How to spend one day in Bordeaux, France
One day itinerary for Bordeaux
If you’re off to Bordeaux with the intent to visit historic sites, marvel at gothic architecture and learn all about the history behind this beautiful city… keep searching. This is not the guide for you.
But, if you’re headed to this foodie haven with two things on your mind – cheese and wine – keep reading.
The town of Bordeaux is the hub for France’s famed wine region, and is surrounded by vineyards and wineries easily accessible by train or by tour guide, making it the perfect destination for a weekend of wine appreciation.
If you only have a day to spare you might find it difficult to justify the time spent in transit to these locations, but luckily, the town of Bordeaux easily lends itself to a thorough discovery of local wine amongst a gorgeous gothic setting.
Starting in the South and ending in the North, this guide will allow you to explore Bordeaux while you sample some of the best the region has to offer.
Our wine tasting journey starts at Julo, a small wine shop just outside Bordeaux’s historic centre. This little bar has a lovely local feel, and seats by the window or at a communal table in the centre. You’ll be able to talk wine with the owner, sample meats and cheeses and taste wine by the glass or bottle from a wide selection lining the walls, with options to suit any budget.
Quiet by day, this little bar is packed by night, so keep it mind if you end up searching for a tipple later in the evening.
2. Un Château En Ville
Now that you’ve tried some local wine, you might feel the need to get to know a bit more about it. Head up Rue Saint James and under ‘La Grosse Cloche’ or The Great Bell to Un Chateau En Ville. Here you have the option of doing a wine tasting course, where you can try a few different varietals from the Bordeaux region and have the notes behind them explained.
The food here is also amazing, hopefully when you visit the fondue is still on the menu, it’s a must!
3. Les Trois Pinardiers
Continue North through the centre and past Bordeaux Cathedral to our next stop, a modern wine bar and restaurant. Another spot with a more local feel, you’ll again have a wide selection of wines to suit any taste or budget. You cannot leave Les Trois Pinardiers without sampling the truffle cheese, one of the many great snacks on offer to accompany your wine.
4. Le Bar A Vin
Next, head back towards the river and to Le Bar A Vin. I can only include this wine tasting spot on this guide with a warning – it’s a tourist trap. After being at the previous stops, you’ll immediately notice the difference in authenticity and atmosphere being confronted with other tourists.
Le Bar A Vin tops most of the tourist lists and is where most guides will end their tours or recommend visitors staying in Bordeaux continue their experience after a trip to the region’s chateaus. So, take this recommendation with a pinch of salt. It still makes the list though because it does have some great, affordable options to taste wine by the glass (though if you are in a group of five or more this will be about the same if not more than splitting a mid-range bottle at our other stops) and the building itself it lovely with art featured throughout the halls.
Don’t be tempted by the food menu – it’s really not up to scratch – so make sure you’ve had your fill at the previous stops.
5. L’Intendant Grands Vins de Bordeaux
By now you may be feeling the need to slow down on the wine drinking, as you will have had several glasses throughout the day! Our next stop is a great place to grab a bottle of your favourite drop of the day to take back to your accommodation for later, or just to have a snoop around. This wine store has a beautiful spiral staircase in its centre, and as you get higher up the spiral, so too do the prices of the bottles lining the walls. Price labels end up reaching an eye-watering four digits, but to find out exactly how high you and your wallet will have to climb you’ll have to head there yourself.
Once you finish up here, make your way to back to your accommodation or dinner reservation via the nearby Place de la Bourse with its fountains and reflecting pool, an iconic Bordeaux landmark.
Where to eat
The foundation for a good wine tour is a good breakfast, so your first port of call should be one of Bordeaux’s lovely independent cafes for a strong coffee and some carbs. Alternatively, if you’re on a budget you’ll find plenty of French bakeries to grab a tasty breakfast on the go.
Cofete B – delicious French breakfast menus
Horace – amazing brunch menus including freshly baked cakes and pastries
Contrast – the line here on a Sunday was too much for me, but I nearly waited it out once I saw the food being served through the window as it was SO beautiful – a must for any avid food instagrammers for sure
Transport in Bordeaux
I flew to Bordeaux, a nice short trip from London, but you could also get the train quite easily. Once in the city, there are plenty of options to get out to the wine regions via train or tour bus. The city itself is the perfect size for walking with plenty of feasts for your eyes in between filling your belly.
Make a weekend of it
Hopefully your trip to Bordeaux involves at least one night, because this city has a great nightlife. Check out local music guides to catch a gig (try this venue in the hull of a boat!) or head to Can Can in the city centre for live music until midnight and bespoke cocktails until close. The list of restaurants to try for dinner is long, but unfortunately most of them are small, so book out quickly. If you are in town to dine definitely research in advance and make a reservation to avoid missing out.
If you get the chance to stay another day in Bordeaux, you could fit in some more of the sites, or… you could shop! Bordeaux has some great flea markets, vintage stores and boutiques with homewares, clothes and jewellery at affordable prices.
My trip highlights
I was in Bordeaux with a group of girlfriends to celebrate a friend’s birthday, so the trip had that celebratory feel to it which made it really special. We created the above itinerary on the fly, using the Urban Wine Trail guide as a reference point.
Even though we’d eaten and drunk our way through an incredible amount of cheese and wine we managed to have plenty of room for a hearty dinner at followed by cocktails at Can Can then La Comtesse.
What stood out for me on this trip was the service at every venue I went to. The people in Bordeaux are proud of their produce and more than happy to share it with you, as well as some friendly conversation.
Even if you’re not the biggest wine connoisseur, I would highly recommend spending a day in Bordeaux, because the city has so much more to offer than just great wine.