Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux is the heart to what is arguably the most exclusive, traditional, coveted wine region in all the world. To truly get a sense for what this region is about, it’s best to become a part of it, and volunteer for the Harvest, but as Bordeaux is naturally the jump off point to all wine adventures, here are some suggestions we’d recommend while there.

Must visit

  • Musee du Vin et du Negoce de Bordeaux. An old converted wine cellar is now home to this museum. Rooted in a long history, the art of winemaking and all of it’s related activities throughout the centuries, are outlined and explained here. At the end of it, you’ll take part in an exceptionally thorough wine tasting, that will help you understand how to taste and identify notes from various wines.
  • Stroll through Jardin Public Park. It’s beautiful and peaceful, and a great place for an afternoon picnic as well.
  • Water Mirror installation on the waterfront. More of a novelty to appreciate as you pass by, this children’s fountain pool transforms into a square of mist every 15 minutes or so. A great setting for some fun photos.

Must imbibe

  • Go to Night Beach, the rooftop bar of the Grand Hotel (i.e. Intercontinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel), as the sun sets over Bordeaux, for a glass of local wine from the surrounding Chateaux, and perhaps a cheese plate. A bit on the pricy side, but well worth it.
  • Buy a bottle of wine, grab a few glasses, and find a seat on the steps of the magnificent Grand Theatre de Bordeaux. It’s a great place for lively people watching as characters float through the square.

Must Dine

Les Cadets. Go for lunch. This simple yet creative pre-set menu won’t fail to impress. You’ll try small plates ranging from stuffed tomatoes, to egg mousse, with delicious fresh bread and crisp local wine on the side.

Must taste

Canele. These are small pastries made primarily from egg yokes. They are a delicacy in Bordeaux, with a history dating back to the 18th century. During this time, winemakers would use egg whites to clean the barrels used to age wine, as the egg whites would act as a sort of glue to pull all the sediment in the wine to the bottom of the barrel. As a result, there was a surplus of egg yokes being wasted, so a creative chef took this opportunity to introduce these pastries, which remain popular to this day.

Must day trip

  • Wine tour of Saint Emilion. Bordeaux is a vast region with many wineries, but not all are yet equipped for tourism. You can opt to stay at a chateaux and get a better feel for their wines and terroir, but if you’d like to visit a few, it’s best to arrange your visit via tour in advance. Insider tip: Most chateaus aren’t set up to accept drop ins, if they accept visitors at all, so the recommended approach is to visit through a tour company or make a reservation of your own in advance. We opted for a bike tour with Bordovino¬†through the vineyards of the Saint Emilion region, which included transportation to and from Bordeaux, tastings at two vineyards, an extravagant coursed lunch in one of the vineyard’s gardens, and tours of the grounds. It was a beautiful day and unforgettable experience.
  • Pizzeria de la Tour Du Roy.¬†If you have a bit of extra time in Saint Emilion, head to this cozy spot, tucked away in the corner of the street underneath the King’s Tower for lunch. There is an intimate outdoor seating area which is nice in warm weather, and the plates are all delicious.

Must Stay

Stay in the Hyper Center. There are a number of AirBnB’s, Homestays, and listings on all of the hotel booking sites, available in this area. We found it to be the best location as it’s “hyper” central to everything.

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