Are you thinking of visiting Bordeaux? Think no further, because Bordeaux is amazing and you should totally visit it. If this is not convincing enough, in this post, I will let you know about 10 reasons why Bordeaux is the absolute best city in France (to visit).
Our weekend in Bordeaux in February
I wanted to visit Bordeaux for quite a while, but every single time I wanted to buy the tickets, they were really expensive. Luckily, I managed to find a good deal on Skyscanner and bought our return flights for £60 per person (which really cheap, as it’s hard to find good deals on the flights to Bordeaux). We visited Bordeaux off-season, in February and we were fortunate with the weather, as it was hot and only rained once for 15 minutes on Sunday. Weather in Bordeaux in winter could be volatile with a lot of rain and sunny days as well. If you’re unlucky, you can come for a week and have a week of rain in Bordeaux in winter, however, end of February, for example, usually sees more sun.
Our itinerary for a weekend in Bordeaux
Our weekend in Bordeaux was amazing, and we managed to see quite a lot with the Bordeaux City Pass kindly provided to us by Visit Bordeaux (big thanks to Bordeaux Tourism Office for that). Our itinerary for a weekend in Bordeaux included the Cite Du Vin, Cathedrale Saint-Andre, Tour Pey-Berland (you need to climb something like 225 steps to see the panorama of the city, but it’s worth it), Porte Cailhau, Grosse Cloche, and the Museum of the Fine Arts.
We could have seen a bit more, but on Saturday, all the museums (except for the Cite Du Vin) were closed, and the public transport wasn’t operating because of the weekly yellow vest demonstration, so we could have seen more in case the demonstration wasn’t there.
Where to stay in Bordeaux?
If you’re wondering, where to stay in Bordeaux, I would definitely recommend the city centre, especially if you’re only coming for a weekend. We stayed in Mama Shelter, a very unusual and cool hotel for millennial in the heart of Bordeaux. Mama Shelter had a great rooftop terrace and a nice bar on the first floor. It’s actually a chain, so there are Mama Shelters in Paris, Lyon, London and even Rio!
I probably need to write a separate post about the best places to visit in Bordeaux, our detailed itinerary for two days in Bordeaux and places to eat and go out in Bordeaux, but in this post, I wanted to focus on 10 reasons why Bordeaux is the best city to visit in France.
10 reasons why Bordeaux is the Best City in France (to visit)
1. Bordeaux is an authentic French city (just like in the movies!)
Bordeaux is everything Paris should be, and everything tourists hope Paris would be – a beautiful authentic French city. After visiting Paris, many people end up being disappointed, because it’s not like they imagined Paris to be – it’s nothing like the city in the movies from the 40-es and 50-es – this Paris is long gone and lost. Paris is a huge, touristy multicultural city and if you’re looking for a smaller beautiful and spotless French city – something, Paris has been decided ago, you can find it all in Bordeaux now.
2. Bordeaux has some of the best wines in the world
For some people that would probably be the first reason to visit Bordeaux – the wine! Bordeaux is all about wine and if you’re a wine connoisseur, you should definitely visit Bordeaux if you want to learn more about Bordeaux, head to the famous Cite Du Vin, where you can find a lot of information about wine in different eras in the interactive format. If you buy a Bordeaux City Pass, you can visit the Cite Du Vin for free before 12 pm.
Bordeaux has a couple of amazing vineyards not so far away from the city, so you can either rent a car (we always rent with Avis, so we would recommend it a lot), or take a private or a guided tour (check the availability and prices here).
3. Bordeaux has a lot of amazing photogenic spots
Bordeaux is one of the most Instagrammable cities in France! To be honest, before visiting Bordeaux, I didn’t have high expectations and wasn’t hoping to find a lot of beautiful storefronts, restaurants and cafes, but Bordeaux had everything and more! Head to this post about the best photo locations and most Instagrammable spots in Bordeaux – read it here.
4. Bordeaux has fantastic nightlife and wine bars
Bordeaux has a lot of affordable and amazing bars (mostly wine bars and cocktail bars) like Aux Quatre Coins du Vin – it gets very busy, so it makes sense to reserve your table in advance. Basically, the bar is self-service and you have some amazing wines to try – just insert your card (the preloaded card from the bar) to the machine and choose the size of your “portion” of wine – from the smallest to the largest and get to try amazing wines from all around France (and also some foreign ones).
5. Bordeaux has great service and very friendly people
France is famous for the service that is far from great and some rude waiters (I have encountered that in many French cities, unfortunately). However, everybody in Bordeaux was so nice and welcoming, and the people were really nice and friendly. Waiters were explaining us the menus and were patient, friendly and really great! So service in Bordeaux was a really nice surprise for me.
6. Bordeaux has good weather and a nice climate
Another reason to visit Bordeaux is to escape from cold and rain of Northern Europe. Bordeaux is located very close to Spain, and the weather there in Spring, Summer and Autumn is amazing! And if you want to swim, you can do it by just driving for 40 minutes to the coast!
7. Bordeaux has amazing countryside
If you want to be in the city, which you can leave at any moment and see the countryside, there are some great opportunities for it in Bordeaux. You can rent a car and explore the beautiful villages and vineyards near Bordeaux, and you can even drive to San Sebastian in Spain, which is about 3 hours driving from Bordeaux (which is not bad at all).
8. Bordeaux has great food
French are famous for their food, however, some cities are better than the others in terms of food and culinary delights. Bordeaux has honestly the best food I’ve tried in France: Michel’s restaurant in the city centre was a gem, and we also had a couple of sharing boards in various restaurants around the city. The special one was the cheese and charcuterie board with the black truffle in Tutiac Wine Bar and the desserts in the food market near Cite Du Vin!
9. Bordeaux is a great city for budget travellers and bagpackers
As I mentioned before, France is not cheap. It’s probably one of the most challenging countries to travel to for budget travellers and backpackers (along with Switzerland and all Scandinavia. And the UK, of course), however, I felt like in Bordeaux, there were so many budget-friendly options. Our hotel, Mama Shelter, wasn’t cheap, however, if you want to stay on a budget, you can rent a private room on Airbnb for a fraction of the price (we couldn’t as we were arriving very late and no Airbnb hosts could meet us at that time). If you need an Airbnb promo code for almost 30 euros (if you’re new to the service), you can use my link to get the travel credit!
Bordeaux also has a public bus going directly to the airport and the ticket costs just 1 euro 70 cents! As for the food, you can also find plenty of affordable restaurants and bars in Bordeaux, so you won’t be left hungry! That makes Bordeaux a great city for budget travellers and backpackers!
10. Bordeaux is really really beautiful
And of course, Bordeaux is really beautiful and has some amazing architectural landmarks! Bordeaux is the most beautiful city in France I’ve seen so far and for some reason, it reminded me of Edinburgh, Scotland (I used to live in Edinburgh for 1.5 years, read a bit more about Edinburgh in this guide to the city) and the city centre of Bordeaux is huge and absolutely stunning. I can describe it forever, but I’d rather show you some more photos of the city, so you’ll see it yourself!
I hope it was enough reasons to visit Bordeaux for you and you will book a ticket to Bordeaux for a weekend (or maybe even longer)!
Are you interested in visiting some other cities in France? I’ve got a couple of other posts about France!