The wine capital of the world, Bordeaux is best known for its stunning wineries but can still offer plenty for everyone to see. With around a million residents, including a huge university Bordeaux has a truly metropolitan feel and is known as one of the most socially tolerant cities in all of France.
As a city, it is built on the edge of the Garonne River and is one of the largest cities in Europe by geographic size. South West of the river is the city centre, which is extremely now rise, because the weakness of the soil is not conducive to building tall skyscrapers.
With many original stone buildings in the city centre, the city has been nicknamed ‘Little Paris’ and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in France as a result.
The size of the city makes getting around more difficult than in traditional city environments, and despite the 500 miles of bicycle trails, hiring a car is usually the best option to get around. If you plan on getting out of the city and exploring the beautiful surroundings then a hired car will be essential.
Whilst Bordeaux itself is a great place to visit, many people use it as a base to explore over 1500 years of winemaking, in the Bordeaux region.
Things to see when hiring a car in Bordeaux
If you do choose to hire a car in Bordeaux you’ll be spoilt for choice with things to see. Both in the city itself and within an hour’s drive in the surrounding area Bordeaux is an area of France for exploring, and even if you had two weeks you’d struggle to see all that it has to offer.
Gambetta square is the area of Bordeaux which has been given the name ‘Little Paris’ and if you’ve been to Paris it’s not hard to see why. With gorgeous quaint little side streets full of cafes and boutiques, and stone buildings which have been around for centuries this really is a lovely place to spend time.
Musee D’Art Contemporain
The Musee D’Art Contemporain translates as the Museum of contemporary art and is a wonderful place for all fans of modern art. With exhibits that change on a seasonal basis there is always something new to see in the museum, which like most museums is free on the first Sunday of every month.
Note the Museum is open late on a Wednesday and closed on Mondays.
Tower of Saint-Michel
The Tower of Saint-Michel is a stunning 14th century Basilica and stands out in the low levels of Bordeaux. The 114m tall bell tower is a particularly interesting place to go, as guests can climb the 243 steps for a panoramic view of the surrounding area. Entrance to the tower is around £4, or free to EU nationals under 26.
Whilst many of the original stained glass windows were destroyed in the Second World War the church has been beautifully restored.
For many, the whole purpose of a trip to Bordeaux is to visit the many chateaus in the region for some wine tasting. As the second biggest wine producing region in the world, Bordeaux is responsible for adding around 800 million bottles of wine to the worlds annual consumption, and guests can choose to take their own car to the vineyards, or to catch a tour bus from the city centre.
Of particular note are the Chateau at Haut Brion, Latour, Margaux and Mouton Rothschild.
To the west of Bordeaux is the beautiful Atlantic coast, and with over 200 miles of golden sandy beaches you’ll find something for everyone’s taste.
With sea winds contributing to the seas waves, surfers and those who like water sports will enjoy the many surfing beaches in the vicinity, as will those looking for quiet sea side towns to enjoy a little wonder around. Our favourite is Arcachon where you can find out how Oysters are caught and sent off for sale.