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Your Ultimate Bordeaux Travel Guide 2024

Welcome to Bordeaux, France! The stunning beauty of this city is a must-see for any traveler. Bordeaux has a long history and culture, as well as some of the most stunning architecture in all of France. With its vibrant wine culture, amazing restaurants, stunning views, and incredible attractions, Bordeaux, located south of Nantes, is the perfect destination for travelers looking for a truly unique experience. This ultimate travel guide will explore all the best that Bordeaux has to offer, from museums to markets, and everything in between. Get ready to explore the best of Bordeaux!

Top 5 Things To See And Do In Bordeaux

  1. Visit The UNESCO World Heritage Site Of Bordeaux’s City Center: Bordeaux’s city center is an architectural masterpiece, with many buildings dating back to the 18th century. This area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so be sure to take a stroll through its charming streets and squares. Some notable places to visit include Place de la Bourse, Place des Quinconces, and the Grand Théâtre.
  2. Go On A Wine Tasting Tour: Bordeaux is one of the world’s most famous wine regions, and no visit is complete without tasting some of its delicious wines. You can join a wine tour that will take you through the vineyards and wineries of the region, where you’ll learn about the wine-making process and taste some of the finest wines in the world.
  3. Discover The City’s History At The Musée d’Aquitaine: The Musée d’Aquitaine is one of the largest history museums in France and is dedicated to the history of the region. Here you’ll find everything from prehistoric artifacts to Roman remains, medieval art, and modern history.
  4. Take A Stroll Along The Garonne River: The Garonne River runs through the heart of Bordeaux, and taking a stroll along its banks is a great way to take in the city’s beauty. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating where you can sit back and enjoy the view.
  5. Explore The Nearby Village Of Saint-Émilion: Just a short drive from Bordeaux is the beautiful village of Saint-Émilion, which is also known for its wine. The village is full of historic buildings and charming cobblestone streets, and the surrounding vineyards are some of the most beautiful in the region. Take a guided tour or explore on your own to fully experience this picturesque village.

Where To Stay In Bordeaux

  • Saint-Pierre: This is the heart of the historic center, and it’s a great place to stay if you want to be close to all the major landmarks and tourist attractions, such as the Place de la Bourse, the Cathedral, and the Grand Theatre. This neighborhood is filled with charming cobblestone streets, bustling squares, and picturesque terraces that are perfect for people-watching.
  • Chartrons: This district is located on the Left Bank of the Garonne River and is known for its trendy boutiques, antique shops, and vibrant nightlife. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love Chartrons for its lively market, which offers fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and wines.
  • Victoire: This is a student neighborhood that’s located close to the city center and has a youthful vibe. Here, you’ll find affordable accommodation options, as well as plenty of trendy cafes, bars, and restaurants that cater to the younger crowd.
  • Quinconces: This is one of the largest squares in Europe and is located at the heart of Bordeaux. It’s a great place to stay if you want to be in the thick of the action, surrounded by luxury shopping, upscale restaurants, and historic landmarks.
  • Saint-Michel: This is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood that’s located just south of the city center. It’s known for its lively market, multicultural community, and stunning Gothic church. This is a great neighborhood to stay in if you want to experience the true local flavor of Bordeaux.

Top Bordeaux Hotels

  • Intercontinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel: This luxurious hotel is located in a prime location in the heart of the city and offers stunning views of the city center. The rooms are spacious and elegantly designed, with comfortable beds and luxurious amenities. The hotel also features a Michelin-starred restaurant, a bar, a spa, and a fitness center.
  • Yndo Hotel Bordeaux: This boutique hotel is located in a quiet residential area and offers a more intimate and personalized experience. The rooms are beautifully decorated with vintage-inspired furniture and artwork, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel also features a lounge, a garden, and a terrace.
  • Le Boutique Hotel Bordeaux: This charming hotel is located in the historic center of Bordeaux and is housed in a beautiful 18th-century mansion. The rooms are spacious and elegantly designed, with unique decor and modern amenities. The hotel also features a cozy bar, a library, and a terrace.
  • La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez: This elegant hotel is located in a quiet residential area and features beautifully decorated rooms that blend classic and modern styles. The hotel also features a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa, a fitness center, and a swimming pool. The hotel also offers wine tasting experiences at its on-site winery.
  • Hotel Se Seze Bordeaux: This stylish hotel is located in a historic building in the city center and features chic and modern rooms with luxurious amenities. The hotel also features a bar, a lounge, a terrace, and a spa. Guests can also rent bikes to explore the city.

Where To Eat In Bordeaux

When it comes to dining in Bordeaux, there is no shortage of options for food lovers. Whether you are looking for traditional French cuisine or international flavors, this city has it all. Here are the top five places to eat in Bordeaux:

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  1. Le Bistrot Du Gabriel: This Michelin-starred restaurant located in the heart of Bordeaux is a must-visit for foodies. With a menu that changes seasonally and features fresh, local ingredients, the dishes here are simply amazing.
  2. Le Chapon Fin: This elegant restaurant has been around for over a century and is known for its creative cuisine and impeccable service. Be sure to try their signature dish, the roast pigeon, which is simply divine.
  3. L’Entrecôte: This cozy bistro is famous for its simple yet delicious menu of steak frites. The portions are generous and the meat is cooked to perfection.
  4. La Tupina: For a truly authentic Bordeaux dining experience, head to La Tupina. This rustic restaurant serves up classic French dishes such as foie gras, confit duck, and roasted lamb, all cooked over an open fire.
  5. La Belle Epoque: This charming restaurant is located in the historic Chartrons neighborhood and is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner. The menu features a mix of French and Mediterranean cuisine, and the wine list is extensive.

No matter where you choose to dine in Bordeaux, you are sure to have a memorable culinary experience. Bon appétit!

How To Get Around Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a fairly compact city, which makes it easy to get around on foot. However, there are several other transportation options available for those who want to explore further.

  • Tram: The tram network in Bordeaux is extensive, affordable, and reliable. There are four lines, which connect the city center with the suburbs and other areas of interest. Tickets can be purchased from vending machines or on board the tram.
  • Bus: Bordeaux also has an extensive bus network, which is ideal for those looking to explore the city’s more remote neighborhoods. Tickets can be purchased from vending machines or on board the bus.
  • Bike: Bordeaux is a very bike-friendly city, with over 700 km of cycle lanes. There are numerous bike rental options available throughout the city, including the VCub bike share program. If you plan on using a bike, be sure to follow traffic laws and be mindful of pedestrians.
  • Walking: As mentioned earlier, walking is a great way to get around Bordeaux. Most of the city’s attractions are within walking distance of each other, so put on some comfortable shoes and enjoy a leisurely stroll.
  • Taxi: Taxis are available throughout the city and can be hailed on the street or reserved in advance. Taxis can be expensive, so be sure to confirm the fare with the driver before starting your journey.
  • Uber: Uber is available in Bordeaux, and is a great option for those looking for a more affordable and convenient alternative to traditional taxis.
  • Car Rental: If you plan on exploring Bordeaux’s surroundings, renting a car may be a good option. Several car rental companies have locations throughout the city, including at the airport. Be aware that driving in Bordeaux can be challenging, especially in the city center, where traffic can be heavy and parking can be limited.

No matter what mode of transportation you choose, be sure to take advantage of Bordeaux’s excellent public transport system, which is easy to use and affordable. Happy exploring!

Bordeaux Weather

Bordeaux has a temperate oceanic climate, with mild winters and warm summers. The city is located in southwestern France, and its weather is greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream. Here is what you can expect from the weather in Bordeaux throughout the year:

  • Spring (March – May): Spring is a great time to visit Bordeaux, as the city blooms with flowers and the temperatures begin to warm up. During the daytime, temperatures usually range from 12°C (53°F) to 18°C (64°F), but can reach up to 22°C (72°F) on sunny days. In the evenings, temperatures drop to around 7°C (45°F), so be sure to pack a jacket or sweater.
  • Summer (June – August): Summer in Bordeaux is warm and sunny, with temperatures averaging between 20°C (68°F) to 25°C (77°F) during the day. However, temperatures can reach up to 35°C (95°F) during heat waves, which can be uncomfortable for some visitors. The evenings are warm, usually around 15°C (59°F), so light layers are recommended.
  • Fall (September – November): Fall in Bordeaux is mild, with temperatures ranging from 11°C (52°F) to 19°C (66°F) during the day. It is also a great time to visit as the leaves begin to change colors and the vineyards are at their most beautiful. In the evenings, temperatures drop to around 6°C (43°F), so be sure to pack a warm jacket.
  • Winter (December – February): Winter in Bordeaux is cool and rainy, with temperatures averaging between 6°C (43°F) to 10°C (50°F) during the day. Nights can be chilly, with temperatures dropping to around 3°C (37°F). Be sure to pack warm layers and rain gear, as precipitation is common during this season.

Overall, the best time to visit Bordeaux weather-wise is from April to June and September to November when the temperatures are mild and the crowds are fewer. However, regardless of the season, there is always something to do and see in this beautiful city.

Best Time To Visit Bordeaux

The best time to visit Bordeaux is between May and October, when the weather is pleasant and the city is bustling with activity. Summer months from June to August tend to be crowded, but the region is known for its sunny weather, which makes it perfect for exploring the vineyards and outdoor attractions. Spring is also a great time to visit Bordeaux, with mild temperatures and fewer crowds. Fall is harvest season, and it’s an excellent time to see the vineyards turn golden, taste fresh grapes, and explore the local wine festivals.

Winter in Bordeaux can be rainy and cold, but the city still has a lot to offer, including Christmas markets and indoor attractions such as museums and galleries. You can also find some great deals on flights and hotels during the offseason. However, if you’re a wine enthusiast, note that many vineyards and chateaus may be closed during the winter months.

Overall, the best time to visit Bordeaux depends on your interests, budget, and travel style. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or wine tasting, you can find something to do in Bordeaux any time of the year. Plan ahead and check the weather forecast before your trip, and you’ll have a fantastic time exploring the best of Bordeaux.

How To Stay Safe In Bordeaux

As with any destination, it’s important to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings while traveling in Bordeaux. While the city is generally considered safe, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a trouble-free trip:

  • Be Cautious In Touristy Areas: Pickpocketing and scams are not uncommon in crowded tourist areas. Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid displaying valuables.
  • Be Mindful Of Your Alcohol Consumption: Bordeaux is known for its world-renowned wine, but excessive drinking can put you in risky situations. Be sure to pace yourself and always have a sober companion.
  • Avoid Walking Alone At Night: Stick to well-lit and populated areas when walking at night. If possible, use public transportation or taxis instead.
  • Take Extra Precautions When Using Public Transportation: Keep your belongings close and be wary of anyone who approaches you for money or assistance.
  • Stay Up-To-Date With Travel Advisories: Check with your embassy or travel authorities for any potential risks or safety concerns before your trip.

By following these basic safety tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience in Bordeaux. As always, trust your instincts and exercise caution in any unfamiliar situations.

Bordeaux Customs and Etiquette

As a tourist in Bordeaux, it’s important to understand the customs and etiquette of the locals. Here are some tips to keep in mind during your stay:

  • Dress Code: In Bordeaux, locals dress casually yet elegantly. It’s best to avoid shorts and flip-flops when walking around the city. Dress appropriately for the occasion, especially when dining in fine restaurants.
  • Greetings: When meeting someone new, greet them with a handshake. If you are meeting a French person, address them with their formal title “Monsieur” or “Madame.”
  • Dining: Table manners are important in France. Keep your hands on the table, not on your lap. Don’t begin eating until everyone at the table has been served, and always use utensils when eating.
  • Language: Even though most locals in Bordeaux speak English, it’s important to learn a few French phrases to show respect. “Bonjour” (good morning), “Merci” (thank you), and “Au revoir” (goodbye) are common greetings to know.
  • Tipping: Tipping in Bordeaux is not required but appreciated. A standard tip is 10% of the total bill.

By following these customs and etiquette, you can blend in with the locals and show respect for their culture. Remember to always be polite and courteous, and your stay in Bordeaux will be even more enjoyable.

Other Things To Know About Bordeaux

Bordeaux is located in southwestern France and is the capital of the Gironde department. The currency used in France is the Euro (€) and the official language spoken is French. The time zone in Bordeaux is Central European Time (CET) which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1).

Aside from its famous wine industry, Bordeaux is known for its beautiful architecture and history. Visitors can explore the city’s many museums, such as the Musée d’Aquitaine, which covers the history of Bordeaux and the surrounding region. Additionally, there are many beautiful churches and cathedrals to visit, such as the stunning Gothic-style Basilica of St. Michael. It’s important to note that smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public spaces in France, including restaurants and cafes. The legal drinking age in France is 18, but it’s common for children to be offered a small glass of wine with their meal. Tipping is not expected in France, but rounding up the bill or leaving a few euros as a gesture of appreciation is appreciated.

Travelers should also be aware of pickpocketing in tourist areas and take necessary precautions to keep their belongings safe. The French emergency number is 112, which can be used for medical emergencies, police, and fire services. Overall, Bordeaux is a beautiful city rich in history and culture, and a visit here is sure to be a memorable experience.

Bordeaux Travel Costs

Like any trip, it’s important to budget your travel costs beforehand to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip to Bordeaux. Here’s a breakdown of the costs you can expect to incur while exploring the city:

  • Accommodation: Hotels in Bordeaux can be quite pricey, especially during peak travel season. Expect to pay anywhere from €80 to €200 per night for a mid-range hotel. If you’re traveling on a budget, you can opt for hostels or budget hotels which can cost between €20 to €60 per night.
  • Transportation: The good news is that Bordeaux is a walkable city and most of the main attractions can be reached by foot. However, if you plan to take public transportation, a single ticket costs €1.70 and can be used for up to one hour. If you’re planning on taking several trips in one day, a day pass costs €4.50. Taxis are also available but can be expensive, costing around €10 for a short ride.
  • Food And Drinks: Dining out in Bordeaux can be a bit pricey but the food is worth it. A decent meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost around €20 to €30. If you’re on a budget, you can opt for a sandwich or crepe from a street vendor which will cost around €5 to €10. Bordeaux is also famous for its wine, which can range from €5 to €50 per bottle.
  • Activities: Most of the main attractions in Bordeaux are free, including the beautiful architecture, the public gardens, and the markets. However, some museums and galleries do charge an entrance fee which can cost around €10 to €15.
  • Miscellaneous: Other expenses to consider include travel insurance, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous expenses. It’s important to budget for these as well to ensure that you have enough money for the entire trip.

Overall, a trip to Bordeaux can range from moderate to expensive, depending on your preferences and budget. However, there are ways to save money such as booking accommodation in advance, taking public transportation, and eating at local markets and street vendors. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy all that Bordeaux has to offer without breaking the bank.

Finding Affordable Flights To Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a popular tourist destination, so flights can be expensive, especially during peak season. However, with a little research and planning, it’s possible to find affordable flights to Bordeaux. Here are some tips to help you find a great deal:

  • Book In Advance: Booking your flights well in advance can often save you money. Try to book your flights at least a few months in advance to take advantage of the best deals.
  • Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates: If you’re able to be flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to find cheaper flights. Check prices for different days of the week and different times of the day to see if you can save money by traveling on less popular days.
  • Consider Budget Airlines: Budget airlines can often offer cheaper flights, but be aware that they may have extra fees for things like checked baggage and seat selection. Some budget airlines that fly to Bordeaux include Ryanair, easyJet, and Vueling.
  • Use Flight Comparison Websites: Using websites like Skyscanner or Google Flights can help you compare prices across different airlines and find the cheapest flights.
  • Look For Deals And Promotions: Keep an eye out for special deals and promotions from airlines, travel agencies, and credit card companies. These can often offer significant discounts on flights to Bordeaux.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to find affordable flights to Bordeaux and start planning your dream trip to this beautiful city.

Backpacking Bordeaux Suggested Budgets

Bordeaux is a beautiful and vibrant city that offers travelers an incredible experience without breaking the bank. Whether you are traveling on a tight budget or want to save some money while exploring this fantastic destination, there are plenty of options for you. Here are some suggested budgets for backpackers visiting Bordeaux.

Low Budget: $25-35 per day

If you are on a tight budget, you can still have a great time in Bordeaux. Hostels are an excellent option for backpackers, with prices ranging from $10-15 per night. Food and drink are also relatively cheap, with street food and cafes serving affordable meals for around $5-10. You can also enjoy some of the free activities and sights in Bordeaux, like walking tours, parks, and markets.

Mid-Range Budget: $50-70 per day

If you are willing to spend a bit more, you can upgrade your accommodation to a private room in a hostel or a budget hotel. Food and drink options also expand, with more diverse restaurants and cafes offering more significant meal options. You can also take advantage of some paid attractions and experiences, like museum visits and wine tastings, while still staying within your budget.

Luxury Budget: $100+ per day

If you are looking for a more luxurious experience, Bordeaux has plenty of high-end options. You can stay in boutique hotels or apartments, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and indulge in some of the best wines in the world. With a higher budget, you can also take part in more premium experiences, like private tours or cruises.

No matter what your budget is, Bordeaux offers a wealth of experiences and activities for all travelers. By following these suggested budgets, you can make the most of your time in this fantastic city without overspending.

Bordeaux Money Saving Tips

Visiting Bordeaux can be an incredible experience, but it can also be expensive. However, with a little bit of planning and some savvy budgeting, you can still enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer without breaking the bank. Here are some Bordeaux money saving tips to help you stretch your travel budget a little bit further.

  • Explore The City On Foot Or By Bike: One of the best ways to save money in Bordeaux is by exploring the city on foot or by bike. Many of the major sights are located within walking or biking distance of each other, and you’ll be able to soak up the city’s ambiance as you go.
  • Look For Free Attractions And Events: Bordeaux has many free attractions and events that you can take advantage of during your trip. The city’s public gardens, museums, and galleries often have free admission, and there are also many free festivals and concerts throughout the year.
  • Eat Like A Local: If you’re looking to save money on food during your trip to Bordeaux, one of the best ways to do so is by eating like a local. Seek out local markets, boulangeries, and charcuteries to try delicious, authentic French cuisine without the high prices of restaurants.
  • Use Public Transportation Wisely: Bordeaux has a great public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and a bike-share program. Using public transportation can save you money on taxis or car rentals, but make sure to plan your routes ahead of time to avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • Avoid Peak Season: If you’re looking to save money on your trip to Bordeaux, consider traveling during the shoulder season (April to June or September to November). During peak season (July and August), prices for hotels, flights, and attractions tend to be higher.

With these Bordeaux money saving tips, you can enjoy all that this stunning city has to offer without breaking the bank. Happy travels!

What To Pack For Bordeaux

Packing for Bordeaux will largely depend on the time of year you visit and the activities you plan to do. Here are some essentials to consider bringing:

  1. Comfortable Walking Shoes: Bordeaux is a city meant for walking and exploring. Comfortable shoes are a must.
  2. Light Jacket Or Sweater: Even in the summer months, it can get cooler in the evenings. A light jacket or sweater will keep you comfortable.
  3. Rain Jacket Or Umbrella: Bordeaux can experience rainfall throughout the year. Be sure to pack a rain jacket or umbrella just in case.
  4. Sunscreen: The sun can be strong in the summer months, so pack sunscreen to protect your skin.
  5. Adapter: France uses the European standard plugs, so be sure to pack an adapter to keep your electronics charged.
  6. Camera: With beautiful architecture and landscapes, you’ll want to capture your experiences in Bordeaux. Don’t forget your camera!
  7. A Nice Outfit: Bordeaux is known for its wine and dining culture. Pack a nice outfit for a fancy dinner or night out.
  8. Swimsuit: If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to pack a swimsuit for the beaches near Bordeaux.

Overall, pack light and remember that Bordeaux is a casual city. Stick to comfortable and versatile clothing items that can easily transition from day to night.

Can You Drink Tap Water In Bordeaux?

Yes, you can drink tap water in Bordeaux! The city’s water is treated and meets European Union standards, making it safe to drink. It’s a great way to save money on bottled water while staying hydrated during your travels. If you’re worried about the taste or prefer chilled water, you can also opt for carafes of tap water served in many restaurants. And if you’re staying in an Airbnb or apartment, you can always boil tap water before consuming it if that makes you feel more comfortable. Overall, drinking tap water in Bordeaux is a safe and environmentally friendly option. Just be sure to bring a reusable water bottle with you to refill on the go!

Other Things To See And Do In Bordeaux

If you’re still hungry for more adventures, Bordeaux offers plenty of other attractions and activities to explore. Here are some more things to see and do in Bordeaux:

  • Visit The Musée Des Beaux-Arts De Bordeaux: This art museum boasts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative art from the 15th to 21st centuries.
  • Go On A Wine Tasting Tour: As one of the world’s most famous wine regions, Bordeaux offers countless opportunities to taste its signature red blends, as well as other local varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
  • Explore The Saint-Emilion Wine Region: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this charming town is located just a short drive from Bordeaux and is surrounded by picturesque vineyards and wineries.
  • Take A River Cruise: A leisurely boat ride along the Garonne River is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and take in views of the iconic Pont de Pierre bridge.
  • Visit The Cité Du Vin: This modern museum offers interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations that showcase the history, culture, and diversity of wine from around the world.
  • Discover The Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André: Dating back to the 13th century, this stunning cathedral features intricate stone carvings, stained glass windows, and a soaring bell tower.
  • Go Shopping On Rue Sainte-Catherine: As one of Europe’s longest shopping streets, Rue Sainte-Catherine is home to a mix of popular chain stores, local boutiques, and specialty food shops.
  • Explore The Jardin Public: This spacious public park is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to relax, jog, and enjoy the lush greenery and ornate fountains.

With so much to see and do in Bordeaux, there’s no shortage of options for travelers of all interests. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, wine, or just soaking up the local atmosphere, this charming French city has something to offer everyone.

The Bottom Line

Bordeaux is a must-visit destination for wine lovers, history buffs, and those looking for a quintessential French experience. From exploring the UNESCO-listed old town to indulging in some of the best wines and French cuisine, Bordeaux has something for everyone. While the city can be a bit expensive, there are ways to travel to Bordeaux on a budget. By doing some research ahead of time and taking advantage of free activities, budget-friendly accommodations, and local cuisine, you can have an unforgettable experience in Bordeaux without breaking the bank. Just remember to always be respectful of the city’s customs and etiquette, and practice caution while exploring. With a little planning, Bordeaux can be the perfect destination for a memorable and affordable European vacation.

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