Welcome to Bordeaux

One of the most graceful and elegant cities in the whole of Europe, Bordeaux is home to grandiose architecture, handsome riverscapes, notable art museums, an extraordinary gastronomic scene, vibrant night life and some of the world’s finest wines. France’s sixth largest city has no fewer than 362 historic monuments and is the largest urban UNESCO Heritage Site in the world. It is less than six hours by train from London.

When to visit

As the hub of the famed wine growing region, undoubtedly the best time of year to visit Bordeaux is between May and November for walking, visiting, and exploring the vineyards. If you want to attend the grape harvest, an important time in the life of the region, visit Bordeaux in late August, September, and early October. A wine festival is held over five days in June every two years. During the event, the city’s quayside becomes a hive of activity with a Tall Ships Regatta, light shows, fireworks, and classical music amongst a wide range of entertainment served along the banks of the Garonne. Bordeaux is also very pleasant and romantic in the autumn and the winter with a Christmas market which delights young and old alike.

Panoramic view of Bordeaux

Panoramic view of Bordeaux

Experience Bordeaux

We’re delighted to highlight a few holiday experiences to enhance your visit to Bordeaux. Simply confirm at the time of booking or prior to travelling. For further details and prices of private excursions and small
group escorted tours, to visit some or all of these places of interest, please ask our Personalised Travel Team about pre-bookable experiences and excursions on 0800 008 7288.

We highly recommend…

Follow the Camino di Santiago

Spend an afternoon walking a section of the Pilgrim’s
Way, Camino de Santiago, or, in French, Chemin de
Saint Jacques. Follow the scallop shell-logo route
markers to discover it sights and history.

Medoc wine tour (half day)

Drive along the chateau route, passing by legendary names such as Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estephe, while your guide explains all you have ever wanted to know about Bordeaux wines.

From £88 per person

Saint-Emilion wine tour (half day)

Explore the famous medieval village of Saint-Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit two chateaux: a Great Classified Growth estate and a beautiful family-run estate, the symbol of French savoir vivre.

From £103 per person

Vintage Citroen 2CV city tour (45 minutes)

Discover the sites of Bordeaux including the Grand Theatre and the Grosse Cloche, via the Place de la Bourse and its famous water mirror. All from the comfort of a classic 2CV. Your driver will share Bordeaux anecdotes.

From £47 per person

Historic city tour (3-4 hours)

Visit the historic heart of Bordeaux and its architectural gems: Place de la Bourse, Grand Theatre, Saint-Andre Cathedral, Porte Cailhau, Allees de Tourny, Place des Quinconces and so many other places and monuments.

From £42 per person

Gourmet walking tour (3½ hours)

A guided tour ambling through the city centre enjoying the history, traditions, architecture, wine, and food. Stop at three local producers: bakery, chocolate, and cheese, tasting delicacies at each stop with lunch included.

From £68 per person

Bay of Arcachon (3 hours)

Climb onboard the Santa Maria, a magnificent traditional pinasse from 1956, to explore the most beautiful sites of the Bay of Arcachon. The captain will ensure your comfort and share their passion for this lovely lagoon.

 

From £235 per person

Out and about

This attractive, grandiose and yet compact, port city is located on the banks of the River Garonne. It has been the subject of much urban renewal and redevelopment over the last few years which shows in the gleaming honey-coloured architecture of its listed buildings. Where once there were old and abandoned warehouses in the Bacalan district, there are now shops, bars, cafés, and cultural and exhibition spaces. Top-end shops are present around the Triangle d’Or. Those looking for better value and bargain buys might prefer the trendy St Pierre district and a plethora of markets.

An interesting portfolio of art museums includes The Musee des Beaux Arts, showcasing the Old Masters, and the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art. Public gardens line the curving River Garonne with its vibrant quayside culture. The largest green space in the city, Bordeaux Park, just a few tram stops from the city centre, offers relief from the urban traffic and features a small forest, large lake, and animals native to the region.

Superb gastronomy and the finest wines go hand in glove in a city which is bordered by sun-drenched vineyards. Wine is an ancient and intrinsic part of daily life. The dining scene is nothing short of exceptional with traditional French kitchens, experimental new bistros, creative fusion restaurants, food trucks and coffee shops from which to choose.

Good to know

Bordeaux CityPass is available for 24, 48 or 72 consecutive hours and grants access to La Cite du Vin before midday, and all modes of public transport: tram, river ferry, the bus network and Park & Ride car parks are included. The tram service is excellent boasting 65km of track, 100 trains and 117 stops. There are 24 hour and seven day passes available for self-hire bicycle scheme. The train journey time between London and Bordeaux is just under six hours, bringing the pleasures of the city within easy reach. Bordeaux to Paris takes just over two hours by TGV.

 

Bordeaux musts

La Cite du Vin

Wines from the world over are explored in depth at this groundbreaking museum. It’s a stunning piece of contemporary architecture, resembling a glittering golden wine decanter, on the banks of the River Garonne. The finest wine museum anywhere in the world.

Miroir d’Eau

Miroir d’Eau is the world’s largest reflecting pool covering the quayside opposite the imposing Palais de la Bourse. On warm sunny days it provides hours of entertainment with its stunning reflections and regular emissions of fog-like vapours to add to the effect.

 

Bacalan and La Base Sous-Marine

Bordeaux’s Submarine Base dates from 1941 and is a combination of Brutalist concrete and steel, water and shadows. This gigantic bunker has been converted into an underground cultural centre, art gallery and music concert venue in the cool and edgy Bacalan district.

Cathedral St Andre and Basilique Saint Michel

These UNESCO World Heritage Sites date from 1096 and the 14th century respectively. Both enjoy exceptional masonry carvings, impressive stained-glass windows and freestanding Gothic belfries offering breathtaking panoramas of the city. Two of the finest religious monuments of Bordeaux.

Musee des Beaux Arts

The evolution of western art from the Renaissance to the mid-20th century is on view at Bordeaux’s Museum of Fine Arts, which occupies two wings of the 1770’s Hotel de Ville, either side of elegant city park Jardin de la Mairie.

 

Le Garage Moderne

This alternative garage doubles as an experimental cultural space in the Bacalan district. Help yourself to tea or coffee, and wander around the vast hangar packed to the rafters with a mesmerising array of vintage curiosities including a bus.

Twin centre

Combine your stay in Bordeaux with the considerable delights of Paris, pages 22-27. The French capital is just over two hours distance from Bordeaux by TGV.