Today’s museum was La Cite Du Vin – a museum all about wine, that is rated as the number two museum (out of 23) in Bordeaux by Trip Advisor.
I enjoyed my time there and found it to be very educational. But I had no idea that it would cost €20 and that over 80% of the exhibits require you to watch videos.
The €20 admission price was quite a shocker. Fortunately, I was on my own and not with a family group. That admission fee gets you access to the displays on the 2nd level and also access to the 8th level (the top floor belvedere for views and wine tasting).
On entering the 2nd level, visitors are provided with an electronic audio guide, set to the language of your choosing. The guide box hangs around your neck and is attached to a set of headphones. Throughout the exhibits, there are many signs that indicate the presence of an audio narrative. By placing the audio unit next to the sign, it initiates the narration in your selected language (through your headphones). Often, the video installation is interactive, requiring visitors to select specific topics by touching the screen. Once I got the hang of it, I found the audio-guide to be very useful.
The second level is not very large and could be walked through within a few minutes. But almost all of the available information is contained within the video presentations, that each need to be watched one at a time. To get through a fair amount of the information being presented, you need about three hours (most of which is spent standing in front of video screens)!
Fortunately, I attended on a Wednesday, at the end of November, so it wasn’t crowded. I imagine that this place would be extremely frustrating on a busy day during prime tourist season, because most of the video displays are not designed for mass viewing.
Some of the video displays are small and could only accommodate 2-3 people at the most. So, if you were to find yourself in a crowd behind people who were already viewing the video screens, it could be a long, slow process to get through them. As the museum was sparsely attended during my visit, I was able to access most of the video installations without much waiting. Thankfully!
The video installations are certainly educational, including information on wine-growing regions around the world; different wine varieties; how wine is influenced by the different ‘terroirs’; the history of wine making; etc.
About the only exhibit that wasn’t purely video-based was one of the most interesting. The exhibit contains several glass domes (containing video screens) as well as ‘trumpet-like’ pipes and addressed the topic of the aromas from wine. By squeezing little rubber bulbs, scents can be sniffed coming out of the pipes, and visitors are challenged to identify each of the scents. Very interesting.
After completing the exhibits on level 2, I headed up to the top floor to get my one glass of wine that is included in the ticket. The top floor belvedere is a nice space that gives a view over the city and the river. But the design of the building is not conducive to panoramic photography.
In short, the museum is educational but overpriced. Also, I wouldn’t take young children to this venue – they would get bored too quickly.