Wine lovers and architecture fans…take note! Bordeaux is the perfect city for soaking up stunning sights whilst sipping on a beautiful glass of red. How long should you stay in Bordeaux? I would recommend two days to cover a bit of tourist stuff, a lot of good food and plenty of wine. To help refine your choices, here is a guide to two days in Bordeaux.
Two days in Bordeaux
We all know that city breaks can be quite intense, we try to see as much as possible – only to give up in defeat halfway through the weekend, tired, slightly hungover, waylaid with useful gifts from the tourist shop like fridge magnets and cooking aprons. But Bordeaux is different, it’s small city centre and travel infrastructure makes it super easy to get around – it’s easy enough to get mistaken for a local round here so get your best French ready and find the nearest bar.
Eating in Bordeaux
It’s okay to pass time in popular eateries and drinking establishments. In fact, it’s probably the best way to watch the world go by, make new pub friends and discover the local tradition when it comes to eating and drinking.
Gaston Patisserie – for breakfast
A quiet and friendly bakery located right in the centre of Bordeaux, Gaston Patisserie. Your trip will be off to a flying start if you stop here and for the petit déjeuner menu; pastry of your choice, fresh coffee, orange juice and some fresh bread with jam (8EUR90 each). My almond and chocolate pastry did not disappoint, this felt like the best and only breakfast reception I could have wanted upon arrival to Bordeaux.
Plume – for cake and coffee
Over to Plume, a trendy looking cafe-restaurant serving tasty coffees, mouth-watering cakes, and incredible lunches – all designed to replenish the vital calories lost whilst ambling along the vast and beautiful streets of Bordeaux. If you want to hear a spread of international accents then this is your place. The allure of a charming coffeehouse for Brits, Americans and Aussies is all too real.
Don’t let this put you off. We had the coffee and cake with the honey butter cake being a great choice!
L’Assiette Bordelais – for scenic, lazy lunch
We had walked for miles and miles when the hangriness kicked in, conveniently placed alongside the harbour front L’assiette Bordelais has outdoor seating ready for heavy-footed tourists and local workers to stop by for a spot of lunch.
The daily menu had a small but exciting choice of meals – I opted in for the Salad L’Italiene containing really fresh ingredients – well-flavoured dressing, sundried tomatoes, tasty salad leaves and healthy sprinklings of parmesan. The meat was slightly on the chewy side. Meanwhile, the pasta with monkfish was an absolute winner! The sauce was so tasty and the pasta was really fresh.
Food came to around 40EUR for 2 people + beers + tip.
Drinking in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is brimming with nearby vineyards which makes for fresh and cheap wine available for keen travellers, desperate to find a large glass of vino. Don’t fret, weary travellers, you can find wine in bottle shops along the road or supermarkets including Leader Price, Auchan, Carre Four and good old Lidl (these were all the places we hunted down the prized possession).
If you like combining fine drinking and fine dining in one sitting, then The Brasserie Bordelais is a must. The restaurant is nice and central, being only five minutes away from the Rue Sainte Catherine – aka the longest pedestrianised road with shops in the world!
If you fancy a scenic but obviously slightly over-priced beverage beforehand I recommend the Place du Parlament to watch the world go by.
Next on the hit list was the wine bar, Aux quatre coins du vin, literally translates to the “four corners of the wine”‘ where you can choose from over 500 wines.
Things to see in Bordeaux
Because we were already due to go up to Pauillac (north of Bordeaux) for the Marathon du Medoc – the race where you run past chateaus and drink wine en route. I’m not even kidding. There was no real need for us to book a winery tour, personally I much prefer low-key sightseeing where my personal space isn’t compromised and bank balance is left reasonably intact.
Instead, we hopped onto the tram and headed down to Porte de Bourgogne right next to the river in the heart of the city. The Porte de Bourgogne is an impressive archway leading into the city – from there we could take a look at the Pont de Pierre bridge or wonder down to the impressive Basilica Saint Michel. Saint Michel is a freestanding bell tower with a tall spire reaching 114 metres high – it’s a definite must if you love your architecture and there’s also a flea market going on right next to it so you’ll never be short of things to look at round here.
Le Miroir d’eau
This is an obvious one for tourists, but a nice chill out spot for locals too. Most importantly, it’s free! The reflective water mirror is mesmerising to watch as it runs a natural cycle from releasing fine mist into the air – so fun to watch kids run through tihs! To filling up with 2cm of water – at the time I was there, a model / blogger was posing in the water – it all felt very Shakira-inspired.
I decided to keep my distance, absorbed the water reflecting the the Place de La Bourse – an iconic Bordeaux building which represents a progressive change from the surrounding Mediaevel architecture.
Marché des Capucins – for fresh market food and a it of hustle and bustle that comes with fishmongers and buchers selling their produce
- Bordeaux National Opera – Grand Theatre Opéra National de Bordeaux – you can go inside the main foyer for free but the exterior facade is worth a visit in itself.
- Jardin Public – grab a baguette, camembert and a bottle of red and check into the park. The city can feel a little heavy, so give those aching feet a rest and lie down in the vast open space of the Bordeaux public gardens.
All in all, the typical French charm could be found down every little alley or neverending rue in Bordeaux. The close proximity of tourist attractions, cute coffee shops and full-blown meat and wine restaurants make this city a dream for food and wine lovers from afar. While there is plenty to see, apart from eating and drinking – we found there wasn’t so much to actually do. Then again, wandering aimlessly is what holidays are all about, right?