Bordeaux has always been on my list of places I had to visit. While on erasmus in Aix en Provence I wanted to make it to Bordeaux but as they are at opposite sides of the country it was always a bit too expensive. If you’re planning on visiting this beautiful city I’ve put together some tips to get you started.
How to get there:
Now that I’m living in Toulouse Bordeaux is only a two hour train ride away. Train tickets start at €15 for those aged 12-25 so it’s easy to get to on a student budget.
Bordeaux does have an airport so is accessible to those from further afield although clearly more expensive.
When to go:
Bordeaux is situated in the south west of France, we went in late November and still got sunshine and temperatures of up to 16 degrees.
Summers are hot and winters are moderate so anytime is a good time to visit.
Where to stay:
I usually try to find budget hotels or use Air Bnb however this time, as it was my boyfriends birthday, we went from something a little more expensive.
I used trivago to search for hotels. It’s useful as it compares a number of sites and gives you the cheapest option for the same hotel. My main priorities were a good location, nice decor and most importantly a good breakfast (birthday essential for the boyfriend).
We ended up chosing the Quality Hotel Bordeaux. It was perfect, staff were so helpful, we checked in at midday, they had a room ready and the check in couldn’t have been easier. The room was great and even had a nespresso machine which was a real plus.
The hotel is just of Rue Saint Catherine, the longest shopping street in Europe! So the location was fantastic, so close to everything – all the sites and plenty of restaurants.
What to see:
The mirroir d’eau is a ‘reflecting pool of water’. It’s in front of the Palace de la Bourse. It’s super pretty and I can imagine it’s a fantastic place to go on a hot summers day.
The port calhau is gorgeous and very instagram worthy.
The cathedral Saint André is huge and is in the process of being cleaned. It’s fascinating to see the contrast of the before and after power washing.
What to do :
If you’re visiting at this time of year check out the Christmas market, apart from the stalls selling jewellery etc there is an abundance of mulled wine, it’s the perfect drink for this time of year.
Also near the Christmas market there is an antique fair, very common in France. This one though is huge, many people spend hours searching these markets while decorating houses etc. I just like to browse and soak up the French atmosphere.
If you’re looking to shop Rue Saint Catherine as I mentioned above is huge. It has so many shops you’ll be spoiled for choice!
What to drink:
Bordeaux is famous for its wine and so it would be a shame to visit and not try all the region has to offer. We found an amazing bar called Bar du vin- École du vin. This place is fabulous. It’s a stylish and modern bar, but from the outside you wouldn’t even know it was there. It’s definitely something you need to know about, you’re unlikely to stumble across it (although likely to stumble out of it).
The surprising thing about this bar is the prices which start at €2 for a glass, and go up to €8. The wines are amazing, high quality and all the waiters are sommeliers. They also do wine courses so this place is an absolute must if you like your wine.
What to eat:
Try the cannelés, they are a speciality in Bordeaux. They are a rum and vanilla flavoured pastry. Although to be honest all French pastries are worth a try.
If you have been to Bordeaux let me know if you have anything to add, I’ll definitely be making another trip in the future!