Introducing the city

£1.00 | 1.14 €

GBP | EUR

Gasoline £1.08 | 1.23 €

One-way ticket £1.32 | 1.50 €

Beer £4.40 | 5.00 €

Main Course £10.55 | 12.00 €

About Bordeaux

Bordeaux may be the capital of the world's wine industry but it's not just about the booze; it's also a UNESCO world heritage site and home to museums, lively markets and quirky cafes.

If you were to write a novel about your time spent in Bordeaux then its title would probably be ‘Grape Expectations’. This historic French city (home to 250,000 people) doesn’t just make wine; it lives, breathes and yes, drinks it.

With some of the most significant wine producing châteaux in the world, the city’s outskirts are dotted with miles of lush vineyards and historic houses. Come the grape harvest in autumn, everything from plum coloured St Emilion to pale yellow Sauvignon Blanc gets picked, pressed and bottled. Unsurprisingly, the city centre is home to an excellent array of wine cellars and shops (look out for ‘Bar du Vin’ signs) and most can arrange tours to their associated vineyards and wineries.

It’s not all booze related though – Bordeaux is also home to the magnificent Cathédrale St-André (great for city views) and a thriving market area (for tasty, freshly caught seafood). There are also ample cultural sights, including the Musée des Beaux-Arts which features an extensive art collection and often showcases temporary exhibitions. Yet, it's at night when the city really comes alive as outdoor bars fill with well-heeled locals who sit and sip the region’s finest bottles of plonk.

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Weather

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When Should I Visit?

May has warm weather and follows the end of the wine trading season, so the vineyards won't be booked up.

Bordeaux has a mild, oceanic climate with warm, long summers and cool, wet winters. The coldest and wettest month is January with an average temperature of six degrees Celsius and the hottest is July with an average of 21 degrees Celsius.

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Travioor top tips

Cycle
City Card
Art Gallery

Insider Info

  • Rent a bike and cycle between wine tastings, it’s the best way to explore the vineyards.

  • The Bordeaux City Pass lets you use public transport and includes free guided tours and entrance to the museums.

  • The Musée des Beaux-Arts (The Museum of Fine Arts) is free on the first Sunday of the month (except in July and August).

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Food and drink

Main Course £10.55 | 12.00 €

3-Course Meal £35.16 | 40.00 €

Cappuccino £2.69 | 3.06 €

Beer £4.40 | 5.00 €

The Scene

Bordeaux has developed as more of a food destination in recent years, with visitors seeking authentic home cooked French fare to go with their favourite wines. Duck confit, foie gras and steak tartare all regularly feature on menus and there are also several food markets for cheese, bread and pastries. Of course, the real star of any Bordeaux table is the region’s wine. The list of varieties is endless and trying them is half the fun; top red wine choices include St-Emilion, Pomerol and Pauillac while white lovers can try Sémillon or sweet dessert wines from Château d'Yquem.

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History

Bordeaux’s Story

Bordeaux has been inhabited since 300 BCE, when it was home to a Celtic tribe who produced and traded in wine. The town came under Roman rule in 60 BC (when it was used as a base for supplying tin and lead to Rome) before re-emerging in the 6th century as part of the Merovingian Kingdom of the Franks.

After several centuries of raids and attacks on Bordeaux, the city began to grow in importance during the 12th and 15th centuries. Its vineyards – by this point famous across Europe – continued to flourish; it also became a distribution hub for goods that had arrived from the West Indies. During the 18th century, some 5000 houses and quayside buildings were built which formed the basis for the city as it appears today.

Language

Salut | Hello
Merci | Thank you

French

French is the official language in Bordeaux although many people also speak English or other European languages. Having said that, it's always a good idea to give the language a try, especially with the older generation (who are often vineyard owners). The following may be useful:

  • Good day: Bonjour
  • Excuse me: Excusez-moi
  • Please: S'il vous plaît
  • Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais?

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Need to know

+33 Dialling Code
112 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Avoid visiting in January (when the wine is being bottled) and the first week of April (trade week).
  • You can make appointments for wine tours and tastings directly with merchants or at the tourist office in town.
  • In general, restaurants and vineyards are formal(ish). You don’t need to go all out with a suit and tie, but check the dress code before you visit.

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for France here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Wine Tasting

Book a vineyard or wine cellar tour and discover more about the world’s most famous wine.

2. Art Museums

Head to Musée des Beaux-Arts for Renaissance to 20th century art in a beautiful setting.

3. Wine Course

Enrol on a wine course at École du Vin which offers taster (afternoon) and advanced (week long) courses.

4. UNESCO Sights

Climb to the top of UNESCO listed Cathédrale St-André for spectacular city views.

5. Food Markets

Wander through Marché des Capucins on a Saturday morning and pick up some oysters and white wine from the market stalls.


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