The Essential Guide to Bordeaux
Collected by Jennifer Ladonne , AFAR Local Expert
This legendary region, steeped in history and wine, is crowned by the world’s largest urban UNESCO World Heritage site. The countryside is home to rolling vineyards, meandering rivers, and vestiges of Gallo-Roman culture, while the city is full of Gothic architecture, notable art museums, and distinctive restaurants. If you want to experience French wine and culture in equal measure, you can’t do much better than Bordeaux.
Château Mouton Rothschild, 33250 Pauillac, France
A benchmark name in Bordeaux wines, Mouton Rothschild is also one of France’s greatest wine producers. At the estate—the first of two Rothschild estates in Pauillac (the second is the renowned Château Lafitte)—you’ll...
1 La Dominique, 33330 Saint-Émilion, France
A standout among Bordeaux’s many wine producers, this 29-acre, Grand Cru Classé estate in St-Émilion is a mix of old and new, with a stately 18th-century château and a sleek glass-and-steel cellar designed by starchitect...
15 Rue du Château d'Agassac, 33290 Ludon-Médoc, France
Just 15 minutes from Bordeaux, this highly regarded wine estate, which dates back to the 13th century, offers fascinating tours in English. The “Heritage and History” tour covers the story behind the château and its signature...
3 Rue d'Enghien, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux’s world-renowned Arcachon oyster is a delicacy not to be missed. Experience it for yourself with help from Bordovino, a tour company offering half- and full-day trips to the beautiful Bay of Arcachon to climb the biggest sand dune...
Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux, France
One of Bordeaux’s more ancient edifices, this UNESCO World Heritage site features a Romanesque wall from as far back as 1096. It’s also where 13-year-old Eleanor of Aquitaine married her first husband, King Louis VII, in 1137, and...
14 Bis, Place Paul Avisseau, 33300 Bordeaux, France
Some of France’s best surfing can be found at the beaches about an hour from Bordeaux. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete novice, hang ten with CitySurf, which offers group lessons with expert instructors and high-quality...
87 Quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux, France
“Mixed-use space” doesn’t come close to describing this hip destination on the banks of the Garonne River. Covering nearly five acres, the Darwin Ecosystème is first and foremost an incubator for sustainable development....
Esplanade de Pontac, 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France
Housed in a building that looks like a giant, shimmering wine decanter, La Cité du Vin is the world’s first high-tech, interactive wine museum. Experts from more than 40 different countries weighed in on the exhibitions here, which...
20 Cours Pasteur, 33000 Bordeaux, France
An easy walk from the cathedral, the Musée d’Aquitaine is devoted to the history of life in Bordeaux, from ancient times through the 20th century. Exhibits illuminate the city’s intimate relationship with the river and sea since...
Place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Though the photos are quite beautiful, you really have to see the Water Mirror for yourself to appreciate its grandeur. The world’s largest reflecting pool—and a contemporary UNESCO World Heritage site—the attraction features...
15 Rue des Bahutiers, 33000 Bordeaux, France
As locavore as it gets, this chic two-story restaurant reflects an absolute devotion to regional foods. Here, diners enjoy the freshest possible products from the French countryside (white asparagus and chicken from Landes, strawberries from...
62 Rue Abbé de l'Épée, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Calling this handsome cave à manger a wine bar is highly misleading, no matter that wine is front and center. Here, guests can choose a bottle for the evening from the boutique up front, then pair it with delectable dishes from the open...
16 Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Set in an elegant duplex space in the center of Bordeaux, L’Alchimiste sets the bar high for specialty coffee. One of the city’s first barista-style cafés, it remains among the best for its commitment to small producers and...
2 Rue Courbin, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Ask anyone who knows Bordeaux’s food scene where you can get a reliably excellent meal and they’re bound to suggest Le Bouchon Bordelais. Between its warm atmosphere, outdoor seating on a cobblestone street, reasonable prices, and...
1 Quai de Paludate, 33800 Bordeaux, France
At Le Point Rouge—an elegant bar hidden in the basement of a refurbished chateau—guests sip creative cocktails and world-class wines amid stone walls, red leather furniture, and flickering candlelight. Ring the small, illuminated...
33 Rue du Cancera, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Everything about Miles is casual—except for the food. Opened by four chefs from far-flung places (Japan, New Caledonia, Israel, and Vietnam), the restaurant offers inventive fare at its best, from sous-vide monkfish with mussel juice foam,...
27 Rue des Bahutiers, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Located in the heart of Bordeaux’s historic district, Vins Urbains draws oenophiles and wine novices alike with more than 250 wines on offer at any time of day. Here, owners Jan and Christelle will guide you through their handpicked...
2-5 Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Luxury and personalized service are the hallmarks of this InterContinental set in an 18th-century historic building on Bordeaux’s impressive main square. With sumptuous decor that recalls the gracious mansions of yore, plus two Gordon Ramsay...
10 Rue Labottière, 33000 Bordeaux, France
If money is no object or you’re up for a blowout weekend in Bordeaux, make like an aristocrat at this elegant 19th-century mansion set in a quiet residential neighborhood. Six sumptuous rooms feature a riot of luxury fabrics and wallpapers,...
108 Rue Abbé de l'Épée, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Old-world charm meets sleek contemporary style at this gracious Bordelaise mansion, set in the heart of the city’s historic center. Here, you’ll find all the amenities of a first-rate boutique hotel, including impeccable service,...
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