The neighbourhood divides neatly into two. Devote a day to the ancient wine-trading district of Chartrons, neatly hemmed in by cours Xavier Arnozan with its grand 18th-century mansions (south), bd Godard and bd Alfred Daney (west), riverside quai des Chartrons (east) and rue Lucien Faure (north). Exploring this mellow, fashionably laid-back part of town is a chance to take your foot off the gas and go slow. Book-end a well-spent hour discovering the quaint but insightful Musée du Vin et du Négoce with the bijou boutiques, antique malls such as Village Notre Dame and casual eateries on main street rue Notre Dame.
Moving north, the visual wham-bam of industrial Bacalan kicks in at the Bassins à Flot – wet docks cut off from the River Garonne by a lock. This area was marshland until the 19th century when the port, shipyards and docks were built and development continues. Allow a half-day for Bordeaux's sensational flagship museum, La Cité du Vin, followed by an alfresco lunch across the street at Familia and, assuming an exhibition is on, La Base Sous-Marine.