Lauded as one of France’s most popular wine regions, Bordeaux is an integral part of any wine lover’s itinerary. Saint-Émilion and the Médoc are home to some of the famous wineries and chateaus in the region. Wine excursions is a popular thing to do in Bordeaux. Aside from its flourishing vineyards and imposing edifices like castles, the city centre is an exciting destination for the stylish and sociable travellers.
How to Get There
The Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport is the main airport serving the region of Bordeaux. Depending on your airline carrier, you will be arriving at one of its three terminals: Hall A, Hall B, and the Billi Terminal. Over 30 domestic and international airlines have daily flights in and out of the airport.
To go to the city centre, you can choose public or private transport. The airport is about an hour away by bus or shuttle services. At 1.50 euro, the Liane 1 bus company is very affordable. For a more direct route, you can take the shuttle at Hall B. However, it is pricier.
If you’ve arranged for an airport transfer, car rental, or a taxi ride, you can reach the centre is less than 30 minutes. .
Like most cities in France, Bordeaux has an effective public transport. It’s highly advisable to use them when you go around the city. Travellers can purchase special passes to save money and make the most out of their visit.
Bordeaux CityPass is valid for 1, 2, and 3 days. Aside from unlimited rides to trams, buses, and river shuttles, you also get access to 20 museums and monuments, discounts, and a guided tour.
Another mode of transport in Bordeaux is the bike. V³ is a self-service bicycle that you can use from any of its 175 docking stations. The first 30 minutes are free, then you have to pay 2 euro per hour if you aren’t a member. Or you can simply walk around. It will help you save more money and allow you to appreciate more the beauty of Bordeaux.
Things to Do
While wines and vineyards may be the top things that come to mind when someone mentions Bordeaux, but this lively city is filled with historic and Avante-Garde marvels plus hip destinations that you’ll want to explore.
Not to be missed is the UNESCO-listed Port de la Lune (Moon Port) in the old city. There are notable squares, buildings, and quays that are worth visiting such as Place de la Bourse (Place Royale), Place des Quinconces and the Grand Theatre. Another tourist attraction is the Miroir d’Eau created in 2006. This amazing public art installation is considered the world’s largest reflecting pool.
Cite du Vin is the perfect destination for wine aficionados and for those who’d love to learn more about Bordeaux’s wine culture and history. More than a museum and a venue for exhibits and other cultural events, it’s a unique design makes it a notable tourist spot in Bordeaux.
And of course, located outside the city limits are wineries where you can do wine tasting, see how wines are made, and other exciting experiences.
Considered one of France’s best wine regions, Bordeaux’s nightlife is a pleasant surprise to many of its visitors. Its reputation makes people think that after dark activities here would be boring and conventional. However, the nightlife here is as vibrant and fun or more as in any other areas in France.
Grabbing a glass or bottle of liquor in one of the bars along Place du Parlement is a great way to start your night. Located in the neighbourhood of St. Pierre, you can get a seat inside one of its cozy bars like L’Alchemiste or simply hang out with your group in the outdoor seats.
If you’re up for a livelier party, head-on toward the area of the University of Bordeaux. The crowd is young and hip. Or you can go directly to the Quai de Paludate. Clubs here open very late and you can dance the night away till morning.
What to Eat
Bordeaux is a gastronomic delight - from its world-class wines to its Michelin star restaurants to its authentic bistros and chic brasseries. Go on an epic gourmet adventure and discover for yourself the scrumptious treats and tasty local dishes that await you in the city.
Begin your food journey by treating yourself with Bordeaux’s iconic sweet - cannelé (canele). This ubiquitous confection is shaped like a tiny dome and is made with flour, egg yolks, and sugar. Burnt on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, it is flavored with rum and vanilla. Other treats for those with a sweet tooth include the Bordelais’ version of the macaron and the dunes blanches.
And as one of France’s biggest producers of farmed caviar, you should also try it here if you have the budget. Don’t forget to try their white asparagus, cepes mushroom, and their wide selection of meat that are best paired with the local wines. One food that stands out is the entrecôte à la Bordelaise or seared rib steaks, a classic entree in Bordeaux.
Where to Stay
From charming hotel particuliers to idyllic B&Bs to stylish boutique hotels in the centre, there are many types of accommodations available in Bordeaux for any type of travellers. Moreover, the neighborhoods where most of the hotels in Bordeaux are located are very accessible to its main tourist attractions.
Home to most of Bordeaux’s top landmarks, the Old Town of Bordeaux is a good neighborhood to base yourself in. Another popular option is staying in the Golden Triangle neighborhood, where mid-range hotels are found. Luxury and quaint shops also abound in this area.
Saint Pierre, on the other hand, is an ideal place for history buffs. This hip neighborhood features historic sights such as Place de la Bourse and the Cathédrale Saint-André.
Within easy walking distance is Saint Michael neighborhood, known for its more affordable accommodations. It’s a multicultural neighborhood full of life and has great food and weekend flea market to explore. You can check attractions like Musée d'Aquitaine and the Basilique Saint-Michel when you stay here.
• Avoid buying bottled water. Tap water is safe to drink and it’s free!
• Planning to check most of the cultural attractions in Bordeaux? Getting a city pass will save you money.