number of tourists who come here every day.
Unlike other bodies of water, here visitors are allowed to walk and jump on the water surface. Although children are the ones who enjoy the most the length and breadth of the expanse, summer days usually bring together young and old alike.
Best time to visit
Any time of year is a good time to visit the Bordeaux Water Mirror. Perhaps spring-summer is the best time of year. Besides the longer days, the warmer temperatures will give you the opportunity to play a little among the water jets like a child.
If we had to choose a time to do it, without a doubt, around sunset is the right time. As the sun sets between the buildings, the effect or reflection on the water is simply amazing. Little by little the lights come on and everything is marked.
How to reach the water mirror?
It is right in the middle of the Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, considered to be the most important square in the city. It is right in the centre, just a few metres from the old town.
You can get there in just a few minutes by public transport. However, the best way to get there is definitely on foot, as it will allow you to see many more fascinating places.
Don’t worry, as it is right in the centre, you won’t get lost. As we have already said, it is one of the points of greatest interest for locals and visitors to Bordeaux. However, If you feel like you’d like to know more about it, you can take a look at our private and group tour around Bordeaux.
History of the water mirror
Despite being a beautiful city, Bordeaux around 30 years ago was a little neglected and forgotten, especially in the city centre. Many warehouses used to be concentrated here to store the goods that were traded in the port, but they fell into disuse, leaving a rather sad picture.
In the early 2000s, the local administration set out to give a new face to the city, especially as it was the very centre of the city. It was then that work began on the construction of a 4-kilometre-long promenade along the Garonne river.
The Place de la Bourse was included in this redevelopment. The plan was to create a sort of gallery that would serve to reflect the façade of the city’s current Chamber of Commerce.
This is how the water mirror, an icon of Bordeaux, was born. Hundreds of people flock to it every day during its 12 hours of operation.
If you are considering visiting this beautiful French city, you should know that the water mirror is open from 10 am to 10 pm in a single cycle.
The way it works is quite particular. For fifteen minutes, jets of water are released and gradually fill the surface. Once the level is reached, it remains at rest for five minutes before releasing a kind of mist created by water vapour. This rises from the ground for another five minutes and then starts again.
This cycle is maintained throughout the hours of operation, regardless of the day or the time of year.