Bordeaux, located in southwestern France, is a city renowned for its wine, rich history, and beautiful architecture. As a tourist advisor, I have curated a three-day itinerary that will help you make the most of your time in Bordeaux. This itinerary includes travel tips, the most important places to visit, routes to take, recommendations on where to sleep and eat, and free tours that will help you discover the city’s hidden gems. Let’s get started!
Day 1: Historic Bordeaux
On your first day in Bordeaux, start by visiting the most important historic sites:
- Place de la Bourse: This square is one of Bordeaux’s most iconic landmarks. The stunning architecture of the buildings surrounding the square, including the famous Water Mirror, make it a perfect spot for taking pictures.
- Cathédrale Saint-André: Located in the heart of the city, the Cathédrale Saint-André is a beautiful Gothic cathedral that dates back to the 13th century. Don’t forget to climb the 230 steps of the bell tower to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
- La Grosse Cloche: This 15th-century bell tower is one of the oldest buildings in Bordeaux. It used to serve as a gateway to the city and now houses a small museum.
- Porte Cailhau: Another impressive gate that used to be the main entrance to the city. It was built in the 15th century and offers a great view of the Garonne River.
After visiting these historic sites, take a stroll along the Garonne River and enjoy the view. You can also take a river cruise to discover the city from a different perspective. In the evening, head to the Saint-Pierre district, a lively area full of bars and restaurants where you can try some of the local cuisine.
Day 2: Wine Tasting in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is known for its world-renowned wines, so it’s only natural that you spend a day tasting them. Start your day by visiting the Cité du Vin, a modern museum that tells the story of wine through interactive exhibits and tastings.
Afterwards, head to the nearby wine regions of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol. These regions are known for their exceptional red wines and picturesque vineyards. You can book a guided tour or explore on your own.
In the evening, return to Bordeaux and enjoy a glass of wine at one of the city’s many wine bars. You can also dine at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Le Pressoir d’Argent or La Grand’Vigne.
Day 3: Art and Nature in Bordeaux
On your final day in Bordeaux, explore the city’s art and natural beauty. Start by visiting the Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of the largest art museums in France. The museum features works by artists such as Rubens, Van Dyck, and Matisse.
Next, head to the Jardin Public, a beautiful park in the heart of the city. The park features a large pond, a botanical garden, and a playground for children. You can also rent a boat and paddle around the pond.
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a short train ride to the nearby Dune du Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe. The dune offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding forest.
In the evening, explore the Chartrons district, known for its antique shops and art galleries. You can also enjoy a sunset picnic on the banks of the Garonne River.
Travel Tips in Bordeaux
If you’re visiting Bordeaux, here are some travel tips to keep in mind:
- Public transportation is convenient and affordable. You can buy a day pass that allows unlimited travel on buses and trams.
- Many museums and attractions offer free admission on the first Sunday of the month.
- Bordeaux is a very walkable city, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes.
- The local currency is the Euro.
- The official tourism website of the city of Bordeaux has a wealth of information on events, attractions, and tours. You can visit their website at https://www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk/.
Where to Sleep in Bordeaux
Bordeaux offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here are some recommendations:
- InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel: Located in the heart of the city, this 5-star hotel offers luxury accommodations and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
- Hotel Mercure Bordeaux Centre Gare Saint-Jean: This 4-star hotel is conveniently located near the train station and offers comfortable rooms and a bar.
- La Maison Fredon: This charming guesthouse is located in the trendy Chartrons district and offers beautifully decorated rooms and a cozy atmosphere.
- Hostel 20 Bordeaux: This budget-friendly hostel is located in the city center and offers dormitory-style rooms and a communal kitchen.
Where to Eat in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is known for its gastronomy, so be sure to try some of the local specialties during your visit. Here are some recommendations:
- Le Petit Commerce: This traditional restaurant in the Saint-Pierre district serves fresh seafood and local wines.
- Le Bistrot du Gabriel: This Michelin-starred restaurant offers modern French cuisine and an extensive wine list.
- La Tupina: This rustic restaurant in the Chartrons district serves hearty southwestern French cuisine, including roasted meats and stews.
- Les Halles de Bacalan: This indoor food market offers a variety of stalls selling fresh produce, cheese, wine, and other local specialties.
Free Tours in Bordeaux
Bordeaux offers several free walking tours that are a great way to discover the city’s history and culture. Here are some options:
- Free Walking Tour Bordeaux: This 2.5-hour tour covers the main sights in the city center, including the Place de la Bourse and the Cathédrale Saint-André. The tour operates on a pay-what-you-wish basis.
- Bordeaux Greeters: This program offers free tours led by locals who are passionate about their city. Tours are personalized based on your interests and can cover any neighborhood or topic.
- Street Art Tour Bordeaux: This 2-hour tour explores the city’s vibrant street art scene, featuring works by local and international artists.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about visiting Bordeaux:
- What is the best time of year to visit Bordeaux?
- The best time to visit Bordeaux is from April to October, when the weather is mild and there are plenty of events and activities going on. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds.
- How do I get around Bordeaux?
- Bordeaux has a convenient and affordable public transportation system that includes buses and trams. You can also rent bikes or take taxis.
- Is Bordeaux a safe city to visit?
- Bordeaux is generally a safe city, but like any major city, you should take precautions to protect yourself from theft and pickpocketing. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables.