Why you should visit Bordeaux
Capital of Aquitaine and largest city of the South West, Bordeaux is also the second city with the most Unesco classified monument of France. Bordeaux is not only a gorgeous city, but also probably the most famous city in the world for its wine: The Vin de Bordeaux.
Offering a range of monuments from Roman times to the most modern city of wine, a week-end in Bordeaux will allow you to discover many wonderful things.
When is the best time to visit Bordeaux?
The best month to visit Bordeaux are April, May, June, July, August, September and October. The coldest months are January and February and the most rainy January, February and November. Although, there is no rule and you can have a perfect stay in January if you do not mind the weather. Prices are likely to also be more affordable outside July and August.
How many days should I spend in Bordeaux?
You need a full day to discover the city center of Bordeaux and its main area. We recommend to spend at least a couple of days to discover Bordeaux and ideally a few days to also visit its vicinity.
Where to stay in Bordeaux
In Bordeaux, you have ample choice of hotels and vacation rentals. We both work in a company providing flats in Bordeaux, so do not hesitate to book directly with us at GuestReady!
The Historical City Center
While looking for an accommodation in Bordeaux, we recommend you to focus on the city center. Most of the historical monuments, plazas and museums are located there. It is also the most expensive area, so if you want to save some money, you can probably check one of the other options!
In the Chartrons
Located at the North of the city center, the Chartrons is a gentrified artistic neighbourhood of Bordeaux. Filled with cool bars and antique shops, it is the perfect place to spend a week-end in Bordeaux or more.
Bastide, unlike the other neighbourhoods is on the left side of the Garonne. The area is famous for its botanical garden and is only a few minutes away from the historical center. It is definitely not as nice as the other area we recommend, but also much cheaper.
What to do in Bordeaux
Visit some wine caves and wine bars
If Bordeaux was famous for one thing and one only, it would be its wine. You cannot say you visited Bordeaux if you did not spend some time tasting wine – and probably bring some back with you!
Bordeaux has many wine bars, we can recommend a few but do not hesitate to let us know if you loved other – we’ll try them on our next visit!
We found Le Flacon while wandering around Bordeaux looking for “natural” wines and were immediately attracted by their boutique. Their logo is an hare carrying a couple of bottle of wine – if you see it you should definitely follow the black rabbit! They are extremely helpful when it comes to choosing the right wine and detailing the story of each of the bottle we were interested about.
Le flacon offers a very large selection of natural wines and the cave is also opened as a bar which we still have to try!
Address: 9 Place du Maucaillou, 33800 Bordeaux
Aux 4 Coins du Vin
Aux 4 Coins du Vin is a wine bar situated in the historical center of Bordeaux. There, you can chose between various glasses and bottles from all around the world! The bar conveniently also serves some simple but delicious tapas. Eventually, it is also a wine cave: you can buy any bottle you liked.
Address: 8 Rue de la Devise, 33000 Bordeaux
Explore the Historical Center of Bordeaux
While you visit Bordeaux, you can spend a full day exploring its city center, walking or cycling around. We compiled a selection of our favourite place to discover while visiting the city center.
The Miroir d’eau – The Water Mirror
Probably the most photographed place of Bordeaux, and definitely worth a selfie, the water mirror le mirroir d’eau is unmissable.
Address : Place de la bourse. Bordeaux 33000.
The Porte Cailhau – Door Cailhau
Built in 1494 and 35m high, the porte Cailhau (Door Cailhau) is the most famous door and old entrance of Bordeaux. From its summit, you can overlook the Garonne and the roofs of Bordeaux, definitely worth the climb!
Adresse : Place du Palais, Bordeaux 33000.
Girondins Monument – The Monument aux Girondins
At the center of Place Qinconces, with its 43m high column, you cannot miss it! A beautiful water fountains, with its gorgeous horses.
Address: Place des Quinconces. Bordeaux 33000.
The Jardin Public – The Public Garden
A haven of peace in the heart of the city. The gorgeous Jardin Public is a perfect place to relax for an afternoon.
Basilica of St. Michael and its Fléche
The Basilica of St Michael, famous for La Fléche (the spire), its 114m high belltower. La Fléche is the second highest belltower in France after the Cathedral of Strasbourg.
It is possible to climb up to the belltower with a stair, and enjoy an amazing view over Bordeaux… if you are courageous enough!
Address : Cours Jules Ladoumègue. Bordeaux 33000.
Le Grand Théâtre – The Big Theater
Inaugurated in 1780, the Grand Théâtre is the opera house of Bordeaux. It was deigned as a temple of the Arts and Light, and it is as beautiful inside as it is outside.
Address: Place de la Comédie Bordeaux, 33000
The Pont de pierre – The Stone Bridge
The Stone Bridge is the first bridge built to cross over the Garonne. It connects the right bank and the left bank of Bordeaux. The bridge is 487m long and is open only to pedestrians, cyclists and trams.
Visit the City of Wine
Located in the North of Bordeaux, in Bacalan, La Cité du Vin is an atypical new-generation museum, dedicated to wine. It offers an immersive experience to discover wine and oenology (the science of wine) in 8 languages (including English).
The City of Wine is accessible to wine newbie as well as wine expert. You will discover vineyard from across the globe, the secret of wine production, the history of wine… You even have a dedicated area for children (it’s France, after all!).
The City of Wine is now one of the most famous attraction, located in an incredible modern building. We definitely recommend you to stop by while visiting Bordeaux.
Do not hesitate to book your ticket in advance for the city of wine.
Visit Bordeaux by bike
Bordeaux is with Strasbourg, amongst the most friendly city for bike in France. More than 2,000 bikes are spread over 179 nine stations, managed by Bordeaux Public Transport (TBM). All the monuments and point of interests are within 5 minutes of a bike station. Thus, this is the perfect way to visit Bordeaux!
You can rent a bike for 1.70€/day with 30 minutes free by pickup (2€ after that). To avoid the 2 euros payment, simply drop off your bike before 30 minutes and take another whenever you need one.
You can find more information on TBM website: www.infotbm.com/en/v3.
Where to eat in Bordeaux
With over 1,600 restaurants, Bordeaux is the French city with the most restaurant per inhabitant (1 for every 285 people living in Bordeaux). It is often ranked as the best city for French gastronomy, with Paris and Lyon!
Recently, many modern restaurants, lead by young chef opened and added a touch of modernity to the more traditional gastronomy. In our opinion, the food scene in Bordeaux is one of the most diverse of France: modern cuisine, famous Michelin-stars chef, street food, … everyone can find a place they love in Bordeaux!
Situated in the historical French Bo-Tannique serves French authentic but original dishes. We love the place: the dishes are delicious, the staff very friendly, the wine good and the price reasonable! Definitely one great place to stop by in Bordeaux.
Wine bar – Echo
Yes, wine can be fun! This is what they say at Echo, a delicious cave à manger. Here, you will find some seasonal menu (with meat free and veggie options), and some spectacular wine selection. If you are not a connoisseur, don’t worry, you will get some great advice! They only have two services: 7:30 and 9:30. Make sure to be there on time, and if possible, call before to book a table, as it gets very busy.
Brunch at Suzzi Kafé
Suzzi is a Nordic (Swedish) café, very trending in Bordeaux. They serve mainly swedish specialy, including cinnamon rolls , our smörgås (delicious open sandwiches) and raggmunk (swedish potato pancakes). It is the best place we found so far for a brunch of breakfast in Bordeaux! The dishes are very colourful and delicious, the coffee is amazing, and you can enjoy a seat on their little terrace! The only downside: you can’t book and it’s popular. Be ready to wait if you try to brunch there on Saturday or Sunday.
Burgers at Kokomo
Are the best burgers in America? Maybe, or they could be in Bordeaux in Kokomo. Kokomo Cantine Americaine (American canteen) is a restaurant located in Place Fernand Lafargue, one of the trendy area of Bordeaux food scene. Their burgers are simply delicious, and while it can be sad to not enjoy the traditional gastronomic French food while in Bordeaux – it is often good to be self-indulgent.
🗺: 9 place Fernand Lafargue, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Gourmet dinner at Garopapilles
For a modern and amazing experience of French cuisine, we recommend the 1-michelin star restaurant Garopapilles. Created by two young partners, a chef and a sommelier, it is the perfect place to discover the wine from the Bordelais as well as French modern gastronomy. As in most Michelin star restaurants, you will need to book quite a bit in advance to get a table.
At Philippe Etchebest brasserie: “Le quatrième mur”
Philippe Etchebest is one of France most famous chef – often compared to Gordon Ramsay as they both present TV programmes about competitive cookery and food. Both Gordon Ramsay and Etchebest have a restaurant in Bordeaux: Le quatrième mur (Etchebest) and Le Pressoir d’Argent (Gordon Ramsay). If you can afford it, we recommend to try both of those Michelin stars restaurant – altough if you can’t, le quatrième mur is also a high-end brasserie with more reasonable price. Located in one of the most iconic place of Bordeaux, the Place de la Comédie, you will enjoy a delicious and fresh meal conceived by one of France most famous chef.
What to do near Bordeaux
If you are spending more than a couple of days in the region, there are also plenty of places to visit around Bordeaux!
The Bassin d’Arcachon
Probably the most famous location around Bordeaux, the Bassin d’Arcachon is one of the favourite holiday place of French people. It is located at around 1 hour of Bordeaux, on the Atlantic coast.
The Bassin d’Arcachon is famous for its oysters, the biggest sand dune of Europe: The Dune of Pilat. It is a luxurious beach destination in France: do not expect cheap prices, it is France capital of Oysters after all!
You can discover more about Arcachon in our article: our favourite things to do in the Bassin d’Arcachon.
The Vineyards of the Bordelais
The Bordelais (the vicinity of Bordeaux) is without doubt the most famous place in the world for its red wine. Famous for its grand crues, often priced well above 100 euros a bottle such as Château Latour, Château Margaux or Château Cheval Blanc, the Bordelais is also producing very good and reasonably price wines. Visiting the domains is an excellent opportunity to discover wine as well as acquire some very good bottles directly with the winemaker.
In France, most of vineyards and chateau are opened to the public from time to time, you can find some examples of itineraries on https://www.itineraires-vignobles.fr/en/ and adjust it if you want to visit specific vineyards!
How to go to Bordeaux
Visit Bordeaux By Car
Bordeaux is located in South West of France and is very easy to access by car. Travelling from Paris, you will take around 5 hours to reach the city.
However – driving in Bordeaux is not a pleasant experience: the city is built around bike and public transport, and everything is done to discourage car driver inside the city. Once you reach Bordeaux, it is best to park your car and enjoy the city walking or biking. Only use your car if you plan to visit the region.
If your hotel or your vacation rental does not have a parking, you can easily find one on Parclick.
⚠️ In France, travelling by car during summer holidays on week-end is rarely a good idea. Almost the whole country will be on the road the first 2 week-ends of August, leading to huge traffic jam all around the country!
Visit Bordeaux By plane
Bordeaux International airport is situated 12km away from Bordeaux city center. Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport is one of the largest airport in France. Flights operate regular flight from all around Europe and North Africa to Bordeaux.
From Bordeaux Airport, you can take a direct shuttle to the city center. The transfer will take around 30 minutes. It is also possible to take a direct train to Bordeaux Saint-Jean or a taxi.
Visit Bordeaux By train
In France, we also recommend to take the train whenever possible. The trains system and the TGV (high speed train) are very reliable and quick. For example, Paris to Bordeaux will take only a couple of hours by train vs 5 hours or more by car.
The train will arrive at Bordeaux Saint-Jean, 15 minutes walk away from the city center. Finally, depending on your location, you can continue your transfer by public transport or taxi.
We love Bordeaux and the South West of France. Its picturesque street, its food scene, the wine…. what a perfect destination to spend a week-end and discover an authentic French city! Did you ever visit Bordeaux? If you did, let us know if we missed anything important!