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Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in southwest France, with one million inhabitants in its metropolitan area at a 2008 estimate. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called Bordelais.
The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes one of the largest urban areas of France. The city is among the world's major wine industry centres. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the eighth century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century.
Bordeaux's climate is usually classified as an oceanic climate; however, the summers tend to be warmer and the winters milder than most areas of similar classification. Substantial summer rainfall prevents it from being classified as a Mediterranean climate. Winters are mild because of the prevalence of westerly winds from the Atlantic. Summers are warm and long due to the influence from the Bay of Biscay.
Bordeaux has about 116,160 hectares (287,000 acres) of vineyards, 57 appellations, 10,000 wine-producing châteaux and 13,000 grape growers. With an annual production of approximately 850 million bottles, Bordeaux produces large quantities of everyday wine as well as some of the most expensive wines in the world. Both red and white wines are made in Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux is called claret in the United Kingdom. Red wines are generally made from a blend of grapes, and may be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit verdot, Malbec, and, less commonly in recent years, Carménère. White Bordeaux is made from Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Sauternes is a subregion of Graves known for its intensely sweet, white, dessert wines such as Château d'Yquem.
Bordeaux is served by an international airport, Aéroport de Bordeaux Mérignac, located 8 km (5.0 mi) from the city centre in the suburban city of Mérignac. The main railway station, Gare de Bordeaux Saint-Jean, near the centre of the city, has 4 million passengers a year. It is served by the French national (SNCF) railway's high speed train, the TGV, that gets to Paris in three hours, with connections to major European centres such as Lille, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne, Geneva and London. The TGV also serves Toulouse and Irun from Bordeaux. A regular train service is provided to Nantes, Nice, Marseille and Lyon. The Gare Saint-Jean is the major hub for regional trains (TER) operated by the SNCF to Arcachon, Limoges, Agen, Périgueux, Pau and Bayonne. Bordeaux is an important road and motorway junction. The city is connected to Paris by the A10 motorway, with Lyon by the A89, with Toulouse by the A62, and with Spain by the A63.
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