Top Travel Tips For Bordeaux, France

16 June 2015 5

18

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Recently I traveled to southwestern France and discovered its beautiful nature, cuisine, wine and its buzzing heart – the city of Bordeaux. Today I want to share with you some of my favorite discoveries and top travel tips for Bordeaux in France. If you ever embark on a journey to the capital of wine on the banks of the Garonne river, take your time to indulge in the beauties of this wonderful French city.

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux is home to more than 240,000 inhabitants and is an important port city with a very maritime character – although you can’t see the ocean from Bordeaux. But the Garonne river flows through Bordeaux and merges with the Dordogne river thus creating the wide Gironde estuary which opens up to the Atlantic ocean. And that maritime vibe can be felt throughout the city – not only its climate is mild, but the lifestyle is pretty southern here: the Bordelais love to eat, drink and socialize alfresco and seem to be way more relaxed than there Parisian counterparts.

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

When you arrive in Bordeaux you will be stunned by its beautifully preserved architecture. To me, Bordeaux felt instantly like a smaller version of Paris in the south, with its wonderful buildings, a slightly posh vibe, elegant people but minus the hectic and bustle of Paris but then with warm weather and lush, southern vegetation. No wonder many of my French friends say that Bordeaux seems like a very attractive alternative to Paris – if they ever had to leave Paris (Heaven forbid!). Bordeaux is also home to a very rich French cuisine that might shock any vegetarians or vegans among you – typical dishes from Bordeaux include greasy terrines, heavy pâtés, oozing confit de canard and – it is the original home of the so much loved or hated Foie Gras, a buttery version of goose or duck liver. Oh and then there is cheese. And a cheese restaurant (Baud et Millet) with an entire cheese cellar boasting more than a hundred French cheeses and you are allowed to serve yourself in the manner of ‘all you can eat’ – it is literally like going into a fine French cheese shop and being allowed to taste every single cheese!

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France, Canelés

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France, Canelés

For those with a sweet tooth I recommend to taste the traditional Canelés of Bordeaux – a good option is at Canelés Baillardran who have several boutiques throughout the town. Whether you like hearty dishes like that or not – Bordeaux boast a fine selection of very good restaurants with a wide variety of dishes that will entice your sumptuous desires – so no worry at all!

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Wine is yet another story. Bordeaux is one of the world’s capitals of winemaking and its good wines have gained high acclaim throughout the world. Moreover, they are a sort of unrivaled standard and it’s the wine that makes a dish complete in Bordeaux (actually in all of France). I strongly recommend to train your palate while in Bordeaux and if you are not an oenologist yourself, simply consult the restaurant’s sommeliers or go to one of the many wine bars. You will not regret it. I also recommend a visit to one of the numerous wine estates around Bordeaux – I visited one very nice chateau and its vineyards, but I’ll tell you that story another time.

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

DSC_1049

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

When in Bordeaux I suggest you start with the old town – its narrow streets will remind you either of some Mediterranean towns or the Marais quarter of Paris. Wherever you go, eventually you’ll end up on smaller or larger squares lined up with cafés, bistros, restaurants, shops. Wander down the Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre with its many bars and restaurants that transform the street into a buzzing spot for apéros and dinners, but it’s also great for a coffee break or lunch. Stroll to the central Place de la Comédie with its high-end cafés and restaurants overlooking the square and facing the opera, do not miss the Place de la Bourse either with its great fountain and frontal views of the Garonne river and the ‘Miroir de l’Eau’, the water mirror, where you can refresh your feet if you like. Another highlight is the large Place Pey Berland flanked by the impressive cathedral and the Hôtel de Ville.

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Like any other old town, Bordeaux’s old town is best discovered by random roaming through its narrow streets. I particularly liked the Rue Saint-James with some great shops and cafés like the Books & Coffee (not to mention some very nice plants inside). It’s on this street that I discovered the atelier of a local ceramicist Damien Gruel called ‘En Terre d’Atelier’ – you can watch the artist hand-throwing his beautiful pieces and chit chat with him. Of course I could not leave the boutique without a little handmade souvenir.

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Another highlight is to rent a bike (good renting spot at the Place des Quinconces) and ride along the Garonne river. The city has good bike lanes and you’ll discover a bit of modern Bordeaux too as you leave the cobbled street of the old town. Ride up to the the modern lift bridge that is so high that even huge cruise liners can pass underneath it and anchor in front of Bordeaux’s old town. I also suggest to drive to the other bank side of the Garonne river, the part of town known as Bastide. In one of its slightly forsaken corner with old factory buildings you will find the fantastic Magasin Général – a mix between an organic supermarket, a bakery, a cool café, shop and restaurant all in an old hangar building. The coffee at Alchemist roasters is fabulous and worth a cup or two – relax and take your time. After all this is the south, this is Bordeaux.

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Travel Tips Bordeaux, Top Travel Tips, Bordeaux, France

Good cafés, bars & restaurants in Bordeaux:

Café Kokomo, good coffee, cakes and lots of colours, 14 rue Ravez

Le Petit Commerce restaurant, 22 rue Parlement Saint-Pierre

Baud et Millet, cheese restaurant, 19 rue Huguerie

Magasin Général, coffee roasters, restaurant and organic supermarket, 87 Quai des Queyries

La Cagette, cool canteen, 8 Place du Palais

Le Garage, barbecue restaurant, 4 Place du Palais

Café Utopia, great to watch people and see a movie in the old Utopia cinema, 5 Place Camille Jullian

The Wine Bar – Le Boutique Hotel, one of many wine bars with a very cool sommelier and litter indoor garden, 3 rue Lafarge Monbadon

Black List, great third wave coffee, 27 Place Pey Berland

Books & Coffee, 26 rue Saint-James

If you wonder where to stay in Bordeaux: I’ve found probably the best airbnb in town and blogged about it HERE. Very recommended!

18 Comments

You Might Also Like

18 Comments

  • Reply By Marloes Thuis 16 June 2015 at 12:13

    Bonjour Igor! My French friend lives nearby Bordeaux. A few years ago we took our children on holiday there. Our friends have guided us through Bordeaux… a breathtaking city!!! Enjoy!!!
    Salutations des Pays-Bas, Marloes X

    • Reply Igor 16 June 2015 at 12:54

      Bonjour Marloes! It was my first time in Bordeaux and I really loved the city – I liked it as it was a sort of mix between Paris in small and a southern vibe, almost like on the Mediterranean. Definitely a nice destination to visit!

  • Reply Imma Galiana 16 June 2015 at 14:31

    Ich will jetzt nur nach Bordeaux! Wow, lieber Igor! Das ist ein super maxi-Post mit wunderschönen Fotos! Ich habe ihn sehr genossen!
    LG Imma

    • Reply Igor 16 June 2015 at 14:58

      Das freut mich sehr, Imma, dass Dir der Post gut gefällt! Hat mich einige Stunden gekostet, den zusammen zu stellen:-) Aber Bordeaux ist es eben wert!

  • Reply Anya 19 June 2015 at 19:09

    Ohh Igor – I live through your travelling – such amazing places, spaces and people. Gorgeous shots my friend,
    axx

    • Reply Igor 20 June 2015 at 01:41

      Thank you Anya! You are always a welcome travel companion:-)

  • Reply Beauty Follower 24 June 2015 at 10:26

    Αχ ζαλίστηκα… τόσα πολλά και όμορφα καφενεία & μπιστρό!

    http://beautyfollower.blogspot.gr/

    • Reply Igor 24 June 2015 at 11:30

      Nai re, poly endiafereon meros einai to Bordeaux! Exei mia elafri atmosfaira kai to savoir-vivre tou notou.

  • Reply Carie 1 February 2016 at 01:11

    Salut Igor, Will be visiting France with my sister the end of April. Going to the Dordogne area (still negoitiating locations with her). Thinking of getting off plane in Paris and heading south. looking at Limoge as a start but now thinking Bordeaux. Will this work for us–we are 60ish, either fly fro Orly or train. what do you suggest? Is there a nice hostel or pension? Or a small hotel? We don’t want to spend all our money on a place just to sleep. All suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Last year traveled Spain, stayed in similar places and was memorable and fabulous. (loved Spain and traveled by train and bus thruout the county) 1 week traveling around countryside–Dordogne and then Paris… Counting on your suggestions. Salut Carie

    • Reply Igor 2 February 2016 at 00:29

      Salut Carie! I think Bordeaux is definitely worth visiting! It has a beautiful old town, a great food scene and lots of amazing art and nature. You can either take a fast train from Paris to Bordeaux or a flight. I think the former is cheaper when booked in advance. Regarding hotels I have no recommendations as I was staying in an Airbnb apartment. That is always a good option but it might be too much of a hassle for you. The Dordogne is still on my wish list, hope to make it there later this year or next year. I am wishing you a great time in France!! Enjoy to the max!

  • Reply Carie 21 February 2016 at 23:17

    Merci. we will be taking the train. can’t do Airbnb. looking at B&B will see what happens. Going to Orleans on way back to Paris–been there? doing b&b in paris. trying to book on a barge in canal. would be fun, right? unless it is awful but can always leave. Looking forward to seeing Bordeaux, your blog helped. Merci

  • Reply Géraldine 13 March 2016 at 15:40

    Great trip ! Visit my blog about my Erasmus in Bordeaux 🙂 https://erasmusbordeauxblog.wordpress.com 🙂

  • Reply Jaime @angloyankophile 3 April 2016 at 09:31

    So glad I stumbled upon your blog post! I’m heading to Bordeaux next week and these are EXACTLY the kinds of recommendations I was looking for! I was hoping to find some great coffee shops and little hidden gems – thanks for the suggestions!

    • Reply Igor 4 April 2016 at 21:40

      Happy this is what you were looking for! Have a great time in Bordeaux, it’s a wonderful city!

  • Reply Divya 19 August 2016 at 19:39

    Great blog post and even better photos. I absolutely can’t wait to visit this city 🙂

  • Reply Hp208 5 September 2016 at 23:36

    Great article and beautiful photos! I’m glad you loved the city as much I do 🙂 I’ve just started a Bordeaux based food/drink blog and I see we have similar tastes (some of the ones you’ve mentioned are in my drafts!) maybe next time you’re back here I can give you some more recommendations 🙂

  • Reply Anna 23 October 2016 at 22:11

    Hey Igor! We plan to visit this nice city in a month with girls and I am responsible for t=laces to eat:) I find your article very impressive:) Thank you and good luck with the next posts;)
    Anna.

  • Reply Deborah 9 March 2017 at 18:33

    Beautiful photos! I’m looking forward to visiting Bordeaux in May. Thank you!

  • Leave a Reply to Imma Galiana Cancel Reply