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Bordeaux

Transportation and Accommodations

Getting There

Bordeaux has its own airport (BOD) and offers direct flights to some locations in Europe. Coming from London, this was a very easy flight and there were frequent affordable options. If flying to Bordeaux directly is not an option, fly to Paris and catch a train to Bordeaux.

Getting Around

Bordeaux is a small city that can be covered largely on foot. Getting to and from the airport we opted to use uber or taxis as the trip was not too far and it was the easiest option.

Accommodations

Try to stay in the Old Town area, which makes it easy to explore the city by walking around. If you prefer hotels, the Best Western Grand Hôtel Français is a decent option. The hotel is small and cozy; it does the trick for a casual but nice place to stay that is very well located.

Things to do and see

Wine Tour

One of the main reasons to visit Bordeaux is to see its well-known wine region. There are many different options to choose between and tailor to your desires including half day and full day trips to Saint Emiliion, Medoc, chateaus, vineyards and wine shops for tastings. Depending on what sounds most appealing to you and what you have time for will help you narrow down your options.

Rustic Vines Wine Tours

Rustin Vines Wine Tours offers half day and full day trips. They offer small group tours daily and have various different options. We did the full day tour that met around 8:30 in the morning. The tour started in Bordeaux and headed to the Right Bank, known for Merlot and Cabernet Franc wines. We drove to Saint Emilion where we received a short walking tour of the town before visiting a wine shop for a tasting around 10:30. After the tasting, we drove to a Chateau (Chateau Tour de Pressac) where we received a tour of the property and learned about the wine made at the vineyard. The visit ended with a tasting of a few of the wines they produced.

From the Chateau, we drove back to the starting point and had lunch at the Rustic Vines shop. After lunch, the second half of the tour began and we drove the opposite direction to the Left Bank and specifically to Medoc. The Left Bank is known for Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Here we started at Chateau Haut-Breton where we received a tour of the property and learned about the wine produced before ending with a wine tasting. After the tasting, we drove to a famous estate to admire the chateau before heading to the final stop. The last stop was a wine shop called Cave l’Avant Garde where we enjoyed another tasting.

In total, the full day tour included a visit to Saint Emilion, two chateaus with wine tastings, and two wine shops with tastings along with a break for lunch.

Saint Emilion

Quaint tiny town about 30 minutes from Bordeaux that draws in wine lovers. The place is alive in the summer and very quiet in the winter, where you may run into just a few people. The town has cute cafes and wine stores along with a very nice hotel.

Medoc

Area that makes up the majority of the left bank of the Bordeaux wine region

Place de la Bourse

A beautiful square and the one that is typically associated with Bordeaux located on the edge of Old Town along the river. It is definitely worth venturing over to the river and admiring the facade

River Path

Due to its location, Bordeaux tends to stay warmer throughout the year. When visiting in January, we were lucky enough to have sunny and warm weather that was perfect for a stroll along the river. There is a path on both sides of the river that can be enjoyed by runners and walkers alike when the weather is nice.

Chateau Pape Clement

Chateau located between the center of Bordeaux and the airport. The Chateau offers organized tours of the property providing background on the vineyard and ending with a wine tasting. The daily tours are with medium sized groups (typically around 20 people) and last about 90 minutes. The tour is nice and the wine tasting at the end is a great way to end the trip. This can easily be squeezed in on the afternoon before flying out of the Bordeaux airport and works well with some time to kill as the property is about 10 minutes from the airport. The Chateau also operates as a hotel and has some rooms for guests that wish to stay in a Chateau.

Chateau Tour de Pressac

Chateau located not far from Saint Emilion with a beautiful property and gorgeous view over the vineyards as it sits up on a hill

Chateau Haut-Breton

Nice Chateau found in Medoc that offers guided tours and tastings. Drop-ins are welcome to stop by and have a tasting in the wine shop

Marche des Quais

Sunday market located along the Garonne river, just opposite Darwin. The market is set up with tents where people sell fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood (including oysters!), meats, cheeses, and more. If you walk through here on a nice weather day, it will surely be busy with people

Darwin

The Darwin neighborhood has a bit of an edge and different vibe to it than other areas in Bordeaux. The more hipster neighborhood is on the opposite side of the river as the Old Town area. The area has more street arts, boutique restaurants and is largely residential.

Rue Sainte Catherine

Busy shopping street in Bordeaux that is made for pedestrians only

Food and Drink Recommendations

Dinner

A Cantina

This restaurant is influenced by Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean and has a comfortable and casual atmosphere. The menu is great for those that like to share food as most plates are tapas. The food was excellent and would definitely recommend stopping in here for dinner. It gets quite busy and is helpful to have a reservation, but drop-ins are also welcome based on availability.

Le Petit Bois

French cuisine and wine bar in Bordeaux not far from the river. You are more than welcome to simply enjoy a few drinks or order a full meal. The interior of the restaurant is nicely decorated and has a good atmosphere.

Brunch

Cafe Kokomo

Tasty brunch location with an assortment of healthy options. The small cafe has California vibes and will certainly have a line outside as the breakfast hours turn to lunch on a nice day. There is indoor and some outdoor seating that is used when the weather is nicer.

Other Notes

Bordeaux is a perfect small city for a quick weekend trip and can also be feasible for a slightly longer trip where you take the time to visit different vineyards. For a longer trip, it would be worth looking into spending a night at a chateau that doubles as a hotel for a unique experience. Bordeaux is known to have a better climate than other places in France, and typically stays warmer in the winter unless you visit in an off year. This climate is what allows the region to produce such quality wines.

Visiting in the summer and fall will allow you to see the vineyards in their full beauty, with vines growing and green fields. However, this is also high season meaning tours will be booked further in advance, crowds will be larger and the city will feel busier. Choosing to visit in the winter or spring allows for less crowds, but also note that the vines are bare in the winter. It also provides visitors flexibility and cost savings when visiting in the off season.

Although in France, most people seem to speak English especially at restaurants, on wine tours, and in the hotels. The language barrier did not pose any issues.

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