Bordeaux



Bordeaux is a city in the Gironde region of southwest France, standing on the River Garonne. It's the country's fifth largest city, with a population of 259,809 in 2020, and another million living in its associated towns. Bordeaux is famous for its wines and deserves to be equally famous for its magnificent neo-classical waterfront and old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Understand

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Bordeaux and the whole province of Aquitaine came under English rule for 300 years from 1154, when Eleanor of Aquitaine married the future King Henry II. The English rulers enjoyed drinking the wines of Bordeaux, but they enjoyed the profits even more – trade with Bordeaux was their largest source of income. Most wine came from the Graves region just upriver from the city, and this was a clear, deep rosé called clairet, still produced today. The English came to call any Bordeaux red wine “claret”.

In 1453 France took control of Aquitaine and cut off the supply to England, who ceased to drink wine for the next 500 years, turning to beer and gin. This caused a slump in Bordeaux, which only revived from the 16th century through trans-Atlantic trade. The city then prospered through the 18th century, when most of its fine buildings were erected, and it provided the model for Baron Haussmann's 19th-century remodelling of Paris. Bordeaux also came to eclipse other French Atlantic ports such as Bayonne and La Rochelle. Much of the wealth was based on the triangular slave trade: sugar, rum and other plantation products were shipped to France from the Americas and Caribbean, France shipped industrial wares to Africa, whence the slaves were sent west to work those plantations.

Bordeaux suffered a human cost in later turmoils: the French Revolution, Napoleonic wars, and First and Second World Wars. But the damage to buildings was small enough to be repaired, rather than needing whole-scale rebuilding. The 18th-century grandeur was thus preserved. It helped that the limestone and gravel subsoil wouldn't take the weight of high-rise buildings. Credit is also due to the Mayor of Bordeaux (and former French prime minister) Alain Juppé, for keeping out modern intrusions while revitalising the inner city, with pedestrian precincts and a revamped transport system.

Office de Tourisme is the TIC, at 12 Cours du 30 Juillet, southwest corner of Place des Quinconces, tel +33 5 5600 6600. It's open M–Sa 09:00–18:30, Su 09:30–17:00.

Get in

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By plane

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It has many connections from other cities in west Europe, UK and Ireland, and North Africa (Tunis, Algers, Agadir, Casablanca, Marrakesh, Oujda and Fez). Other destinations include Istanbul and Tel Aviv. Air Transat have seasonal transatlantic flights. For the time being there are domestic flights from Paris Orly and CDG, but these will fall foul of the law banning flights between cities reached overland in under 2½ hours. Other domestic routes are from Ajaccio, Lyon, Lille, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice and Strasbourg.

1 Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD  IATA) (15 km west of city centre). There are in effect 2½ terminals, side by side. Air France uses Terminal B, the budget airlines use Terminal "Billi" which is the half, an add-on to B. Other flights use A and B; these two are modern spacious terminals with the usual land- and air-side facilities including car hire. "Billi" has a poky, cramped check-in area, but shops and restaurants once you get airside. It is notoriously badly managed and understaffed which results in long queues, and not infrequently passengers missing their flights. Allow extra time for check-in and security. Bordeaux-Mérignac Air Base (Q2886451) on Wikidata Bordeaux-Mérignac Air Base on Wikipedia

Getting to the centre:

  • Tram A runs to city centre daily 05:00–00:00 every 10 min, taking 35 minutes. Change at Porte de Bourgogne for the railway station and other tram and bus lines. You pay the standard city bus fare of €1.70, see below for other ticket options. Outbound, alternate trams branch north to Mérignac and Le Haillan Rostand and don't go to the airport.
  • Bus 30’ Direct runs to the railway station non-stop, daily 07:00-20:00 every 30 min M–Sa and hourly on Sunday. The single fare is €8 (concessions €7) and you can pay on the bus by card or cash.
  • Bus 39 skirts the west edge of the city from Pessac in the south to the airport, Le Haillan Rostand and Les Pins in Mérignac. It goes nowhere near downtown.

By train

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TGV trains speed hourly from Paris Montparnasse, taking just over two hours non-stop. A couple of trains per day run direct from Paris CDG airport, though the travel time of almost four hours is slower than changing at Montparnasse between RER and TGV. Alternate TGVs from Paris continue south along the coast to Bayonne, Biarritz, and the Spanish border at Hendaye. Cheaper regional TER trains also run this route, as well as north to La Rochelle and inland to Périgueux and Limoges. Fast Intercité trains run from Toulouse, Montpellier and Marseille.

2 Gare Saint-Jean Bordeaux-Saint-Jean station on Wikipedia is the railway station, 4 km south-east of the city centre. The main entrance faces west down Cours de la Marne; buses, trams and taxis leave from the forecourt here. Take Tram C to get to the centre if you are going to the more northern part, or a bus for the central area around Place de la Victoire.

The main ticket hall is at the north end of the station building, under the big network map and vast vaulting ceiling. Most of the self-service ticket machines are also here, plus (usefully) a piano. There's a selection of fast food places around the hall. The lower floor is a shopping mall and subway access to platforms.

By bus

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Flixbus runs from Paris Bercy Seine (7–8 hours, 4 per day), Toulouse (3 hours, 6 per day), Bayonne (2–3 hours, 3 per day), Lyon (7–8 hours, 2 per day), Nice (one per day, 12 hours) and Nantes (4-5 hours, 4 per day). They also run direct but not daily from Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Algeciras (for Morocco ferries). Change in Paris or Lyon for other international routes.

3 The intercity bus stop, 146 Rue des Terres de Borde (just north of the railway station, where the tracks cross Quai de Paludate).

By road

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From the north (Paris, Tours, Poitier) follow the A10. From Toulouse to the SW take A62, from Bayonne take A63.

A beltway A630/N230 encircles the city. It's usually congested and slow-moving in the rush hours.

Get around

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Pont-de-Pierre

Orientation

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Bordeaux's centrepiece is the elegant riverfront and former port, where fine 18th-century buildings stretch for 3 km (2 mi) along the west bank of the Garonne, from Quinconces in the north to St Croix in the south. The old central districts of St Pierre and St Michel extend inland for about 1 km. Most city sights are in this area. The railway station is south, at the foot of Cours de la Marne. To the north, Quai des Chartrons has been redeveloped as the “City of Wine”, and has the wine museum. The main university campus is in the suburb of Talence, 10 km southwest. The districts east of the river are modern: the main reasons to cross are for the view back west in morning sunshine, and to visit the Botanic Gardens.

On foot

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Although Bordeaux is a big city, the sights of interest are fairly close together in the old centre, and much of it is pedestrianised. A car here would be a handicap.

By bus

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TBM re-organised the city network in Sep 2023. Beware outdated information in tourist guides, even on this page.

All public transport information is posted on the TBM website. Maps and times can also be easily accessed with Google Maps, just select route "By public transport" when getting directions.

The city bus routes fan out from four hubs:

  • The main railway station, Gare Saint-Jean, has buses to city centre, university, and north side.
  • Place de la Victoire has buses to the centre, railway station, University, and north and south-west sides of the city.
  • Place Gambetta has buses to la Victoire, the railway station, and west, north-west, and north sides.
  • Quinconces is a main interchange between trams and buses.

A small electric bus la navette du centre-ville potters around the pedestrian areas. It has no bus stops, just wave your hand to be let on, and tell the driver when you want to get off.

Single tickets can be purchased from the bus driver, for €1.80 in 2023; a return is €3.20. If you're likely to make eight or more journeys, buy a package of ten tickets for €14.50 or a daily / weekly pass for €5 / €14.20. All tickets are good for one hour of unlimited transfers on bus and tram, but you must re-validate your ticket each time you change. Single, return and ten tickets can be bought from the tram stop machines, which accept cards or coins. For passes you need to present photo ID, and can do this online or at the kiosks at Gare Saint-Jean, Place Gambetta and Quinconces.

By tram

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There are four tram routes (A, B, C & D) crossing the city. Tickets and fares are the same as for the bus, with unlimited transfers within one hour. A distinctive feature of the tramway is that within the inner city, it has no overhead wires as it uses a ground-level power supply.

By ferry

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The river-bus BAT³ or Batcub runs from Stalingrad/Quai de Queyries on the east bank, northward along the west bank to Quinconces, Les Hangars and Cite du Vins, finally to Lormont (east bank, beneath Pont Aquitaine.) Ferries run every 45 min, 7 days a week, with the complete run taking 40 min. They're part of the TBM city transport system so tickets and tariffs are the same as for bus and tram. Bicycles are carried.

By bicycle

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V3[dead link] run the bike-share scheme in Bordeaux. You need to register online and pay a deposit, €140 for a standard bike and €200 for an e-bike. The minimum registration is one year, €33 as of Nov 2023. Each bike usage is free up to 30 minutes, thereafter it's €1 per hour. There are almost 200 docking stations around the city, and V3's interactive map shows real-time availability.

See

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Église Sainte-Croix
  • 1 Place des Quinconces is the broad leafy square at the focus of the west riverbank. The ornate Girondins Memorial commemorates those guillotined here after that faction lost the power struggle with the Montagnards in 1793, and the Revolution descended into a "Reign of Terror". The square is nowadays a transport hub - just about every city bus and tram route passes through it.
  • Port of the Moon is the elegant waterfront crescent centred on Place des Quinconces that earned Bordeaux its UNESCO citation. You get a sublime view from the opposite riverbank at dusk.

South of Quinconces

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  • 2 Place Gambetta, with upmarket mansions, is just outside the former walls, with Porte Dijeaux the city gate.
  • Musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design on Rue Bouffard is closed until 2025.
  • 3 Cathédrale St-André, Place Pey Berland, +33 5 5544 6729. M 15:00-19:00, Tu-Sa 10:30-12:00, 14:00-19:00, Su 09:30-12:00, 14:00-19:00. Grand church built from 1170 in Gothic style. It was trashed during the Revolution but restored from 1803. You can climb the detached bell-tower "Pey-Berland". Bordeaux Cathedral (Q656738) on Wikidata Bordeaux Cathedral on Wikipedia
  • 4 Musée des Beaux-Arts, 20 Cours d'Albret (west side of Hotel de Ville, but you need to enter from C d'Albret), +33 5 5610 2056. W-M 11:00-18:00. An enlightening walk through the history of western art. Start in the south wing which runs from the Renaissance via the Flemish masters to end of 18th century. The north wing continues through the major 19th and early 20th-century art movements. Exhibitions are in the annexe, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, on Place du Colonel Raynal 200 m north. Adult €8, conc €4.50. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux (Q954222) on Wikidata Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux on Wikipedia
  • 5 Place de la Bourse is surrounded by grand buildings. You can also admire their reflections in the Water Mirror on the other side of the boulevard: it's a thin skin of water so in warm weather children scamper through it.
  • Musée National des Douanes, 1 Place de la Bourse (south side of square), +33 9 7027 5766. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Surprisingly informative museum of border control and customs, and their smuggler opponents, down the centuries. Signage only in French, non-francophones should get the audioguide. Adult €4, conc €2, child free.
  • 6 Place de Parlement is an elegant pedestrian plaza lined with eating places.
  • Église Saint-Pierre is from 15th century, with a flamboyant Gothic portal, and stained glass windows gloriously backlit by the afternoon sun. It's on Place Saint-Pierre 150 m south of Place de la Bourse.
  • 7 Porte Cailhau is one of the old city gates. You can pay a few euro to enter the gatehouse but there's not much within and only a limited view.
  • 8 Porte de Bourgogne was a medieval city gate, but the present Romanesque arch was built in 1757.
  • 9 Basilique Saint-Michel, Place Meynard, +33 5 5691 6713. Daily 09:00-19:00. Flamboyant Gothic church built from the 14th to 16th century, with detached bell-tower. Basilica of St. Michael, Bordeaux (Q2887024) on Wikidata Basilica of St. Michael, Bordeaux on Wikipedia
  • 10 Église Sainte-Croix, Place Pierre Renaudel, +33 5 5694 3050. Su 09:30-15:30. This was built in the 11th / 12th century as a Benedictine abbey church, and was renovated in the 19th. Church of the Holy Cross (Q1064995) on Wikidata Church of the Holy Cross, Bordeaux on Wikipedia
  • 11 Place de la Victoire, with an archway, is at the foot of Rue St-Catherine the main shopping mall
  • 12 Musée D'Aquitaine, 20 Cours Pasteur, +33 5 5601 5100. Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. Brilliant museum with exhibits from the Old Stone Age through Roman times to the early modern period. Adult €8, conc €4.50. Aquitaine Museum (Q3329534) on Wikidata Musée d'Aquitaine on Wikipedia

North of Quinconces

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Grand Théâtre
Chartrons is the riverbank district, with Quartier de Grand Parc inland.
  • 13 Musée d'Art Contemporain (CAPC), 7 Rue Ferrère, +33 5 5600 8150, . Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. Remarkable building, the Entrepôt Lainé is a huge 19th warehouse for food imports. Most of the space is given over to changing exhibitions and installations (and prices are reduced whenever there isn't one). Display of the permanent collection also rotates. €8, conc €4.50. CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux (Q2945071) on Wikidata CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux on Wikipedia
  • Église Saint-Louis des Chartrons is a stonking great 19th century church in Gothic style, on Rue Notre Dame 200 m north of the contemporary art museum.
  • 14 Musée du Vin et du Négoce, 41 Rue Borie, +33 5 5690 1913. Daily 10:00-18:00. History, old equipment and new technology from 2000 years of wine production in the region. The entry fee includes a taste of two wines. Adult €10, conc €5.
  • 15 Musée Mer Marine, 89 Rue des Étrangers, +33 5 5719 7773. Tu-Su 10:30-19:00. Extensive museum of shipping and the sea. Adult €14, child €10.
  • 16 Base sous-marine, 284 Blv Alfred Daney, +33 5 3500 0090. Su-Th 10:00-189:00, F Sa 10:00-21:00. Wartime submarine pens, now used for art installations. Until the end of 2023 there's a son et lumière show on the works of Dali and Gaudi.
  • 17 Jardin Botanique du Jardin Publique, Rue de la Course, +33 5 5652 1877. Daily Apr-Oct 07:00-20:00, Nov-Mar 07:00-18:00. Started as a garden of medicinal herbs in 1629, the present garden dates from 1858 and covers 0.5 ha. This is the original now specified as "du Jardin Publique". In 2003 an offshoot garden de la Bastide was opened across the river. free. Jardin botanique de Bordeaux (Q3162390) on Wikidata Jardin botanique de Bordeaux on Wikipedia
  • Muséum de Bordeaux - sciences et nature, 5 Place Bardineau (100 m south of Botanic Gardens), +33 5 2457 6530. Tu-Su 10:30-18:00. Extensive natural history museum on three floors. Adult €8, conc €4.50, child €3.50.
  • 18 Palais Gallien is the scrappy ruin of a Roman amphitheatre from 3rd century AD.

Elsewhere

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  • 19 Jardin Botanique de la Bastide is the extension Botanic Garden east of the river.
  • 20 Parc de l'Ermitage would be a pleasant green space but for the strewn trash, and the Hermitage itself is a dismal crumbling recess.
  • 21 Villenave d'Ornon is a suburb 5 km south of city centre. It's mostly modern, but Église Saint-Martin is from the 11th century. Château de Sarcignan is a mansion of 1860, now derelict. Château de Sallgourde remains closed. Château de Thouaré is a private property but you can visit the park.
  • 22 Prieuré de Cayac was built from 1210 and is a stopover on the pilgrimage to Santiago, astride the Via Turonensis from Paris and Orleans. It had a priory, a hospital, and a cemetery if medieval remedies failed.
  • 23 Les Quartiers Modernes Frugès in the suburb of Pessac is a housing development of 1924 that was the prototype for Le Corbusier's ideas. It drew rotten tomatoes from all quarters, including from those condemned to live in it, and has been preserved as a rare surviving example of what other cities have been pleased to demolish. Buses 24 and 34 run nearby.

Do

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  • National Opera is on Place de la Comédie, 100 m south of Place des Quinconces. As well as opera it hosts ballet and musicals.
  • Jeux Barjo, 12 Rue Saint-James (100 m north of Grosse Cloche), +33 5 5651 0021. Tu-Sa 14:00-00:00, Su 14:00-22:00. Bar specialising in board games ancient and modern: you pay for either one long or three short games. Staff assist if you want to try a game you're not familiar with. They also stage tournaments.

Taste wine

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Wine regions around Bordeaux
Main article: wine

Bewildered by the choice in your local supermarket? Prepare to be overwhelmed by what Bordeaux has to offer... but, if you're not sure of your taste, do make use of that supermarket to do your homework beforehand. The top vineyards start from around €500 a bottle and run up to €50,000 and beyond. This is money down the drain if you only have a €5 palate. But you can easily organise yourself a blind tasting - this cuts through all the marketing, peer pressure and posing. Blind, can you tell a Claret from a Burgundy? Or indeed from a white, or squid's ink? But if you find the good stuff speaks to you, calls you, leaves a memory on your palate, then Bordeaux is where it is calling you home.

The appellation system (AOC) of the Bordeaux area is bewildering, with 50 AOCs in eight main regions. Wines mostly use the more specific AOCs where those are applicable, so don't just look for "AOC Bordeaux". A good start is the Musée du Vin et du Négoce, see above. A variety of tours and tastings are organised by Bordeaux Tourist Agency. These include châteaux and vineyards, city routes, and wine & cookery classes.

You can tour the vineyards independently, but then you need a car, and there's a fraught conversation to be had about who's driving afterwards and how much of a shared holiday experience this is turning out to be. Each area has its own Maison du Vin showcasing local products. Several châteaux are open to drop-in visitors, others are by appointment, see Tourist Agency website above. The top châteaux will be snooty if they don't recognise you as a serious buyer: they're fed up with time-wasters seeking a free glug of Grand Cru Kings-Ransom 1896.

Sports

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The ice rink is at Mériadeck
  • Football: FC Girondins de Bordeaux play football in Ligue 2 the second tier. You should have no difficulty buying tickets on the day. Girondins home ground is Nouveau Stade (or "Matmut Atlantique", capacity 42,000), 10 km north of city centre. Get there on Tram C to Parc des Expositions, or Bus 25 or 37.
  • Rugby union: Union Bordeaux Bègles play in Top 14, the top flight of French rugby. They were formed in 2006 by the merger of Stade Bordelais and Bègles. Their home ground is Stade Chaban-Delmas (capacity 34,400) west of city centre on the inner ring-road. The former Bègles (Andre Moga) stadium is now just a training ground.
  • Ice hockey: Boxers de Bordeaux play in Ligue Magnus, the French top professional league. They play at Meriadeck ice-rink, which also hosts public skating and ice-karting.

Learn

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Porte Cailhau

Bordeaux University, ten km southwest of the centre, offers a wide variety of courses, from science to humanities, from beginner classes to high-level research. The laboratories are among the best in France. It is possible to take French courses there in the summer, with Erasmus students.

DEFLE[dead link] (Department for the study of French as a foreign language) is attached to Université Michel de Montaigne – Bordeaux III. It offers both semester and vacation courses in French for foreign students.

Buy

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Bordeaux has made its wealth out of trade, and the local economic system relies heavily on shops and trading halls. The Pedestrian Centre is full of stores of all kinds, from clothes to art, craftworks, food and wine. For luxury items, head to Gambetta Square and its surroundings.

Buy some local music: Kap Bambino is an electronic music duo formed by singer Caroline Martial and beat-smith boyfriend Orion Bouvier.

Clothing is less expensive than in Paris, so wear comfortable shoes and head to Rue Sainte Catherine, the longest pedestrian precinct in Europe and the best place for shopping. For some cheap second-hand and vintage clothes, try KiloChic on 40 Cours de la Somme. There are also a few AMOS second-hand stores in the city that offer a nice selection of second-hand and vintage stuff.

If you buy wine, do it in town (duty paid) to go in checked baggage; the airport's not a good place because of tourist-trappy prices, limited selection and carry-on limits. Keep receipts handy, your own country probably has a bigger customs allowance for wine that's duty-paid.

Eat

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Budget

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  • 1 La Jeune Garde, 19 Rue des Douves, +33 9 8755 3151. Daily 11:00-14:30, 18:00-00:00. Pleasant food in a friendly rustic cafe.
  • Chat Noir Cha Vert, 47 Rue des Faures (north side of Basilique Saint-Michel), +33 5 5795 9332. Pleasant place for light bites and views of the basilica.
  • Beirut Kitchen, 8 Quai de la Grave (east side of Basilique Saint-Michel), +33 7 8846 9367. W-F 12:00-14:00, 19:00-22:00, Sa Su 12:00-22:00. Good mezze and other Levantine fare.
  • Chez Ta Mère, 12 Rue Camille Sauvageau (50 m south of Basilique Saint-Michel), +33 5 5692 5512. Tu-Sa 18:30-02:00. As the name suggests, they serve rustic home-style cuisine.
  • Ebisu, 265 Rue Saint-Catherine (100 north of Place de la Victoire), +33 5 5691 3252. M-Th 11:30-14:30, 18:30-22:30, F-Su 11:30-22:30. Tasty ramen and other Japanese dishes.
  • Remparts Café, 75 Rue des Remparts (north side of cathedral), +33 5 5681 4429. M-F 08:00-20:30, Sa 08:00-19:00. Charming bistro a few steps from the cathedral.
  • L'Autre Petit Bois, 12 Place du Parlement (west side of plaza), +33 5 5648 0293. Daily 09:00-00:45. Quirky sandwich cafe, generous portions, gets crowded.
  • Seang Thai, 26 Rue Saint-Rémi (100 m west of Place de la Bourse), +33 5 5644 2978. Tu-Sa 12:00-14:00, 19:00-22:00. It's Chinese not Thai, and the flavours are not particularly strong.
  • Wild Note Vegan Burger, 20 Rue Sanche de Pomiers. This is temporarily closed.

Mid-range

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The port in 1886 painted by Gauguin
  • Café Populaire, 1 Rue Kléber (200 m east of Place de la Victoire), +33 5 5694 3906. W-Sa 19:30-02:00. Relaxed restaurant, then it morphs into a dad-dancing arena.
  • 2 Le Café du Port, 1 Quai Deschamps, +33 5 5677 8118. Daily 12:00-14:00, 19:30-22:30. Great views of Pont de Pierre and the left riverbank. Good dining to match, they often host events.
  • 3 L'entrecôte, 4 Cours du 30 juillet, +33 5 5681 7610. Daily 12:00-14:00, 19:00-22:00. A city institution, no reservations and you'll probably have a long wait in line. What you get is a walnut salad, two pieces of entrecôte steak and unlimited fries, plus dessert and wine. Most customers reckon it's worth the wait.
  • 4 Couleur Cafe, 28 Rue du Pere Louis de Jabrun, +33 5 5648 2858. Mostly positive reviews for this bistro by the cathedral.
  • 5 Chez Faty, 190 Cours Saint Louis, +32 6 6791 2661. M-Sa 11:00-14:30. Delicious lunchtime couscous and tajine.

Splurge

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  • 6 Restaurant Soléna, 5 Rue Chauffour (Tram Line A), +33 5 5753 2806. Tu-Th 19:30-21:00, F Sa 12:00-13:15, 19:30-21:0. Outstanding French / Oriental cuisine. The chef is Victor Ostronzec.
  • 7 La Tupina, 6 Rue Porte de la Monnaie, +33 5 5691 5637. M 19:00-22:00, Tu-Su 12:00-14:00, 19:00-22:0. Great regional cuisine and friendly service in a bistro ambiance, try the corn-fed Landes fowl.
  • 8 L'Estacade, Quai de Queyries (east river bank), +33 5 5754 0250. Daily 12:00-14:30,19:30-22:30. Great food and views in a building jutting over the water on stilts, reservations recommended.

Drink

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Rose window of St Michael's Basilica
See also: #Taste wine
Place de la Victoire is the main place for pubs and bars, while night-clubs are on the Quais near the railway station.
  • Dick Turpin's, 72 Rue du Loup (100 m east of cathedral), +33 5 5648 0752. Tu-Sa 17:00-02:00, F Sa 18:00-01:00. English style pub with good drink and music, relaxed friendly vibe.
  • El Chuchumbe, 6 Rue Causserouge (off Rue Leyteire), +33 5 5631 2588. W-Sa 18:00-02:00. Latin bar serving inexpensive mojitos, and towards midnight it becomes a salsa dance floor.
  • The Frog and Rosbif, 23 Rue Ausone (100 m south of Porte Cailhau). Su-Th 17:00-01:00, F Sa 17:00-02:00. English pub with micro-brewery in a 16th century women's prison, a popular gathering spot for live TV sports.
  • Le Break, 23 Rue de Candale (50 m north of Place de la Victoire), +33 5 5692 9207. M-Sa 10:00-06:30. A popular bar with a young crowd.
  • Le Café Brun, 45 Rue Saint Rémi (one block north of Place de Parlement), +33 5 5652 2049. M-Sa 09:00-01:40, Su 13:00-01:40. Atmospheric old bar with a huge selection of whiskies and Belgian beers.

Sleep

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Budget

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  • 1 Auberge de la Jeunesse (Youth Hostel), 22 Cours Barbey (300 m west of railway station), +33 5 5633 0070. Bordeaux's only hostel is central but a dingy basic place. They have ten rooms with two beds, 17 with four and three with six. No access to rooms 11:00-16:00. €25 ppn.

Mid-range

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The submarine pens are now an art space
Ibis have four hotels just west of the railway station:

Splurge

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  • 6 InterContinental (Le Grand Hotel), 2-5 Place de la Comedie (opposite Opera / Theatre), +33 5 5730 4444. Five-star hotel by the opera house, run by IHG group. They're going for the old look, which in places feels a bit worn. B&B double €400.
  • 7 Novotel Bordeaux Lac, Avenue Jean-Gabriel Domergue, +33 5 5643 6500. Comfy place with pool besides Bordeaux lake, near the Convention centre. B&B double €120.
  • 8 Hotel Indigo Bordeaux Centre Chartrons (formerly Mercure), 18 parvis des Chartons, +33 5 5601 7979. Smart business hotel on Quais near the congress centre. B&B double €120.

Connect

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As of Sept 2021, Bordeaux has 5G from all French carriers. Wifi is widely available in public places, transport, cafes and so on.

Stay safe

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Usual advice about care of valuables, traffic, and avoiding low-life. The city is not immune to pickpocketing and drink-spiking.

Cope

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Consulates

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  • UK UK, 14 Rue Montesquieu, +33 5 5722 2110.
  • USA USA, 89 Quai des Chartrons, +33 1 4312 2222, . The consulate's role is to schmooze with locals, and they refer you to the Paris Embassy for anything to do with passports, visas, or mishaps to US citizens.

Go next

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  • North: Soulac-sur-Mer at the tip of the Medoc peninsula is almost engulfed by sand dunes.
  • West is the Atlantic Ocean and long sandy beaches. Arcachon is an attractive small seaside town.
  • East is the UNESCO heritage village of Saint-Émilion, and top-rank wine châteaux.
  • South is the Graves region. The river valley is lined with chateaux and big-name vineyards.


Routes through Bordeaux
merges with Rocade de Bordeaux (anticlockwise) / Rocade de Bordeaux (clockwise)  SW L'Aquitaine NE  NiortParis
merges with Rocade de Bordeaux  NW Autoroute des Deux Mers SE  → junction Autoroute de Gascogne / for Mont-de-MarsanToulouse
BayonneArcachon (via ) / Landes  SW Autoroute des Landes NE  merges with Rocade de Bordeaux



This city travel guide to Bordeaux is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.