Alcohol and theme parks aren’t natural allies. If you’re about to strap yourself in to something that spins and loops at high speed, the last thing that you should do is consume something that has the capacity to make you violently throw up. However, not every theme park is determined to get your blood pumping. Some just want you to sit back, relax and settle down with a glass of something red, white or pink.
Located in the heart of French wine country, La Cité du Vin is a testament to all things grape. Offering a self-described “spectacular journey around the world, throughout the ages, across countless cultures and civilisations,” the attraction is a “cultural centre dedicated to the universal, living heritage of wine,” according to the Bordeaux tourism board. Here, visitors can experience a range of temporary and permanent exhibitions in a spectacular space, all focused on the history and enjoyment of wine drinking.
The building, which looks like the top of a giant futuristic food processor, houses around 14,000 bottles of wine, distributed among 50 different vintages. For anyone feeling particularly adventurous, La Cité du Vin offers activities including blind tastings, as well as tours of the local landscape gardens and Wine Culture Library. However, many might prefer to enjoy the view from The Belvedere bar on the eighth floor of the complex, which offers extraordinary panoramic views over the city of Bordeaux.
Visitors can also take part in a series of “Multi-Sensory Workshops” that provide an opportunity to sample a selection of wines from the facility's cellar, while learning about their origins. These classes are delivered in either French or English, making them an ideal environment for tourists to learn a little more about their alcoholic surroundings. There are also cheese and chocolate-based “family friendly” events, meaning that anyone can get involved.
According to La Cité du Vin’s official website, “the Permanent Exhibition is very rich in content,” and can take between two and three hours to complete at a leisurely pace. While it might not provide the adrenaline rush of Universal Resort or Disney World, there’s little doubt that a day at this kind of theme park will make plenty of people very happy.