Getting to Europe from most parts of the world is painstakingly long often involving many hours and a bit of city hopping. Once you reach your destination, you have to figure out how to make the best use of your time and money. City hopping can be a great way to explore Europe and Bordeaux is undoubtedly a newly discovered jewel of Europe. With its rich wine making heritage, it would be a shame not to add Bordeaux to your itinerary as a landmark of cultural and culinary pleasures!
Start your day with a typical French breakfast of pastries and café at one of the best bakeries in Bordeaux, Le Boulanger d’Hotel de Ville secretly tucked away just behind the great Saint-André cathedral. This is a local favorite specializing in traditional breads and pastries. If you are a foodie, you might prefer something salty! Try some of the cafes and restaurants downtown, all with a great selection of continental style breakfasts and brunches.
Walk off breakfast with a stroll down the famous Rue Sainte Catherine, the longest shopping street in Europe; about 1.2 kilometers long! The street begins at Place de la Comdédie where you can admire the opera house and Bordeaux’s Grand Hotel. Follow this street all the way to Place de La Victoire which reveals the less touristy side of the city. If you’re starting to feel hungry again, you can make your way to the Marché des Capucins, an undercover food market full of French delights! Everything from cheeses to seafood, herbs, honey, flowers and even other European specialties from nearby Italy and Spain can be found here.
From there you can stroll through Saint Michel, a rugged yet up and coming cultural quarter. It’s a melting pot of Middle Eastern, African and modern French stores, cafes and tea houses. Wander through to get a taste of the melting pot that is France, as you head back to the river front along the Garonne. Back track past the Pont de Pierre to the Miroir d’Eau (water mirror) found at Place de la Bourse for the ultimate photo opportunity of your stay in Bordeaux. Not sure where to next? It might be time for a little rest and recuperation, and Jardin Public is a quaint and beautiful botanic garden with ponds and green grass to lie on as you get ready for the next step on the itinerary.
That being of course, the essential French apéro! In the late afternoon, you will start to see people filling up terraces all over Bordeaux city for a relaxing glass of wine with a few nibbles. Why not check out a local wine bar like the Bar à Vin where you can sample wines from some of the most prestigious wineries from the whole region but with a much smaller price tag! Once apéro is over, you will be ready to head down to the Saint-Pierre area where you’ll find more wine bars like Aux 4 Coins du Vin or Le Vertige. When you’re ready for dinner, go for something local, cosy and intimate with food that has the flare of traditional French cuisine but with a modern touch. Le Troquet fits the bill nicely.
© Photo by François Poincet
By this point you should be pretty tired, but of course Bordeaux by night is something not to be missed. Head to Place Quinconces to witness the majestic artistry of the Monuments de Girondins, a spectacular fountain dedicated to the original inhabitants of the city, who toiled its earth and made it what it is today. Perhaps one last café with a sweet rum flavored canelé to finish the night before getting some shut eye for your next fun filled day!
It’s time for an absolute immersion into the history of Bordeaux, which means it’s time for a wine tour! You can start the morning with a trip to the Cité du Vin, an interactive journey of the senses as you walk through this modern museum discovering the history and the expansion of wine not just in Bordeaux but around the world! Make your way through the different exhibits before tasting some rare wines on the top floor with a panoramic view of Bordeaux and the Garonne river.
If you feel like taking your wine expertise to another level, then hop on an afternoon wine tour to the infamous Saint-Emilion appellation or the Médoc region. Museums are great but it’s even better to be amongst the vineyards and talking to the winemakers! Get a taste of the French countryside and the wines that make Bordeaux such an international hot spot for any wine loving pilgrim. Take a tour of a château and taste their wines before enjoying some cured meats, cheese and other delicious local treats. This is what the French lifestyle is all about; an authentic appreciation for quality and pleasure.
Head back to Bordeaux and make one last trip to the quay where locals love to sit and picnic as the sun goes down. Bask in the south west sun and reflect on all the amazing things you’ve done. One thing is for sure, your knowledge of wine, history and culture shall impress everyone back home! With Bordeaux just two hours away from Paris by train, don’t miss out trying out this custom two day itinerary. Mix and match it up, or go freestyle; this is your dream French holiday after all!
Contact us at Bordeaux Wine Trails if you would like to combine a private wine tour with some local activities!
© Featured photo by Thomas Sanson