Is Bordeaux worth visiting? You won’t regret even a short visit to Bordeaux. It was named the #1 city in the Lonely Planet list of cities where to travel in 2017 (see video below). I was not surprised. Many French people argue Bordeaux is the best city in France.
The praises from my friends who lived in Bordeaux made me decide to stop in this city during my last French trip. We only spent one day there, but it was enough to add it to the list of the cities where I’d like to live if I ever go back to France. So yes, Bordeaux is worth visiting, and let me tell you why.
Why Bordeaux is worth visiting
1. Bordeaux is a vibrant city
Forget the French cliché that Paris the capital is the place to be and provincial cities are boring. I was highly impressed by how lively Bordeaux streets were. The cobbled pedestrian lanes were very busy with shopping and outdoor activities during the day and for drinks and food at night.
Recently, they worked on the river banks to create a lovely environment to chill or exercise.
At night, Quartier Chartrons, just outside the town centre, has great bars.
2. Bordeaux is easy to access
With the high-speed train, it only takes a couple of hours to reach Bordeaux town centre from Paris town centre. It can’t be easier than that and it makes it possible to visit Bordeaux as a day trip from Paris by train. There’s also an international airport in Bordeaux if you’re coming from London for example.
Responsible travel tip: Travelling by train is a lot better for the environment than driving or flying! More tips on how to be a more responsible traveller.
3. Bordeaux has amazing architecture
Bordeaux is one of these places where every building in the town centre is a monument
We started with the cathedral and then walked to the river banks. Don’t miss Porte Cailhau on the way. In front of the beautiful Place de la Bourse, you can board a ferry boat to visit the city from the river. Our favourite place was the Place de la Comedie, where we stopped for the “apero” (pre-dinner drinks) and watched street artists.
Bordeaux has many squares and nice streets to explore. We didn’t have time to go Place de la Victoire, but if you spend more time than us in Bordeaux, check it out! In the photos, it looked fantastic!
4. Bordeaux wines are reputed worldwide
The Bordeaux wines are famous worldwide and one of the main reasons why Bordeaux is worth visiting for wine lovers. There are many Chateaux you can visit from Bordeaux. We liked the idea of combining the wine visit with a cruise on the river, but it wasn’t available on our date.
The Cité du Vin opened in 2016. It’s a great modern museum to learn more about wines with movies, exhibitions, workshops and tastings. I didn’t have time to visit but you can click here to read all about Katy’s experience at La Cité du Vin.
The Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux (Bordeaux Wine and Trade Museum) is worth a detour too. Located in the old wine cellars of Louis XV’s wine merchant, it is a lot smaller and more traditional than the new trendy Cité du Vin. You can choose a self-guided visit with tasting (allow about 1 hour) or a workshop (2.5 hrs).
As they offer different experiences, it’s worth visiting both museums. But if you’re only in Bordeaux for a short time, I personally prefer the more authentic experience. Make sure you book your tickets in advance (the City Pass is a great option if you plan to visit both!).
5. Bordeaux has great food
I’m sure you’ve heard about the reputation of French food. But have you heard about our specialities from the French South West? They are delicious (well, if you’re not a vegetarian…)!
Duck confit, cassoulet, Bayonne ham and the fresh seafood… They’re not all from Bordeaux but they can be found there, in the largest city of the South West of France!
6. The Bordeaux region is fantastic
Bordeaux is a lovely city. But it doesn’t stop there. The region around Bordeaux is amazing and worth visiting too. There are many beautiful day trips that await. You can of course visit wineries but there are also lovely villages and natural attractions nearby.
Just to name a few: Carcassonne and the Dune du Pilat, la Roche-sur-Yon, Saint Emilion, Limoges…
Where to stay in Bordeaux?
There are many accommodation options in Bordeaux* to please all kinds of travellers and budgets.
If you’re looking for a place that will create memories, more than just a room to sleep in, then check out these ones:
- Hotel des Quinconces*. It’s not for those on a budget, but this hotel offers a perfect location to explore Bordeaux on foot and has a lot of character.
- InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel*. If you don’t mind paying a premium price, you can stay in this beautiful building and get a view of the Opera from your room. The way they decorated the room will make your stay very special.
- La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez*. Another one that isn’t for those travelling on a budget. The mansion from the 19th-century is carefully decorated. It’s famous for its gastronomic restaurant and wine cellar.
- Chateau Lamothe du Prince Noir*. Have you ever dreamt of staying in a chateau? Built-in the 14th Century, it combines elegant French style and antiques and luxurious comfort. It is a bit outside Bordeaux (less than 30 minutes from the city centre) but perfectly located to enjoy the wine region.
What do you think: is Bordeaux worth visiting? Please leave a comment below!
Where is Bordeaux?
Bordeaux is a major French city located near the Atlantic coast. It is well connected with hi-speed trains and an international airport. We visited Bordeaux during a road trip in the west of France, from the Basque Country to Brittany, with a fabulous detour in the Loire Valley.