Bordeaux is a beautiful city characterised by its stunning architecture, ease of day trips into the nearby French countryside, and of course, its world-famous wine. And whether you’re a foodie, wish to experience a taste of life outside of Paris, or simply want to soak up some sun, there’s something for everyone when it comes to Bordeaux. Here are some wonderful reasons to visit Bordeaux this year!
#1 There are several wine museums
There is not just one museum dedicated entirely to wine in Bordeaux, but two. While everyone talks about the newer, chic, and interactive Cité du Vin, there’s also a second wine museum which is set up in a more traditional manner. For a full guide to the history of Bordeaux wines and appellations, check out this guide to Bordeaux wines.
The Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux can be found in the historic Chartrons district of the city and costs €10 to enter. Housed within the former wine cellars of the wine merchant for Louis XV, the wine museum comes complete with a complimentary wine tasting at the end of your visit.
For those wishing to see the sparkling Cité du Vin, it’s worth noting that the modern wine museum visit comes complete with a complimentary wine tasting. While you can purchase tickets on the day, it’s well worth buying your ‘billet’ in advance. If you’re planning to see lots of paid Bordeaux museums and attractions, then it might be worth investing in a Bordeaux City Pass.
#2 Bordeaux makes for the perfect weekend break
If you’re looking for a French city escape and don’t want to see Paris, then Bordeaux makes for the perfect alternative. Full of foodie experiences and fairly easy to wander around via foot, you could easily see the best of Bordeaux over the course of a long weekend in the South.
#3 It’s easy to visit Bordeaux
With its own international airport (Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport) and extensive rail links, Bordeaux couldn’t be better connected to the rest of France and even Europe. Flights from London are affordable and take just ninety minutes, while the high-speed train from Paris takes no more than two hours. Due to its midway position between Paris and Madrid, Bordeaux also makes for the perfect stopover en route to Spain from France.
#4 The Miroir d’Eau is the largest reflective pool in the world
Located on Place de la Bourse, located along the River Garonne, the Miroir d’Eau is the largest reflective pool in the world. Perfectly reflecting the Place, the water feature spans 3450 metres squared and was put in place in 2006.
Created from granite slabs, the best time to see the Miroir d’Eau is at sunset when candy colours dance across the sky, or at night when the lights of the city are perfectly reflected. For those wishing to capture the ‘water mirror’ at its best, here’s my complete guide to creating puddlegrams.
#5 There’s plenty of middle ages history in Bordeaux
From the Gothic architecture of Bordeaux’s Cathedral to the castle-looking turreted Porte Cailhau, there’s no shortage of middle ages history when it comes to Bordeaux. Some of the best historical sites in the city include the Porte Cailhau and the Musée des Beaux-Arts.
#6 Bordeaux is full of stunning architecture
While we’re on the subject of history, did you know that Bordeaux has plenty of architecture to rival that of Paris? From Haussmannian-style buildings throughout the city to magnificent fountains, you’ll need to pack your camera! And once in Bordeaux itself, you’ll find it hard to stop snapping photos! Also, when wandering around the city, be sure to keep an eye out because there are lots of secret spots in Bordeaux…
#7 Bordeaux is a foodie destination
Wine aside, there are a million and one other gastronomic reasons to visit Bordeaux. From savoury dishes to melt in your mouth sweets, there are some really great cafés, bistros, and restaurants dotted around the historic city. Some of the best places to eat in Bordeaux include Contrast Café (for brunch) and Belle Campagne (if you’re looking for a traditional French dinner).
#8 There are some amazing shopping opportunities in Bordeaux
Between the tiny little boutiques sprinkled around the city and the longest pedestrian shopping street in the world (Rue Sainte-Catherine), there’s no shortage of great shopping opportunities when it comes to Bordeaux, especially during the sales (early spring and mid-summer).
For those who are looking for more luxurious shopping, head to the ‘Triangle d’Or’ ‘Golden Triangle’ between Cours Clemenceau, Cours de l’Intendance, and Allées de Tourny. Of course, if you want to get to know the city on a local level, then there’s nothing like taking a walking tour of the city with an experienced and knowledgeable guide. Check here for the best Bordeaux walking tour.
#9 There are some incredible places to stay
Just as in Paris, there’s no denying that Bordeaux has its fair share of beautiful hotels and luxury accommodations in the city. And if you want to get the best deal, then I highly booking your stay as soon as possible. Check the best Bordeaux accommodation rates here.
Some of the best hotels in Bordeaux include Villa Reale (18th-century build building housing self-catering apartments), Hotel de Séze (this hotel can be found right in the heart of the historic city and this luxurious accommodation is four-stars), and Hôtel Burdigala (during Roman times, the name for Bordeaux was Burdigala. Today, this luxury hotel is decorated in urban chic).
#10 The day trips from the city are fantastic
Whether you want to dip your toes in the sea, or simply want to sip on some wine, there are a myriad of day trips to be taken from Bordeaux. From forest to sea, some of the best day trips from Bordeaux include a visit to the largest sand dune in Europe (Dune du Pilat) and the medieval city of Saint-Émilion.
Frequents Asked Questions about Bordeaux (Bordeaux FAQs)
What is the best time to visit Bordeaux?
Though Bordeaux is beautiful to visit during any time of the year (indeed, it’s the city that Parisians say they’d most like to live in, if they weren’t based in Paris), there are indeed better times of the year to visit than others.
For example, the winter is the quiet season, while summer sees the most tourists. If you want to enjoy the best of the weather with lower prices, then be sure to visit in late spring or early autumn. Visit between May and November and you’ll also be able to enjoy the vines in the surrounding region in their full glory.
How many days should I spend in Bordeaux?
The exact number of days you should stay in Bordeaux is entirely dependant on your travel schedule and what you wish to see when in the city. However, a good balance is a long weekend as this allows you to experience the ambiance of the city, as well as many of the major attractions and some hidden gems along the way.