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Inland from France's central Atlantic coast, along the Gironde Estuary, lies the port of Bordeaux, best known for its superior wines. The new city is laid out with wide streets, spacious squares and many imposing buildings while the old quarter has narrow, crooked streets and numerous wooden structures. Places of interest include the Porte de Bourgogne, an 18th century arched gate, St Andre cathedral (consecrated 1006), Sainte Croix church, a 12th century Romanesque basilica, the Hôtel de Ville, the 18th-century Grand Theatre and several art museums. Excursions outside the city include Arcachon and the vineyards of St Emilion and Medoc.
During the twelfth century, the King Louis VI's son married Eleanor, the daughter to Duke William of Aquitaine. The dowry included the southwestern portion of France. But fifteen years later, the marriage was dissolved, and the dowry was returned. Eleanor quickly married the Duke of Normandy, who soon was crowned King Henry II of England. The three centuries that followed were filled with conflict between England and France, but in the final battle of the Hundred Years War, Bordeaux was won back for France. Later during the French Revolution, a group known as the Girondins were formed in Bordeaux. They were accused of conspiracy against the revolution and executed in 1773.
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