Bordeaux, France

Listen to our Bordeaux podcast and follow in the footsteps of Andrew and Emily from Along Dusty Roads with our guide to Bordeaux in France... 

Where is Bordeaux?

Famous for its world-class wines, the beautiful city of Bordeaux is a port city located on the river Garonne in the Gironde department in southwestern France.

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What to see in Bordeaux?

1) Take a guided walking tour of the city:  Local tour guides such as Bruno Beurrier provide a unique perspective on the city's main sights, attractions and history - more often than not, these tours are peppered with entertaining little anecdotes that you won't find in any guidebook.

 

2) Try the canelé: Not to be confused with Sicilian cannoli, it's thought these sweet, caramel topped, cork-shaped pastries originated in Bordeaux's Couvent des Annonciades in either the 15th or the 18th century. Flavoured with rum and vanilla and filled with a soft and gooey custard centre, you'll be hard-pressed to stop at just one.

 

3) Try the Dunes Blanches at Chez Pascal: These bite-sized, cream-filled choux pastries are synonymous with local baker Pascal Lucas, owner of Chez Pascal bakery. The story goes that his son invented the luscious snack by combining left-over pastry shells with a dollop of light and fluffy cream. Get in line at Chez Pascal  to see what all the fuss is about.

 

4) Saint André Cathedral and Bell Tower:  Not only is the cathedral of Saint André a major stop along the French leg of the Way of St. James (to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain), it also played an important role in securing Bordeaux's UNESCO World Heritage status.

The cathedral's bell tower is located separate from the main nave, the Tour Pey-Berland, built in the 15th century and is open to the public. Climb to the top for spectacular panaramic views of the city. 

Entry costs around €5.

 

Try a Lillet Blanc at Cafe Francais

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As any local will tell you, no trip to Bordeaux should be considered complete without trying a glass of Lillet Blanc. Perfect for sipping on sunny terraces, Lillet Blanc is an aperitif traditionally served over ice, topped up with sparkling water, with slices of cucumber, strawberry and mint.

 

There's no better place to try this drink than Cafe Francais. Something of a Bordeaux institution, the brasserie has been welcoming guests to its terrace since 1899.

 

Café Francais, Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux

La Cité du Vin

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Brush up on your knowledge of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Beaujolais with a tour of La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux's state of the art wine museum and education centre. Housed within a futuristic glass and aluminium building, the centre hosts wine tastings as well as regular wine-themed events and exhibitions.

 

Entry from €20

 

La Cité du Vin, Pontac Esplanade, 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art

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For a culture hit, don't miss Bordeaux's CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art (and its very cool elevator). In 1985, the CAPC partnered with US street artist Keith Haring and at the gallery's request, Haring painted the lift shaft wall linking three levels of his exhibition within the gallery. At the back of the lift, a glass screen was set up like a window. The silhouette of a man stretches along the route of the lift on these floors. At the very top you see his head, radiating Haring's signature little lines, similar to L’enfant radieux, the recurring figure in the artist’s works.

 

Entry from €7

 

CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux, 7 Rue Ferrere, 33000 Bordeaux

 

Where to Stay: La Cour Carrée

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The Hôtel La Cour Carrée is a chic choice for a short break or weekend getaway.  This charming boutique hotel is located within a 200-year-old renovated town house that sits right in the centre of Bordeaux. The location is second to none - whether you choose to explore the city by foot or by public transport.

 

Looking for a place to stay in Bordeaux? For the best rates and availability, check out Ryanair Rooms