When in Bordeaux

I was recently asked for advice on what to do on a short stay in Bordeaux. I’ve been there a few times, including once visiting a few Chateaux and trying fancy restaurants for a VIP event I was working on, so I had some ideas. But I also have family there, and there’s nothing better than the recommendations of a resident.

  1. Of course, take at least a day to tour a 1-3 wine Chateaux with a guide: make sure you have a mix with not just “Grand Cru”, there are plenty of family estates very worth a visit. You can find some good options on the official Bordeaux tourism website.
  2. Get mesmerized by the architecture and history by going on (guided or not) walks, or rent a bike. There’s a reason Bordeaux and the Saint-Emilion area are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
  3. Take a cruise on the Garonne river. A super romantic way to get a ton of sight-seeing in a half or full day.
  4. Definitely go to a neighborhood “marché” (market), more than 30 all around town. You can only understand French’s food culture if you go to a marché, a treat for the eyes, ears, and “papilles” (taste buds). This is one of the things I miss the most from France. Choose one in your neighborhood so you’re walking distance. Buy a saucisson or two, some cheese, Bordeaux, a few canelés, a local specialty, for dessert and voila, you have lunch or dinner!
  5. Treat yourself to a day (or a treatment or just lunch) at Les Sources de Caudalie. I was lucky to visit when they had just opened, a while ago. They pioneered spa treatments with wine and grapes… and it’s based in one of the grand crus chateaux. But note it’s fancy.

For more, check out the NY Times Tourism Guide for Bordeaux.

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