Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux is a port city in southwest France, an it is also a wine sanctuary!  It is filled with so much history that it earned a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage  site thanks to its 18th-century architecture.  Bordeaux is not the cheapest place to travel to due to the luxury draw to the city.  It is the center of the worlds most famous wine.  Bordeaux is defiantly not a city to miss – especially for wine lovers!

MUST GO TO PLACES

Activities – Wine tours can be pricey and will cost around 90 Euros per day.  Most attractions and museums cost around 9-20 Euros.

Transportation – Bordeaux is a walkable city.  The city has extensive public transportation that includes buses, trams, a ferry, and a free navette (shuttle).  Uber is also available.  To save even more money, use the carpool option in Uber.

  • Old Town Bordeaux – Home to one of the largest 18th century architectural urban areas in all of Europe.  There are 2 famous attractions: the Grand Théâtre, which was built in 1780, and the infamous Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux. The cathedral was impressive to see, though the recent cleaning restoration got rid of its old, Gothic charm.
  • Palace de la Bourse – One of the most recognizable sights of Bordeaux. Its architect was Ange-Jacques Gabriel. It was built from 1730 to 1775 In the original plan, there was a statue of King Louis XV.
  • Bordeaux Cathedral – A Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Andrew. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux.
  • Basilica of St. Michael – A Flamboyant Gothic church in Bordeaux, France, built between the end of 14th century and the 16th century. The pulpit represents Saint Michael slaying the dragon.
  • Tour Pey Berland –  Named for its patron Pey Berland, is located at the Place Pey Berland next to Cathédrale Saint-André.
  • Miroir D’eau –  The world’s largest reflecting pool, covering 3,450 square metres. Located on the quay of the Garonne in front of the Place de la Bourse, it was built in 2006.
  • Palais Rohan – in Strasbourg is the former residence of the prince-bishops and cardinals of the House of Rohan, an ancient French noble family originally from Brittany. It is a major architectural, historical, and cultural landmark in the city.
  • Rue St. Catherine – A shopping street that is about 1 mile long.
  • Dune de Pyla – Take a day trip to these sand dunes located an hour outside of Bordeaux in Pyla Sur Mer.  Dune de Plya is the largest sand dune in Europe.  It has amazing views of the area and bay.
  • Les Quais – A walking area with super scenic views with unique Aquitaine bridges.  It also is a popular destinations for clubbers and bar hoppers.
  • La Victoire – The center of Bordeaux’s suburia in the ancient times.  It is now the one of the most popular areas in the city.  Lots of young people hang out here at night due to the popular night life.
  • Victory Arch – In the center stands an amazing piece of Roman architecture.
  • Jardin Botanique – This big park in located north of the city’s center.  There are a lot of walking paths, duck & people watch, or a nice place to have a picnic.  Guided tours for anyone wanting to learn about the flowers in the garden.
  • St. Emilion –  This village has a strong connection to red wine production and its vineyards existed in the Roman times.  You can visit here on your own or on a wine tour.

ACCOMMODATIONS

There are not many hostels in the city of Bordeaux.  One hostel, Hostel 20, is located in the center of the city.  The other is about 6 miles outside of the city.  Hostel World is a great place to find the cheapest place to accommodate your needs!

  • Hostel 20 – It’s a small and friendly hostel with several dormitories ranging from 3-8 single beds, WIFI is free and accessible throughout the hostel and patio area.  28 Euros per night per person and reception accepts both cards and cash payments.
  • Bordeaux Youth Hostel – A newly renovated hostel with 30 rooms that offer a plethora of services.  Rates for individuals are 24 Euros per night, 20 Euros for 18-25 year olds in a training course in Bordeaux, 12.50 Euros for children ages 6-12, and special rates for groups.
  • S’cool Hostel – Located in the center of Bordeaux, it is perfect for those who want to discover the richness of the city.  Rates are around 27 Euros per night.

BARS & RESTAURANTS

Bordeaux has some amazing food with a ton of traditional French restaurants.  An eating out meal budget should be around 27-50 Euros.  Prix-fixe meals at lunch will save you a lot of money.  It’s a set menu that offers a 2-course meal for around 15 Euros.

  • Max à Table – French style fast-food with affordable meals starting from 12-20 Euros. Has interactive tables and is next to the public garden.  Everything is fresh, homemade and had many gluten free possibilities.
  • La Tupina – This beautiful restaurant is on one of Bordeaux’s oldest streets.  The staff or at the owners bar Cave de la Monnaie or Le Comestible (all on the same street) will happily cater to any dietary requirements.
  • Le Gabriel – Choose from the bar, the bistro, or the restaurant where there are some gluten free options.
  • Le Wine Bar – Situated in the heart of the historical district of “Saint Pierre”, the Wine Bar is a unique place in Bordeaux. In a warm bistro atmosphere, this authentic wine bar is an essential port of call for wine lovers, with its original selection 340 wines.
  •  Café La Comtesse – Located in the St Pierre district, the pint-sized Comtesse stands out for having dressed the cocktail hour in Baroque garb: chandeliers, sofas, gold-framed pictures. Works well with a soft-jazz ambiance and what are claimed to be the best mojitos in town.
  • Le Petit Bois – With indoor oak trees, hanging lanterns, you’ll find a nice, cosy spot for a glass of wine – and perhaps a bite from the menu. This runs from cheese ‘n’ charcuterie nibbles through to simple dishes like smoked duck magret.
  • L’Avant-Scène – An ideal place for a quiet night out with some great friends.  The best place for an authentic  Bordeaux experience.  Jazz concerts are frequently played here too!
  • L’Excale – Rum drinks are their speciality here and they are affordable too!  This bar will defiantly make you feel like a pirate because of the hideout feel it provides.
  • Verre o Vin – A small local bar that offers an extensive wine list.  It’ carved into the historic limestone buildings of the city’s ancient wine district.  They offer bottles or wine by the glass.  They even offer a small menu of fresh farm deli plates.
  • Le Bois dit Vin – About a block down from Verre o Vin, this place offers a completly different experience than Verre o Vin.  They offer tapas and an ever-changing Bordeaux wine list.  The bartenders happily contribute to your wine preference and will help you discover something similar in a Bordeaux style at a reasonable price.
  • Aux Quatre Coins du Vin – A local favorite that gets really busy.  They have a range of 40 wines available by the glass – either for tasting, half glass, or full glass. Prices range from 3-30 Euros and they excellent appetizers.
  • Boutique Hotel – A small cozy bar in the lobby of this hotel.  It’s the best place for the adventurous wine lover.  The waiters here don’t offer you a wine menu.  Instead, they ask what you prefer.  Then, you taste and attempt to discover the varietal, vintage, and production area.  They also offer tapas, deli platers, and garden seating.
  • Bistro du Fromager – Part wine bar, part cheese monger.  They have a small patio seating outside.  They offer an amazing selection of reasonably priced wine by the glass.  It’s a great place to discover the best pairing of cheeses and wines!
  • Bô Bar – A great place to enjoy a glass of wine outside in the bustling Place St. Pierre.  The focus on natural wines around the world.  The waiters here also helps you discover something new based on your wine preferences.  Opt for the 1 Euro snack plate.
  • Chez Jean Mi – An affordable way to slurp down oysters and sip on wine.  A half order of oysters is 7 EUR.  Other places list them for 10 EUR.
  • Le Cheverus Café – Get a set lunch in the city center for 12 EUR.  Get a table early because this place is super popular.  This is also a good place to test out your French, for there’s not much English being spoken here.
  • Bar a Vin Ecole du Vin – Here you will find 2 EUR for a glass of wine! It’s located across the street from the tourism office.

MONEY SAVING TIPS

  • Picnic – Visit the local market or discount grocery store with some local products and picnic in one of the beautiful parks or gardens in the city.
  • Walk – Bordeaux is the perfect way to see and experience the city.
  • Discount museum prices – Get a city pass for free public transportation and free entry to 20 museums.  1 day pass is 26 Euros or 3 days for 40 Euros.  This also gives you access to free walking tours and discounts on other attractions – like wine tours!
  • Couchsurf – Couchsurfing connects you with locals who will give you not only a free place to stay, but also a local tour guide who can introduce you to all the great places to see. With accommodation prices so expensive in the city, I highly suggest trying to find a host that can give you a bed and show you around. This city is not cheap and a local guide will go a long way!
  • Water is FREE – Make sure you order TAP water at restaurants.  Servers will try to provide bottled water and charge for it.
  • Free walking tour – A great place to learn more about the city and its history and architecture.
  • Eat “Moules Frites” – A dish of  mussels and fries.  There are several places in Bordeaux with moules frites on their menu for less than 10 EUR and it may include a glass of wine! They’re often advertised on signs outside of the restaurant.
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