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Bordeaux Holidays

Lavish buildings and world-class wine

Ah, Bordeaux. Even the name sounds elegant. One of France’s biggest cities, it has long been celebrated for its wine-making prowess, but there’s more to this place than just fabulous plonk. This port city is in the country’s south-west, not far from gastronomic titans like Toulouse and Dordogne, and just three hours from the Spanish border. It means the foodie scene is made up of a heady mix of influences, and dining in the city is a joy. Lemon-drenched oysters and tender Agneau de Pauillac lamb are just a couple of the not-to-be-missed local specialities.

There’s something for everyone in Bordeaux. The River Garonne runs through the city, and its banks are blessed with some of the most beautiful architecture in France. Cue grand 18th-century palaces with leafy parks peppered in between. The protected old town is also rich in age-old structures, and a lovely place to explore, thanks to its plentiful museums and galleries. Elsewhere in the city, you’ll find luxury designer boutiques and an exciting nightlife scene. As for the region’s outskirts, they’re characterised by more than 80 miles of beaches and forested countryside. Lots come for the rural surroundings alone – to tackle the hiking trails and pay a visit to the famous vineyards. 

All resorts in Bordeaux

Three tips for a top trip

Explore by tram

Bordeaux has three tram lines to whisk you from A to B. It’s a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time.

Arrive with an appetite

From elegant French bistros to experimental fusion eateries, Bordeaux has it all. Its most famous speciality is its beautifully fresh oysters from the Bay of Arcachon.

Cruise the Garonne

Bordeaux’s grandiose waterfront architecture is best-viewed from the river. Opt for an evening boat trip and wine tasting and a meal is often included.

Best attractions to see in Bordeaux

La Cite du Vin

Designed in the shape of a wine decanter, this fascinating museum pays homage to wine-making through the centuries, and there’s a great bar on the eighth floor.

Cathédrale St-André

A part of this spectacular cathedral dates way back to 1096. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it overlooks the entire city in all its Gothic splendour.

Marche des Capucins

A heady mix of colours, scents and tastes, this covered food market has everything from fruit and veg to wine and cheese all under one roof.

Your Bordeaux questions, answered

Come in September for the famous grape harvest, or July or August for the warmest temperatures. May is lovely for exploring the vineyards.
Bordeaux has several beaches, popular with both tourists and locals, along over 80 miles of coastline. An hour’s drive from the centre of the city, charming Lacanau-Ocean Beach makes a great option for those looking to enjoy water sports. The area’s dunes also make an ideal spot for those after a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. The golden sandy beaches at Lege-Cap-Ferret are also much-loved and have plenty of family-friendly activities. The beach also has a lighthouse that offers the perfect opportunity to capture a few holiday photographs.
Night owls will love Bordeaux. The city (naturally) majors in cosy wine bars, plus there’s a great live music scene in the underground clubs.
There are hotels and restaurants to suit all budgets. If you’re keen on visiting the museums and galleries, you may want to check entry fees in advance.
Bordeaux and its surrounding countryside is famous for its regional food. Seafood is enjoyed regularly, with lamproite a la bordelaise, a stew cooked with eels, and freshly caught oysters being the most recognisable fish dishes. The region is also well known for its meat, in particular, entrecote a la Bordelaise. Sweet treats are very popular with the people of Bordeaux, with caneles, soaked rum cakes with a custard filling, famous for once being made by local nuns. Glazed pastries, known as gateau des rois, are known for being eaten during January to celebrate Epiphany Day.
To get the most out of a visit to Bordeaux, a seven-day stay should be enough. This allows for plenty of time to explore the city’s culture-packed streets and beloved beaches, as well as allowing for plenty of opportunities to try the region’s renowned food and wine. However, if you’re short on time, three days should be long enough to just about squeeze in Bordeaux’s best-known sights and attractions.
Travel to Bordeaux is straightforward. The Bordeaux-Merignac airport is the city’s closest, a 40-minute drive away. The airport offers both shuttle buses and car hire options, while there are also taxis and public transport, including trains and buses, running regularly to the city centre. Bordeaux is also well connected to the rest of France through its train network, with trains from the capital of Paris taking around three hours. The train station can be found close to the River Garonne and is only a 10-minute drive from the city centre.
Bordeaux is perhaps best known for its vineyards and is often considered to be the wine-growing capital of France. The region boasts a real mix of speciality foods, including freshly caught oysters and mussels, beef and cakes. The city is also famous for its historical landmarks, including the Place de la Bourse, Grand Theatre and Cathedral. Many also visit to enjoy the city centre’s many shopping streets that are home to luxurious French fashion labels and upmarket boutiques.
The city of Bordeaux boasts plenty of fun activities perfect for a family holiday. Ideal for a day’s activity, the Arkose Bordeaux is an indoor natural urban climbing centre that’s also home to an ethical cafeteria and an exhibition space. The Parc Zoologique de Bordeaux Pessac zoo on the edge of the city is only a 30-minute drive from the centre and is home to wildlife from across the world. Bordeaux also boasts several family-friendly public swimming pools, including La Piscine Judaïque and Piscine du Grand Parc.