Into the Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Planning a Trip to Bordeaux

So did the wine, medieval village, and ocean convince you that a trip to Bordeaux is a good idea? If it did, here's what I recommend to pull the vacation together.

Make the city of Bordeaux your home-base during your stay. It is the largest city in the area and offers plenty of choices for accommodations, restaurants, and night life. 

One of the memorable architectural features of Bordeaux, the Pont de Pierre

Four days/three nights is ideal to carve out of your schedule to see the area. I recommend renting a car if possible to have the freedom to meander through the surrounding area at your leisure. If that's not an option, Bordeaux does have a train station - take a look at SNCF's website to book tickets.  However you arrive, take the first day to explore the city of Bordeaux a bit. 

When we stayed in Bordeaux in March with another couple, we chose to rent an apartment with two bedrooms and a lovely terrace that overlooked the Porte de Bourgogne. If you're staying for a few days, especially with a party of three or more, renting an apartment gives communal space to enjoy. Like the al fresco dinner we shared on a surprisingly warm March night, with this view and a glass of wine in hand.

If you're looking for a reliable hotel room instead, I also had a pleasant stay with my parents for a night in an Ibis. Ibis is a budget hotel chain that lacks character, but offers clean, standard, cookie-cutter rooms at a good price. We stayed at Hotel Ibis Centre Bastide. Although the center of town was on the opposite side of the main bridge, Pont de Pierre, it was a manageable fifteen minute walk to get across to the action. 

The view from the Bordeaux Terrace, a great home-base that sleeps 4

For a more luxurious experience, try the swanky Grand Hotel de Bordeaux and Spa. Or just admire it from a distance like I did.

Across the street from the above hotel is the Grand Theater of Bordeaux. Consider seeing a production here in the evening. And whatever you chose to do, make sure you get to experience Bordeaux lit up at night.

On one of the full days, plan a full day's worth of visiting the prestigious vineyards of Bordeaux. If you are renting a car, take a look at my vineyard picks in the vicinity. If you can't drive around on your own, look into a tour through the Bordeaux Office of Tourism. Unwind after the vineyard tours with oysters and seafood in Arcachon, with its serene setting next to the ocean.

The other full day is without a doubt to be spent in charming Saint-Émilion. Find the specifics in my post on what to see in the town itself, as well as how to get out to some of my all-time favorite vineyards. Afterwards, head back to Bordeaux for a nice meal out. We ate with our friends at Restaurant du Loup and enjoyed a leisurely, full four-course French dinner paired with some Bordeaux wine, of course. My parents and I dined at Le Coin de Camille for a three-course feast (no cheese). The service was especially friendly and understanding when we arrived at 7:00pm sharp (opening time) and ravenous after the drive down from Paris. Either would make an excellent choice!

Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux

On your last day, take a walk through the Public Garden (which also has a botanical garden within its boundaries). Then maybe stroll through an open-air market before heading on your way out of town.

The public garden with a view of the Monument aux Girondins rising up behind the buildings

After a wonderful trip to Bordeaux, be sure to leave with a few bottles of wine to extend the memories of the adventure!


STOP: and have a nice dinner here -

Restuarant du Loup

66 Rue du Loup, 33000 Bordeaux

Open Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday, Monday), 12:00pm-2:00pm / 7:30pm-9:30pm


Le Coin de Camille

56 Rue du Passage Saint-Georges, 33000 Bordeaux

Open Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday): Monday-Wednesday 12:00pm-2:30pm; Thursday-Saturday 12:00pm-2:30pm / 7:00pm-11:00pm



Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux (Bordeaux Cathedral)

Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux

Open daily (closed Monday mornings) - see timetable on the website


Jardin Public (Public Garden)

Place du Champ de Mars, 33000 Bordeaux

Open daily, opening time at 7:00am all year, closing time: April 1-May 31 8:00pm / June 1-August 31 9:00pm / September 1-30 8:00pm / October 1-31 7:00pm / November 1-February 14 6:00pm / February 15-March 31 7:00pm



Experience a market in Bordeaux - see a list here of all the markets (outdoors, covered, antiques, organic). Sorry, the link is in French only!



Rent an apartment from Bordeaux Apartments - have apartments for 2, 4, or 6 people

Send an inquiry through the form on the website.


Stay in a hotel: Ibis Bordeaux Centre Bastide 

16 Allée Serr, 33000 Bordeaux


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