The Bordeaux City Guide
I’ll be honest with you, we purely visited Bordeaux because a one-way flight from Dublin airport was €40. That €40 turned out to be well worth it. The nearly 2 days spent in Bordeaux was the perfect amount of time to explore, eat, drink, and relax. One of my favorite parts of the trip was that there was no big pressure to see or do anything here. That may make it sound boring, but I can guarantee you will not be bored in Bordeaux.
I didn’t know anyone who had visited Bordeaux, so I had no recommendations of anything what to do/see/eat/drink, at all! My two old reliable sources of TripAdvisor and Pinterest thankfully came through for me and I was left with an excess amount of choice which I will also share with you. I am trying a new style of how I lay out this city guide and sharing places we didn’t go to but made it on the list to try. Let me know what y’all think!
We flew Aer Lingus from Dublin Airport (here’s how to get there if you’re wondering!) into Bordeaux Airport and let’s just say that I’ve been in nicer airports. Cleanliness aside, we were easily able to get to our hotel on one of the many buses that services the airport into town for a whopping €1.90 a ticket each. Once in Bordeaux we walked everywhere we went as the city is extremely walkable.
WHERE TO STAY:
I will shout this until the cows come home but I do not care about staying in nice accommodation. When I travel, I want to see the destination so hotels/hostels/BNBs to me are a place to sleep, shower and store my luggage. Our room was cozy and clean so there isn’t much more to ask for. There was a small kitchenette which could be handy if you were staying for longer than we did. We were less than a 10-minute walk into the main little square with the university and plenty of bars/restaurants.
WHERE TO EAT:
We were in Bordeaux for just under 48 hours, so my food selection isn’t huge, but I promise it is good!
We tried to eat at LA COLLATION for brunch but were told there were reservations despite the place being empty. A quick Google search brought up CAFÉ KOKOMO which was SO good y’all. I am not a huge avocado toast girl but when I saw the toast being delivered to another table, I knew I had to order it. I cannot recommend it enough! The coffee here is also so tasty! The laid-back taking your time style of French eating is in full effect here so bear that in mind when visiting. The staff are great and super-efficient.
For our first night we had dinner at LA TANIERE. The steak with the red wine sauce is where it is at. The steak is big, and you get plenty of chips for €19. We also ordered a burger cooked medium and it was one of the rarest burgers I have ever seen. This doesn’t bother me, but I know it would make a lot of people feel sick so just a warning! I would say to go earlier in the evening if you can so you can enjoy the views of the water across the road.
For our last dinner in Bordeaux we went with a large charcuterie board at TERRES DE BORDEAUX. The grand total here for the board and two glasses of red wine + a tip was only €22! It looks a little dingy, but the owner was very nice, and the food was delicious!
Some other places I had saved to visit but didn’t get to include BAUD ET MILLET which is highly recommended online but you need to reserve if you want to partake in this cheese lover’s dream. I was disappointed about missing out on LE PETIT BEC for dinner because the photos I saw online looked unreal. I hardly saw a bad review of this place and would try to visit if I find myself in Bordeaux again.
If you’re looking for something sweet the ice cream from LA MAISON DU GLACIER looked unreal and has great reviews.
WHERE TO DRINK:
If you have read any of my city guides, I think you will have noticed that I love craft beer. So, a lot of my recommendations are craft beer related but I do have some wine and cocktail selections too!
On our first night we had a few beers at JAQEN CRAFT BEER. These beers are slightly pricey, but the staff is very informative, and the space seemed to be full of locals. After dinner at LA TANIERE, we popped into LES BERTHOM for a few late-night beers. The selection here was broad and they also have cocktails if that is more your thing.
LE BIERISTERIE had a smaller selection of craft beers but what they had was delicious! We visited here after the LE MIROIR D’EAU, so be sure to pop in after your visit there. Once again, a little pricey but the quality of their beer is outstanding.
We also had craft beer at TITI TWISTER, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit here. It isn’t a tourist spot, so it is good from that perspective, but it seemed like where a lot of old rockers who still want to be young drink. This was close to our accommodation which worked out well but like I said, don’t go out of your way for this.
If you’re looking for some cheap wine in a nice setting, be sure to head to BAR A VIN. The staff weren’t the nicest people I’ve ever encountered but I could deal with it for a €3 glass of rose.
Some places we didn’t go but I had on the list were LE METROPOLITAN for wine and some fab looking charcuterie boards. CAFÉ BRUN looked like a buzzy little spot for a beer and if you’re looking for cocktails, SIMONE seems like the place to be.
WHERE TO EXPLORE:
An aspect I enjoyed in Bordeaux was that there didn’t seem to be an attraction you just HAVE to visit which took a lot of pressure off our short window of a visit. I loved THE WATER MIRROR (LE MIROIR D’EAU), which is the world's largest reflecting pool, covering 3,450 square metres. It is located on the quay of the Garonne in front of the PLACE DE LA BOURSE, it was built in 2006. It is made of granite slabs covered by 2 cm of water.
The MARCHE DES CAPUCINS was a small food market that was close to our hotel. It seemed to sell more goods for you to take home and cook yourself but there were also sweet treats and flowers that you could enjoy without preparing yourself! It is no Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria like Barcelona has to offer but it is still worth a look around.
The weather was unreal when we visited PLACE DES QUINCONCES which probably added to the charm. This is one of the largest city squares in Europe. It was laid out in 1820 on the site of Château Trompette and was intended to prevent rebellion against the city. BAR A VIN is right around the corner from here so be sure to enjoy some cheap wine when in the area.
Now for bits we didn’t do but made it on the list. The MUSEE D’AQUITAINE is a collection of objects and documents from the history of Bordeaux and Aquitaine. If you are a history lover or someone who likes to learn more about where you are this would be the perfect way to spend a few hours.
The CITE DU VIN kept coming up when I was researching what to do in Bordeaux. CITE DU VIN is a museum that also holds shows, movie projections and academic seminars on the theme of wine. However, after a bit more research, MUSEE DU VIN ET DU NEGOCE appeared to be the wine museum more people preferred. It is small but has great reviews and you get wine at the end – what more could you want!
Need even more inspiration for where to visit next? Be sure to check out my guides for Amsterdam, Rome, Dublin, Madrid, Barcelona, Edinburgh, and Lisbon. And while you’re at it, make sure you read 4 Easy Steps to Plan the Ultimate City Break before planning your next trip!
*all images original to Candid Alexandra