Bordeaux Travel Guide

By Admin | Last Updated August 26, 2019

Bordeaux in southwest France is a beautiful port city on the River Garonne. UNESCO World Heritage, Bordeaux offers the grandeur of Gothic Roman Empire. There are many 18th and 19th century palatial buildings and mansions, rich art museums like the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the majestic Place de la Bourse with its Three Graces fountain overlooking the Miroir d’Eau, and the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André. And of course, Bordeaux is famous for its wine growing region, which can only be compared with the Napa Valley of California – USA, Hunter in Australia, and Champagne of France. There are more than 100,000 vineyards here.

While at Bordeaux, take a stroll along the bustling roads. The architectural treasures and historical monuments from the time of Victor Hugo and Napoleon III will fill your heart with the richness that Bordeaux offers. See the illustrious past on display in the ornate buildings of the Golden Triangle area. The city center is pedestrian friendly.

You will find historical architecture and modern buildings side by side. Then there are gorgeous squares, including the Victory Square, which is the largest square in Europe. There is a thriving waterfront too where you will find many chic cafes and boutiques.

Bordeaux is a great city for people who like the good life. You will find gastronomy delight, wine, culture and arts, luxury shopping, and the true French spirit.

The city is 591.9 kilometers from Paris by the A10, which takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes. By train, it is between 2 hours and 25 minutes and 4 hours and 11 minutes, depending on which train you take. Bordeaux is a top tourist destination. 6.8 million tourists visited the city in 2018, including 33,200 cruise vacationers.

Bordeaux is popularly called ‘Port of the Moon’ because of its romantic location on a crescent-shaped arch of the Garonne River.

Bordeaux – Quick Facts

  1. Bordeaux, capital of Gironde department.
  2. After Paris, it is the 2nd most popular city in France. Bordeaux earns 930 million Euros every year from its tourism industry.
  3. The New York Times ranked Bordeaux as the 2nd major destination in the world for 2016.
  4. 'European Best Destination’ award in 2015.
  5. The city receives many business travelers as well.
  6. Ranked 9th for international conferences.
  7. Bordeaux, well connected with Spain and the UK, is a flourishing port city.
  8. Major wine distributor in the world.
  9. ‘City of history and art', there are 370 monuments and heritage building here, many of which goes back to the Roman times.
  10. Official language – French. 

Top Reasons To Visit Bordeaux

  • The majestic Grand theatre, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Place de la Bourse.
  • Unique artifacts, sculptors and heritage buildings make you re-live the classic era.
  • City of wine, treasure house of the world’s finest French liquor. Dedicated wine museum.
  • Magnificent libraries, exhibition halls, and auditoriums hosting theatres, film festivals and cultural programs.
  • Europe’s largest sand dune. Dune du Pilat offers the fun and excitement of trekking and climbing up 110 meters. 
  • Shopping. Rue Sainte-Catherine, and many other options.
  • ‘Vinotherapy’ for skin and hair treatment.   
  • Food – Great options. Oysters from the Bay of Aracachon, Paulliac lamb and mushrooms served with asparagus and Margaret. 

Top 10 Places to Visit In Bordeaux

  1. Le Grand Théâtre
  2. Cathédrale Saint-André
  3. Miroir D’eau
  4. Porte Cailhau
  5. Basilique Saint-Seurin
  6. Musée des Beaux-Arts
  7. Place de la Bourse
  8. Palais Gallien
  9. Esplanade des Quinconces
  10. Pont de Pierre

Transport in Bordeaux

Road – Bordeaux is an important road and motorway junction. The city has 76 bus routes, 14 night bus routes and also an electric shuttle service that travels along the city center between 5 AM and 2 AM. There are hundreds of taxis available 24 hours.

Rail – Gare de Bordeaux Saint-Jean in the city center is the main station. High-speed trains like the French national (SNCF) and the TGV can take you to Paris in 2 hours. There are train connections to Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam, Geneva and London.

Air – The Merignac Airport is 22.6 kilometers from the city center. Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport and Paris Orly Airport will also take you to the city.

Know Before You Go To Bordeaux

Use Public Transport Take the train or the public bus service. It is best not to take a car to the city. Also, avoid the taxis.
Carry Your Umbrella It rains quite a lot here. There can also be a sudden downpour, especially in the spring and fall.
Be Like A Native Pick up some basic French words, and a bit of local expressions, customs and social behavior. It is going to help you a lot in the city.
Lazy Sundays and Holidays Most locals don’t work on Sundays. Many pubs, bars, restaurants, and even the museums are closed. So check in advance.
Wine Tours You need to seek an appointment before visiting many vintage wine stores, especially if you are planning to visit around noon. Remember, white wines are opened only on prior appointment.
Beware of Pickpockets Always be careful with your bags and luggage. Bordeaux is ill-reputed for pickpockets, especially in crowded buses.
When Traveling Alone Visiting a pub or bar alone at night is not always a good idea. Do not accept a drink from a stranger.

What To Do At Bordeaux

  1. Hire a ferry ride cross the Garonne River.
  2. Enjoy skating, driving, riding, walking, cycling and jogging along the riverfront.
  3. Explore the world’s most beautiful vineyards on a supercar.
  4. Visit the wine museum, city libraries, St. Pierre – the historic heart of the city, and the St. Michael Gothic church.
  5. Enjoy shopping at Rue Saint Catherine – the largest street market selling everything from Renaissance to mid-h-century items.
  6. Play soccer and rugby.
  7. Relax at a public garden.
  8. Visit Europe’s largest square – the Victory Square.
  9. Photoshoot at the Water Mirror.
  10. Watch a movie at Utopia.
  11. Visit châteaux, bring home some of the best collections of wines.
  12. Get the ‘vino therapy’ spa treatment.

Best Time To Visit Bordeaux

June to August is the best time to visit Bordeaux. Most attractions will be open at this time of the year, and the weather in Bordeaux will also be very nice. However, expect more crowds and the prices will also be higher.

If you are on a budget, you can pick another time of the year, except close to the Christmas and the New Year time.

Weather in Bordeaux

Month Avg.High°C     Avg.Low°C      Avg.High°F     Avg.Low°F     Avg.Precipitation Days    
January       10.01        3.1      50.2      37.6              12.2
February       11.7        3.3               53.1      37.9              10.1
March       15.1         5.4      59.2      41.7                11
April       17.3        7.4      63.1      45.3               11.9
May       21.2        11.0      70.2      51.8               10.9
June       24.5       14.1      76.1      57.4                8.3
July       26.9       15.8      80.4      60.4                 7.1
August       27.1        15.7      80.8      60.3                7.5
September       24.0       12.9      75.2      55.2                9.2
October       19.4       10.4      66.9       50.7                 11
November       13.7        6.1       56.7      43.0               12.6
December       10.5        3.8      50.9       38.8                12.4

 

Bordeaux – The Wine Country

The wine region of Bordeaux is world famous, making some of the finest products anywhere in the world. The vineyards here cover 65 designations. There are more than 7000 individual châteaux, many of which have earned the prestigious ‘Best in Wine Tourism Award’.

Bordeaux offers everything for the good life. There is shopping, food, and of course, wine. You can sniff the divine fragrance of the rich liquor across the city. Visit the giant iconic oak and glass wine museum Cité du Vin.

  • At Cité du Vin, you can see more than 800 wine plantations from 80 countries.
  • Exhibits from 800 varieties of wines at the Belvedere, animated projections, events and shows on the art of drinking and living.
  • Wine themes at the museum draw 460,000 tourists every year.
  • Learn the process of wine making, including the use of equipment.
  • Experts from 60 countries offer lessons on various wine making and tasting processes.

The lessons and articles on wine making and tasting are available in audio CDs and DVDs. There is a huge wine bar on the rooftop overlooking Boudreaux.

Wine Trips At Bordeaux

Do not miss the dark, deep, unique flavor of wine at the stone winery in Cascade Mountains. The owner of this cellar produces some of the finest handcrafted wines available. But remember, many big wineries and wine tasting cafes open only by prior appointment.

  • The cellar at 821 Front Street, Leavenworth and The Winery shop serve every day.
  • Domain de Chevalier is famous for its state-of-the-art multi-estate bottling facility. Take a stroll around. You can learn a lot about Bernard estates and come across the oak egg and unique cement vats.

The Dordogne and the Garonne rivers take you through the châteaux of spectacular beauty and elegance. In Bordeaux, there are 7,380 chateaux that serve around 920 million bottles of wine in a single vintage. Every châteaux has been designed to display the finest culture of the land. You can even stay here and enjoy the delightful food offered. This may cost you around £3,195pp weekly.

Top Chateaux In Bordeaux

Château de Montaigne In the Dordogne department, the majestic mansion bears a neo-renaissance flavor. Try both white and red wines. It is 54 minutes by road from Bordeaux.
Chateaux St. Estephe The largest appellation of 56 different chateaux, popular for strong vintage, red wine.
Pauillac Occupies the largest city in Medoc where 545,000 cases of wine are produced each year. Check the rich, tannic, full-bodied wine paired with grilled beef.
St Julien Chateaux Savor the richness of the legendary drinks, Gloria and Leoville Las Cases. Get a hint of the powerful notes of smoke, earth, tobacco and truffle.
Margaux Bordeaux Sensuous flavor, silky tannins. Excellent combination of food and drink. Chateau Rauzan Segla, Malescot Chateau St. Exupery, Brane Cantenac, Chateau Giscours and Chateau Marquis dAlesme are among the best producing château.
Pape Clement The oldest wine producing estate known for their hospitality and diverse workshops. $266/night for 2 guests.
Cos d’Estournal Asian architectural grandeur. Classic wines.
Maison Noble de Saint Martin Wine tasting, wine tours and group traveling. Live the spirit of 15th century nobility.
Lynch bags Widely known chateaux in Medoc estates offers spicy notes.
Longueville Baron The citadel of Baron.
Leognan Visit for its splendid pastoral beauty.

 

The biggest and most celebrated wine city, Boudreaux, gives you the rare opportunity of arranging an exciting vin-de-table with aromatic Champagnes, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet, Malbec, and Merlot at the world-class breweries.