12 min read
After our Travel Expert Roxana spending 48 hours in Copenhagen and bringing you some amazing travel recommendations, our CEO Greg takes you on a journey to Bordeaux, also known as 'Petit Paris'.
There may be a ‘bored’ in Bordeaux but that is one thing you will never feel in this fantastic city! The fact that Bordeaux is famed for its wine scene is a pretty good start, but that’s just the cherry on top. The city is also home to remarkable architecture, fascinating culture, charming patisseries, and a vibrant nightlife. Plus, with luscious green spaces and the sparkling river Garonne adding some natural beauty, Bordeaux really is the full package!
Located in the Aquitaine region in the south west of France, Bordeaux is just a short hour and a half flight away. The city rose from obscurity to prominence in the 18th century as a hub of international wine trade. As money started to pour in, ornate architecture started to be built up. Now the gorgeous streets are filled with bustling modern life creating a fun atmosphere in a stunning environment.
Bordeaux even has not one, not two but three nicknames all courtesy of its beauty and elegance. Whether you hear it referred to as ‘The Pearl of Aquitaine’, ‘The Port of the Moon’, or ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, one thing everyone can agree on is that Bordeaux is as pretty as a picture!
The biggest problem with Bordeaux is trying to fit all the amazing attractions into one trip! But don’t you fear dear BRBers, I am here with the ultimate guide to make sure you get a perfect holiday filled with the top tourist attractions as well as some lesser-known gems of the city. You’re in for a treat!
After a 1 hour and 30 minutes flight from London Stansted, I land at Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport (the main airport in Bordeaux). I want to make the most of my time in the city so I jump in a taxi and head straight to the 4* Seeko'o Hotel to drop off my bag.
Seeko'o Hôtel is an excellent choice for travellers visiting Bordeaux, offering a quiet environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay.
Close to some of Bordeaux's most popular landmarks, such as Le Pont Jacques Chaban Delmas (0.3 mi) and Base Sous-Marine de Bordeaux (0.9 mi), Seeko'o Hôtel is a great destination for tourists.
With an average rating of 4/5, I'm sure it's going to be a great stay!
Start your explorations in the heart of the city and one of the most iconic places in Bordeaux, the Place de la Bourse. This grand, neoclassical style square was built between 1730 and 1755 for King Louis XIV and his love of everything lavish. Within the square you’ll find the Bourse, the stock exchange, a fountain of the Three Graces, and the Customs Museum.
Photo Credit: @laur_forz
In front of the square is the majestic Miroir d’Eau. At 3,450 meters squared, this is the world’s largest reflecting pool. The gorgeous water sparkles in the sunlight and magnifies the splendour of the whole area.
Photo Credit: @france_mylove
After snapping some jealousy-inducing pics for your Instagram, it’s time to move on to the nearby Librairie Mollat. This is France’s largest independently owned bookstore and has been run by the same family since it opened in 1886. Getting lost in the fifteen different departments amongst the 265,000 books is an experience like no other whether you love books or not. Pick up a French classic or head to the multi-media department for music and movies.
Photo Credit: @carnetparisien
Nearby is the Cathédrale Saint André de Bordeaux. Also known as the Bordeaux Cathedral, this stunning, gothic style church is the largest in the city and will take your breath away. It is also well worth a visit to see the Marcadé Collection, the cathedral houses. It features a range of important liturgical art including paintings, sculptures and vestments which showcase both traditional French, and Roman designs. This glorious slice of Bordeaux history is not to be missed.
Photo Credit: @matt_raquage
Refuel with a delicious déjeuner at La Brasserie Bordelaise. All the hearty French dishes on the menu here are guaranteed to please but the special BRB recommendation is the steak. Don’t feel guilty about gorging because you’ll need the energy for your next activity.
Photo Credit: @nathbourhis
Every city has that one showstopper attraction that it would be a crime to miss and in Bordeaux that attraction is La Cité du Vin. This extraordinary building is a masterpiece of architecture. The aluminium shell glinting in the sun stands out drastically from the rest of the Bordeaux cityscape. Although the exterior is extremely special, venture inside for the real magic! An absolute must visit for wine connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike, La Cité du Vin is a state-of-the-art interactive wine museum. Its wonderfully unique exhibition transports you through the premier wine regions of the world and reveals the secrets of how wine making techniques have changed over the centuries.
Photo Credit: @laciteduvin
All your senses will be engaged as you waltz around La Cité du Vin’s spectacular six storeys. Book in advance online to nab a slightly discounted €20 (£18) ticket. You won’t be able to deny that the entry fee is definitely worth it when you are sampling specialty wines whilst enjoying panoramic views of Bordeaux from the museum’s top floor!
Soak up some of that wine with a scrumptious meal at Symbiose. Serving the very best locally sourced seasonal products, Symbiose’s menu changes throughout the year. Whenever it is you visit though, you will receive a mouth-wateringly tasty dish. This is France after all, they know what they are doing on the cuisine front! Once you are finished eating, visit Symboise’s speakeasy cocktail bar which is hidden behind a concealed entrance disguised as a grandfather clock.
Photo Credit: @allomamandodo
Bordeaux boasts a brilliant nightlife and one of the best spots for a party is IBOAT. Once a ferry, this boat has been transformed into a nightclub and hosts some of the most awesome music events and concerts Bordeaux has to offer. Grab some drinks and dance on deck into the early hours of the morning!
Photo Credit: @alexayot
If last night left you feeling a little rough, there is nothing to pep you up like a fresh french café au lait and a sumptuous flaky pastry. Get yours to go from the delightful Café Eriu and take it to eat in the nearby Jardin Public. This peaceful and picturesque garden is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious breakfast. Designed by Jacques Ange Gabriel and inaugurated in 1746, the Jardin Public was specially designed to be a relaxing space away from the hubbub of the inner city. I can’t think of a better way to start the day!
Photo Credit: @vitianaa
From here, it is a short walk to the beautiful Pont de Pierre. Meaning ‘Stone Bridge’ in English, the Pont de Pierre was commissioned by Napoleon and was finished in 1822. It was the first ever stone bridge to be built in Bordeaux and has become an iconic part of the city’s infrastructure. Crossing over it and snapping some great pics is practically obligatory!
Photo Credit: @cbonbordeaux
Next up, how about a visit to Bordeaux’s oldest church, the Basilique de Saint Michel? The construction of this imposing gothic basilica began in 1472. Since then, it has been struck by lightning in 1574, threatened with demolition by Louis XIV in 1675, and hit by a huge storm in 1768. Despite all this, the Basilique de Saint Michel is still standing strong. What’s more, its 114-metre-tall bell tower is the second tallest in France.
Photo Credit: @fleur.de.jupiter
Climbing to the top of the tower (or La Flèche as locals call it) may be a leg workout but it is totally worth it for the unbeatable views of the city.
You’ll have done a lot of walking by now and it is high time to replenish your energy levels. Where better to go than the Capucins Market! If you’ve read many of our guides, you’ll be well aware that here at BRB we love a market. Something about the hustle and bustle, the locals and the regional street foods, just make markets such a great place to get a feel for a city. Bordeaux’s Capucins Market is no exception! Known as the belly of Bordeaux, this market dates back to 1749 and has been a huge part of local culture ever since. With everything from fresh flowers to amazing seafood, and pungent cheeses to flaky pastries, this is a veritable paradise for the senses.
Photo Credit: @lacabanede_guillaume
As the sun begins to set, make your way across the river to Darwin, one of Bordeaux’s edgiest and most unique hangout spots. Darwin was created as a result of an innovative project to rehabilitate some disused military barracks. More than 100 Bordelaise companies have helped develop the space with the common goal of reducing their companies’ environmental footprints. The result is a trendy, creative, colourful eco-village with a wonderfully laid-back ambiance. Artistic expression is encouraged here so almost every last inch of the walls is covered in graffiti masterpieces and murals.
Photo Credit: @detourderue
People will be practicing skateboard tricks or playing ping pong. Recycled materials and mismatched furniture have been reworked to create seating areas that are perfect to relax in after a long day exploring. Embrace the leisurely vibe, grab an organic beer and just soak up the atmosphere.
Round off your holiday with one last feast of French cuisine. If you’ve got cash to splash, there’s nowhere better than Le Pressoir d’Argent to go out with a bang. Gordon Ramsay’s double Michelin star restaurant is big on price but so too is it on style and quality.
For those on a tighter budget, do not dismay! La Meule du Berger is an equally delightful restaurant where you can devour a Raclette-style meal that won’t break the bank. Reminisce on all the happy memories you’ve made here as you savour one final glass of brilliant Bordeaux wine.
Photo Credit: @bordeaux_foodie
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Bordeaux and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Gregory Geny (Founder of BeRightBack)
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