I just got back from a glorious weekend away in a sunny, picture-perfect Bordeaux where I spent 2 and a half days wining, dining, walking and wining (again).
I was lucky enough to get lots of insider tips from locals both before and during my stay, and I wanted to share the best of what this gorgeous city has to offer so here’s my travel guide for the best spots to eat, drink and be merry in Bordeaux.
Airbnb is the perfect way to find a place to stay. Apartments and houses in this region are lovely and you can either book a private room or a whole house/flat.
I stayed in Chartrons, a very charming area of the Old Town known for its great antique shops, which was perfect for being close to everything yet being away from the crowds.
Our Airbnb host was really friendly and had loads of great tips to share with us, from the coolest bars to drink at to the best things to see and do. Getting local tips is one of the best benefits of using Airbnb.
Bordeaux airport is about 12km’s from the city, so it’s very accessible and most main airlines fly there, including British Airways, Easy Jet and Ryan Air.
Flights with EasyJet start at £50 return, the earlier you book, the better price you’ll get.
Eurostar – you can also catch the Eurostar to Paris (2.5 hours) then the TGV to Bordeaux (another 3 hours). You’ll have the benefit of not dealing with luggage and liquid restrictions, or getting to and from airports.
Bus number 1 will take you from Bordeaux airport into the center, Bordeaux Quinconces. Tickets cost €1.50 and can be bought from the bus driver.
You can also hire a car from the airport, there are lots of hire car companies.
Bordeaux is well connected with trams and buses to get you most places, but I’d highly recommend walking to soak up as much of the beautiful streets as possible.
You can hire a Vcub bicycle for around €1.50 p/day too, the system is just like London’s Boris Bikes, and regional trains will take you to nearby towns including the popular Saint Emilion, as well as cross-country.
Saint-Émilion is one of the most famous winery areas of Bordeaux, located 35km’s to the north-east, it’s a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. There are some half-day and full-day tours which leave from Bordeaux that can take you there, prices range from around €50-€200 per person, or €300+ for a private tour.
One of my favourite things about the weekend in Bordeaux was the amount of cool wine bars around. There were so many that we decided that the only way to go about it was to go wine bar hopping through the Old Town, on a mission to try as many as we possibly could! Some of my favourites included:
- Le Wine Bar – 19 Rue des Bahutiers, 33000 Bordeaux
- Chez Fred – 19 Place du Palais, 33000 Bordeaux
- Cambridge pub – 27 Rue Rode, 33000 Bordeaux
- Les Bistrot des Angles – 19 Rue Rode, 33000 Bordeaux
- La Comtesse – 25 Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre, 33000 Bordeaux
Some of the best cocktails in Bordeaux
- The docks/hangars – on a sunny day, go for a walk along the river and enjoy some of the bars at the docks. Pull up a comfy couch and watch the world go by
Bordeaux has so much good food that I had a huge case of FOMO, wanting to try everything that was recommended to me by the locals.
Here’s the best selection of delicious and affordable restaurants:
- Chez Karl – 6 Place du Parlement, 33000 Bordeaux
Good for breakfast or some afternoon pastries
- Le Petit Bois – 18 Rue du Chai des Farines, 33000 Bordeaux
Gorgeous wine bar with amazing decor. If you get a bottle of wine, you’ll get a free plate of cheese and charcuterie (ham, pâté, chorizo, etc).
- La Cagette – 8 Place du Palais, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Popular tapas restaurant
- Michel’s Bistro – 15 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges, 33000 Bordeaux
Great steak and potatoes, and beef tartare
- Le Bistrot des Anges – 19 Rue Rode, 33000 Bordeaux
A great menu for cheap and good food, and a huge outdoor area for drinks in the sun
- L’Estacade – 33 Quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux
One of the best views of Bordeaux, great for food (a little pricey) or an afternoon drink
- Catering – 4 Rue des Ayres, 33000 Bordeaux
Delicious bagels, perfect for lunch
- Kokomo – 12 Place Fernand Lafargue, 33000 Bordeaux
Next door to Catering bagels you’ll also find this very popular burger bar in Bordeaux’s hipster square
- La Glace by M&O – 53 Rue Saint James, 33000 Bordeaux
Something more exotic
- Santosha (Thai) – 2 Place Fernand Lafargue, 33000 Bordeaux
- Fufu (Japanese) – 37 Rue Saint-Rémi, 33000 Bordeaux
- l’Arc en Ciel (Japanese & French fusion) – 3 Impasse du Couvent, 33000 Bordeaux
- Books & Coffee – 26 rue St James
Whilst the Latte wasn’t very good, they serve chemex coffee which I would probably try next time. Unfortunately we didn’t have any luck finding good coffee by Australian standards in Bordeaux, so if you’re picky, BYO beans and coffee maker from home!
Things to Do
- Museum: CAPC – 7 Rue Ferrere, 33000 Bordeaux, France. Museum of Contemporary Modern Art. They have a restaurant with all-you-can-eat breakfast too, as well as a nice bar with a terrace for the sunny afternoons.
- Sunday Market: The Quai des Marques market is on every Sunday along the river. Visit the market to enjoy some pretty amazing foods and drinks, everything from oysters and wine to macaroons and crepes. Get in early to avoid crowds and queues.
- Cathédrale Pey-Berland: The cathedral of Bordeaux, not far from the Old Town
- Walk through the Old Town: this is a beautiful yet very cool neighborhood which has endless amounts of bars, restaurants and shops to choose from. Most of the places I have recommended are in this area. Check out some of the main squares such as Place Fernand LAfargue, Place Camille Julian, Place du Parlement and Place Saint-Pierre
- Walk along Les Quais: Start at bridge Pont de Pierre and walk (or cycle) north along the river towards the docks of Bordeaux. You’ll see Place de La Bourse and le Mirroir d’eau (Mirror of Water) which I’m told is a famous and beautiful place, though the fountains were sadly off when I visited. You’ll also walk past Place des Quinconces, CAPC Contemporary Museum and past the charming Chatrons area. There are some nice bars and restaurants to stop in along the way.
Here’s all of the above, mapped out:
I’ll be putting together another post with my photos from the beautiful Bordeaux this weekend, so stay tuned for a photo-tour of the city.
Have you ever visited Bordeaux? What were your personal highlights? What would you most like to see in Bordeaux?