After days spent exploring the streets of Paris, my husband and I opted for an escape to another region of France. Widely known as one of the best places for wine, Bordeaux has a leading classification in Chateaux and rich history in architecture. Bordeaux used to be a region ruled by England but was taken back under French leadership in 1453. This has led to an interesting mix in their style of architecture and meshing of cultures resulting in an absolutely breathtaking city.
How to get there:
Since we were in Paris, the train ride was a very easy option to get to Bordeaux- the train ride in total is about 2 hours, and prices can vary but overall are very affordable. You can also opt to travel by plane as well if you’re coming from somewhere a bit farther away and fly into Bordeaux via Bordeaux-Merignac Airport (BOD). We did have to put our luggage directly below us on the train, however, luckily, I had my Soliel AT and my Meridian Suitcase because of how compact the two are, I actually had a bit of leg room.
Overall, I would recommend utilizing the train system if you travel to different areas of France! They have snack and drink options in the train station. I was amazed at how good the food options were and, of course, started the trip off with a croissant and espresso.
The train takes you very close to the city center, and we found that grabbing an uber was the best way to get to our hotel since it was quite hot when we were there (110 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact), the uber was only about a 5-minute ride, so walking is definitely an option as well!
Where we stayed:
We were immediately struck by this city's charm, history, and beauty. Bustling with tourists and locals, we felt immersed in the culture of this town. Our hotel was located right on Rue Sainte Catherine, making for a great centralized location in regard to the city. The Quality Hotel Bordeaux Centre was exactly what we needed in terms of stay and location- we would highly recommend it!
In general, Bordeaux is a very walkable city. However, you can also opt to take above-ground trams throughout the city- we found this great for visiting the Wine Museum. Bikes are also available for rent as a way to get around the city.
Restaurants we loved:
L’avant comptoir du palais- This was our first stop when we arrived, and we were immediately sold- this place has such a cool local vibe. With a cozy, intimate setting, this was the perfect stop for us for tapas and delicious wine. The staff was extremely friendly and let us know what tapas to order based on the wine we selected. The Shrimp ceviche is a must!
Le Vertige- We were charmed by this quaint wine bar and made the perfect midday stop. This restaurant offers great pairings of both wine and cheese along a bustling street. The Charcuterie is a must-try as they change it up based on seasonality.
Chez Thérèse- We stumbled upon this retro-chic spot as we were sightseeing and thought, why not try it for dinner? This was by far our favorite meal of the entire trip. We still dream about the melted camembert topped with pesto and green onion and the local fish special. We selected to sit outside, but they also have a great location and ambiance for sitting inside as well.
Sights to see:
Le Grand-Théâtre- This beautiful theater marks the center of the city and is absolutely breathtaking. Built in 1780, this neoclassical-style theater had us in awe! We were able to walk in and view the incredible details of this building, but you can even see a performance by the Bordeaux National Opera.
Walk through Rue Sainte Catherine- Our hotel was located right through this 1.2 km pedestrian street- the longest shopping street in Bordeaux! This is a fun street to start the day off.
Grosse Cloche- This was one of my favorite sights in all of Bordeaux. This is the oldest bell tower in all of France and sits right in the middle of the city. The bell is still rung to this day for important holidays and celebrations such as Bastille Day.
Place de la Bourse- Often known as the symbol of the city, this is a beautiful place to watch the sunset and take in local street performers.
Musée d’Aquitaine- Outside of Paris, this museum is one of France's largest. The galleries are enormous, this museum holds a whopping 70,000 different pieces.
Since we had never been to the region before, we decided to book a guided tour for our wine tasting. We went through SmoothRed, and we could not recommend them more! With lively, friendly tour guides, we were fascinated with how the grapes are chosen, the wine is made, and the history of the chateau. Fun fact: Vines in Bordeaux are not watered at all. They solely rely on rain and natural weather patterns for their winemaking. This allows the vines to grow strong and specifically weed out any weak links. Every part of their wine-making process is intricately detailed, and you can’t help but appreciate their wine that much more.
A Few of our Favorite Wineries:
We were sad to leave this beautiful city and would highly recommend travelers to make this a stop when visiting France! We hope to one day go back and reminisce on our time here. Au Revoir for now!
What trips do you have coming up? Let us know in the comments! And if you happen to be looking for the perfect travel bag, check out Sherpani’s anti-theft travel bags and luggage.