St. Emilion, France © Ralfgosch | Dreamstime.com
ITS World Congresses are packed with content and none more so than this year. While you can pick and choose to attend or participate in most of that content when you are in Bordeaux, there are numerous exclusive and unmissable opportunities you need to think about and decide on right now, or you will risk missing out.
So, think about Sunday 4 October, the day before the Congress has its official opening. And also Saturday 10 October, at the end of the event for those who stay a few extra days in this beautiful region. The organisers have put together a varied Pre- and Post-Tour programme that will provide once-in-a-lifetime sights, tastes and experiences. The hardest thing will be deciding which tour to take.
For example, will you choose the St Emilion or the Cognac tour? Both leave at 8.30am and run until 5.00pm. The delightful medieval village of St Emilion, in the heart of the world-famous Bordeaux vineyards, is enthralling. For a place whose name resonates throughout the world, St Emilion is actually quite small, so it is easy to get around. And of course this visit is about the wine – yes, there will be tastings – but it covers so much more. Similarly, with the day-long visit to Cognac: you will discover – and taste – the most famous alcohol in the world but the tour has been designed to cover so much more.
The other full-day trips, being held on Sunday 4 October and Saturday 10 October, include a tour to Arcachon on the Atlantic coast, 55km southwest of Bordeaux, which is also being staged on Tuesday 6 October. One of the highlights of this tour will be discovering the bay by boat and tasting local oysters.
Or you can opt for a full day in the Périgord, world-famous for its prehistory and gastronomy. This trip will take in the Vézère Valley between Montignac and Limeuil, which has no less than 15 sites that are listed as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Indeed, the day trip will take in the Lascaux cave, which holds on its walls man’s earliest paintings (estimated to be 17,300 years old), mainly featuring images of large animals.
The final, day-long excursion being staged as part of the programme is a visit to Biarritz, an elegant seaside town on France’s Basque coast, which has been a popular resort since European royalty began visiting in the 1800s. The city is full of palaces, prestigious hotels, casinos, golf courses, and a gourmet tradition that gives this city its charm.
If you can’t manage to take in one of the day-long tours, then don’t worry because there’s a range of half-day Social Tours throughout the week of the Congress. On Monday 5 October, there’s Half-day in Saint-Emilion
, from 8:30am to 12:30pm, which costs €95.00, excluding VAT. You will have the chance to discover abundant vineyards, superb wines, impressive monuments, and beautiful architecture.
1. Picturesque Dordogne valley in Perigord © Philippehalle | Dreamstime.com 2. The Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas vertical lift bridge 3. EUROVIA Research Centrein Mérignac 4. The Saint Andrew Cathedral in Bordeaux © Nonglak Bunkoet é Legrand | Dreamstime.com 5. Biarritz, an elegant seaside town © Gawel | Dreamstime.com
On Wednesday, there is the Shopping tour in Bordeaux
, from 9.00am to 12.30pm. A simple walk across the Triangle (formed by Cours de l’Intendance, Cours Clémenceau, and the Allées de Tourny), down the famous rue Sainte-Catherine, or through Old Bordeaux takes you to a wonder of shops and boutiques.
In French cooking, being held from 9.00am to 12.30pm on Thursday, you can learn how to make real Terrine of Foie Gras … and leave with your work! Alternatively, running at the same time on Thursday you can take part in the Half-day in Bordeaux tour during which you will discover the diversity of Bordeaux’s heritage. You will learn the story of Burdigala becoming the world capital of wine and the art of French living and experience how Bordeaux offers the charm and splendour of one of the most harmonious European architectural ensembles of the 18th century.
If you appreciate fine cheese, then also on Thursday is the Cheese cellar visit & dinner, but this trip, which runs from 9.00am to 12.30pm, covers a great deal more. For instance, if you have a good pair of lungs, you can walk up the 229 steps to the top of the Pey-Berland Tower for breath-taking views of Bordeaux and its monuments.
On Thursday evening, a not-to-be-missed trip is Bordeaux by Boat, from 7.30pm to 10.30pm, aboard the Sicambre to enjoy a beautiful dinner-cruise along the Garonne. Cost for the evening is €110.00 excluding VAT.
The final half-day Social Tour is Art & Wine in Medoc, which runs from 2.00pm to 5.30pm on Friday and, as the title suggests, is a special trip to see contemporary art integrated in the vineyards. The visit includes Le Château d’Arsac, and a guided tour of the winery will be followed by a tasting.
The eight Technical Tours carefully selected for this year’s ITS World Congress provide exceptional insights into transport technology and infrastructure. If you only had one word to describe the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas (a vertical lift bridge), that word would probably be ‘astonishing’. And, in future, this award-winning structure will become an iconic Bordeaux landmark. Meanwhile, the IT Traffic Management Centre of the City of Bordeaux tour will give you an inside look at how this facility continuously monitors and optimises urban traffic management as well as providing priority for trams and buses, parking management and timely and comprehensive traveller information.
More regionally,the DIR Atlantique Centre of Engineering and Traffic Management (French Ministry) – ALIENOR tour will enable you to study how 635km of national roads and motorways, including the Bordeaux ring road, are managed. Meanwhile, the Research Centre – Eurovia visit provides access to Europe’s newest research centre for the road industry where you will be introduced to numerous amazing innovations and will be able to discuss the road vision of the future. And talking of future concepts, take the CG33 Intelligent Road tour to discover an intelligent road in the tourist area of Arcachon Bay that will act as a model for other similar sites.
The insight that you will gain from the Thales Aircraft Cockpit Technologies is evident from the title of the tour, and if you are interested in maritime matters, you won’t want to miss the Bordeaux Harbourmaster’s Office tour, which will immerse you in port activities and technology.
How do I book a tour?
To participate in any of the tours and visits highlighted here, you must be a registered delegate to the ITS World Congress. Places on tours and visits are limited, and, to avoid disappointment, you should select any tours or visits you wish to attend when you register for the Congress.
You can check out in more detail all of the tours listed here in the Preliminary Programme, which you can download from www.itsworldcongress.com