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Lonely Planet review

Landscaping is artistic as well as informative at the Jardin Public . Established in 1755 and laid out in the English style a century later, the grounds incorporate the meticulously catalogued Jardin Botanique, founded in 1629 and at this site since 1855. It's arguably one of the nicest public parks in southwest France.

At the vast square esplanade des Quinconces , laid out in 1820, you'll see the Girondins monument fountain. Les Girondins were a group of moderate, bourgeois National Assembly deputies during the French Revolution, 22 of whom were executed in 1793 after being convicted of counter-revolutionary activities.

The recently completed facelift of the 4km-long riverfront esplanade incorporates playgrounds, bicycle paths and, everyone's favourite, a wafer thin 'swimming pool' that hot and sticky young Bordelaise roll about in throughout the summer months.

Pretty place Gambetta , a central open area ringed by shaded benches, also has its share of history – during the Reign of Terror that followed the Revolution, a guillotine placed here severed the heads of 300 alleged counter-revolutionaries.