While Bordeaux is an elegant and beautiful city in its own right, it is most famous for being (arguably) the most renowned wine producing region on Earth. The pretty countryside hosts the largest wine producing area in France and is home to some of the most respected vineyards and wineries in the world. So whether you are a card carrying wine buff or just really enjoy a great glass of vino, a trip to Bordeaux is definitely one for the bucket list.
Whether you decide to criss-cross the region visiting wineries that you’ve personally selected or you leave your fate in the hands of the experts and take some of the excellent official wine tours, your stay in Bordeaux will without a doubt be fun, fascinating and delicious!
To make your trip to Bordeaux really special, some intelligent planning is necessary. BUCKiTDREAM is the perfect resource to help you find the experiences, activities and vintages that you definitely don’t want to miss, so check out our recommendations and don’t forget to record your favorites in your BUCKiTDREAM planner!
Meet the Great Minds Behind Your Favorite Bordeaux Wine If you already know of a particular Bordeaux wine that really revs your engines then visiting their winery will be a beautiful and memorable experience. We recommend arranging a small group or individual visit to the winery that creates it and most wineries in the area are happy to show you around one-on-one.
Let an Expert Show You the Ropes on a Small Group-Guided Wine Tasting Tour Take a full day tour of two wine regions, wandering through the vineyards, touring the vat room and checking out the cellar to learn how the wine is produced. Enjoy tasting the local wine while munching on some delicious local bread and cheeses.
Sail Along the Waterfront on a Wine Cruise Relax and enjoy the beautiful sights of the Bordeaux waterfront. This UNESCO World Heritage site is pretty spectacular and even better with a glass of the local claret in hand.
Become a Connoisseur at a Wine Tasting Class Learn what’s what in the world of wine on this fun and informative two-hour wine tasting course hosted by friendly experts who’ll give you more than a little to talk about at your next dinner party.
See the Modern and Multimodal Museum La Cite du Vin This uber-modern, dramatic building truly is an architectural wonder; a museum of sorts, it is arranged in a very contemporary way that is bound to beguile and bedazzle. Guests can take a virtual journey through time and space to learn about the role wine has played in different civilizations throughout history, touching on areas from all over the world.
Learn how Wine was Traded over the Centuries at the Bordeaux Wine and Trade Museum Opening in 2008, this museum has a very interesting collection of artifacts related to the Port of Bordeaux and the prominent merchant families from the area. It also holds temporary art exhibitions and wine tasting evenings.
See the Fascinating Collection at the Musee Aquitaine This excellent little museum has a great permanent collection including some fascinating maritime-themed pieces. It also houses the world-famous local writer-philosopher Montaigne’s tomb.
Paddle in the Stunning and Unique Water Mirror The Water Mirror is a very wide, 2 cm deep pool situated outside the Place de la Bourse in central Bordeaux. The mirror effect and artificial misting are magical and are produced by rhythmic changes in the water on a gigantic slab of granite. A great place for children to play and a romantic spot for lovers to stroll hand in hand.
Experience the Beautiful Acoustics in The Grand Theatre This spectacular old theatre is one of the world’s great opera venues, which attracts the foremost artists from around the world. Check the listings for who’s performing when you are in town.
Here are our recommendations for great high-end, medium and budget places to stay in Bordeaux.
High-end Yndo Hotel is situated in the heart of Bordeaux and exudes 5-star luxury straight from its core. The hotel is in a typical 19th century Bordeaux mansion and its twelve rooms are individually decorated, each with their own idiosyncratic charm. The food is made from fresh, seasonal local ingredients and is hearty and delicious while the wine list is unsurprisingly superb.
Medium Chateaux Real is a grand old country house in the middle of the Medoc region deep in the heart of wine country and is surrounded by picturesque vineyards and tranquil nature. It’s an ideal place to relax and unwind and an excellent base for a wine tasting holiday.
Budget Bordeaux has a bunch of great Airbnb options that are clean, perfectly located and very reasonably priced – a great way to get some local opinions on the best wine to take back home.
Situated by the Atlantic Coast, the region has wonderful fish options, with a massive range of fresh shellfish available. A plateau de fruits de mer is a plate of mixed cold shellfish – crabs, cockles, mussels, oysters, shrimps, clams, whelks and scallops – and is perfect to wash down with a bottle of local white wine.
Bordeaux is also famous for its meat dishes. The region’s signature dish is entrecôte marchand de vin, a rich and succulent ribeye steak cooked in a gravy made from Bordeaux wine, butter, shallots, herbs and bone marrow. Other delicious local meat options include various beef and lamb dishes, as well as super tasty snails (you must at least try them!) often served in a delicious casserole.
For those with a sweet tooth, the sticky, custard-filled canneles are a favorite local pastry; sugared hazelnuts or chestnuts are also popular. Getting hungry? So are we!
Bordeaux has some fantastic local restaurants. Cote Rue is popular with tourists and Bordelais alike and it serves seasonal, local produce-driven, modern and beautifully colorful dishes all at reasonable prices.
You can also indulge yourself by hopping from bistro to bistro, as Bordeaux is home to many wine bars that serve small plate meals to accompany your wine. Le Flacon is among the best, with plenty of interesting bites on offer.
Drinks and Nightlife
From atmospheric cheese and wine bars to lively nightclubs, this historic city has plenty to do after dark, with options to suit everyone’s taste.
The winding streets of the St Pierre district have lots of nice bars and cafes to explore. Just south of the centre, the Quai de Paludate contains the local meat market and, due to liberal licensing laws tailored to the needs of market workers, this area has many clubs and bars that stay open very late.
Of course, Bordeaux has many cozy wine bars where you can go while away an evening with new friends or old lovers. Bar a Vin is an excellent choice, serving only great local wines for a very reasonable price, glasses starting at just €2.
With a dark and cool interior as well as outdoor seating, Vintage Bar is very popular with locals and travelers alike; knock back a few of their excellent house beers and cocktails to make a change from all of the wine that you’ve glugged throughout your trip.
Put on your dancing shoes and sashay over to Bordeaux Salsa where the live salsa bands will infuse your Bordeaux holiday with the sounds of Brazil – one of the hottest venues in town and certainly worth a look.
Tips and Culture
Bordeaux has a plethora of ancient monuments and buildings, some dating back to Roman times, so the city is great for strolling around and just letting it all soak in.
To pick up souvenirs and some of the high fashion garments that are popular amongst locals, Rue Sainte-Catherine in central Bordeaux is packed with shops, bars, cafes and restaurants and is one of the longest shopping streets in Europe.
If you plan to travel between wineries, remember that the wine producing region is very large and they’re are often a bit of a drive apart, so hiring a driver is a good idea; just remember to be careful if you’re the designated driver.
The city is well connected by trams, buses and taxis and is also very cyclist-friendly, as the terrain is flat and there are plenty of cycle paths.
There is an international airport and the TGV high-speed train gets to Paris in three hours, where it connects to many European capitals including London, Brussels and Amsterdam.
Take a Bike Tour of the Vineyards of St Emilion Cycle among the vineyards and châteaux of this famously scenic region. This full-day tour is the ideal way to spend a day surrounded by nature and fueled by outstanding wine and food. Bike and stroll around UNESCO World Heritage site St Emilion, stopping off to learn about winemaking and to taste some of the best produce that the area has to offer.
Bordeaux is an excellent location for a holiday, especially for wine lovers. So start by copying all of your favorite Bordeaux tips from this article into your BUCKiTDREAM dream planner and while you explore the vineyards and savor some of the most delicious wines in the world why not inspire your friends by sharing your dream Bordeaux experience on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?