Bordeaux Travel Guide: The Perfect 3-Day Tour

Pascale Bernasse | Thursday, Sep 26th 2019
Bordeaux travel guide

Bordeaux Travel Guide: The Perfect 3-Day Tour

Bordeaux is a diverse region full of character. It may be best known for its world-class wines, but Bordeaux has much to offer beyond the vineyards.
  • Bordeaux has architectural and historical monuments to discover. The city is second to Paris for maintaining the most protected historical buildings in France.
  • In fact, Bordeaux is called Le Petit Paris because of the many similarities between the two cities.
  • Situated on the Garonne River, Bordeaux is known for local gastronomy, wine bars, markets, and historical villages. Luckily, you can experience world-class wine tastings and historical exploration during your time in Bordeaux. This Bordeaux Travel Guide will show you how to see all the best of both!

How Do You Get To Bordeaux?

The best way to get to Bordeaux is, generally, to start in Paris. It is nice to explore the City of Light before you venture out of the metropolitan area to the famed wine region. Paris is an essential stop to have a classic town and country experience in France.
Our favorite way to go to Bordeaux is by train. You will arrive to Bordeaux in only two hours and can enjoy the scenery along the way. From Paris you can also take a car for a roughly six-hour drive to Bordeaux.
If you would rather forgo the scenic route and prefer to take a plane, Bordeaux is only one hour from Paris. This is a great solution if you plan to go to Bordeaux instead of staying in Paris first. There are other regional airports that connect to Bordeaux as well, such as Nice and Lyon.
So how do you explore this diverse region, in only a few days? Below is our Bordeaux travel guide on how to spend three days in Bordeaux and get the most out of your time. 

Bordeaux Travel Guide:  Your Curated Itinerary 

Day 1

A great way to learn about a culture is to experience the regional cuisine. There’s no better way to do that in Bordeaux than to take a foodie tour!
Some great foods and tours to look out for: 
  • Canelés: Known as the winemaking pastry, these little delights fit in the palm of your hand. They have a crunchy burnt sugar shell and a fragrant interior that tastes like rum and vanilla custard. It is called the winemaking pastry based on legend dating back before the French Revolution. The story says that at a convent in Bordeaux the nuns prepared canelés made with donated egg yolks from local winemakers. At the time, winemakers used egg whites to clarify their wines—and some still do to this day. 
  • Chocolate: Bordeaux is home to many quality chocolate shops. One of the oldest is Cadiot-Badie. Founded by two brothers in 1826, it is a Bordeaux institution. It has existed in the same location since 1895 and still sells confections created from the secret recipes of those two brothers who opened the shop so many years ago. 
  • Caviar: Bordeaux is known for its production of caviar. The most common type of caviar is farmed from sturgeon. Sturgeon are farm raised, taking up to three years from birth for the fish to mature and be identified as male or female. Once the fish start producing eggs, only the most skillful operations can extract them and package them with minimal processing. One of the best Bordeaux caviar producers is Sturia and the best place to taste their caviar is at Caviar-Galerie. Like wine, caviar can have a range of flavors. Here you can try the different types and textures to decide which ones you’d like to take home. They offer selections such as: Grand Chef, Prestige, or Oscietra Grand Cru.
  • After satisfying your sweet and salty craving, you may be ready for some wine tasting. With the emergence of wine bars in Bordeaux, you can taste many fine wines by the glass. One of our favorite wine bars is Max Bordeaux. It closes early—8:00pm—so it’s a perfect place to visit in the afternoon. Max Bordeaux is known for its Enomatic. It is a state of the art device that dispenses Châteaux Margaux and Château Yquem by the glass. For information on more wine bars, click here. 

Day 2

Now that you have explored Bordeaux, day two is a good time to venture to wine country.
  • Start in the morning at one of the many great estates in Margaux. 
  • Break for lunch at one of the many cafés or bistros in Margaux, many feature the local wines. 
  • After lunch, venture to a tasting in Pauillac. Wines from this appellation are a good representation of Bordeaux wines: rich, full bodied and tannic. Paulliac is the largest city in the appellation of the Médoc, producing Cabernet Sauvignon followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. One of the most famous châteaux in this commune is Château Mouton Rothschild. 

Day 3

Spend some time outside of the city with a visit to UNESCO World Heritage site, Saint-Émilion. Located 45 minutes by car from Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion is one of the oldest active wine producing regions in France. Dating back to the time of the Romans, there are many ancient ruins scattered all over the area. It was the Romans themselves who planted the first vineyards here, some of which are still in use today.
  • Begin your day with one or two tastings to experience wine produced from the diverse soils of the appellation: sands, clay and limestone. Enjoy judicious blends of grape varieties such as Merlot blended with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Malbec. 
  • Take a break for lunch at one of the charming bistros in town. Sit outside and enjoy some people watching and marvel at the ancient architecture. 
  • After lunch, take a walking tour of Saint-Émilion along the narrow cobblestone streets or venture below the streets with a tour of the ancient catacombs. 
  • Enjoy some macarons The delicious cookies originated in Saint-Émilion. The recipe used today dates back to 1620. These macarons are not the sandwich style you may be accustomed to seeing, instead they are more of a single blonde cookie. One of the best places to try these delicious little cookies is at Fabrique de Macarons.
Bordeaux is nothing if not diverse, there is something for everyone! From food and wine to history and stunning architecture, make time to experience this beautiful area. Take advantage of what time you have, and enjoy all that Le Petit Paris has to offer! 

Bordeaux Travel Guide: Helpful Links

A Bordeaux Wine Calendar of Events: Refer to the Bordeaux wine calendar for local events planned in and around the region. This is a great resource for finding interesting festivals or exhibits during your time in Bordeaux.
How to Demystify Bordeaux Wine: Best Wines By Region: For its beauty of variety and lasting history, Bordeaux wine can be a complex subject. This guide will help explain the nuances of the major wine regions of the area.
Welcome to Bordeaux: Your Essential Guide: Bordeaux is a diverse region producing many different types of wine, from dry whites to dessert whites, red, rosé and clairet, and even effervescent wines (crémant). In this post we give you quick links so you can learn about each region and its wines to best plan your trip.

Sign Up for our eNews articles and receive our Free Guide to Wine Tasting Like a Pro!