Last summer we had the opportunity to spend a week in the Bordeaux region of France and it ended up being one of the best trips we’ve taken. Bordeaux itself is an incredible mix of beauty, grace and energy, with fantastic food in beautiful squares that appear from narrow alleys dating back centuries. The UNESCO World Heritage town of Saint Emilion, just 21 miles (35 km) from Bordeaux will have you salivating with incredible wine and delicious food, surrounded by world class beauty. And nearby beach towns like Archachon offer relaxation and reprieve from Southern France’s hot summer days.
In the past we’ve written on why Saint Emilion is a must day trip from Bordeaux and why we still daydream about returning. We also wrote about 5 must eat foods to savor while in Bordeaux, and an entire post on funny Bordeaux photos. Now we’ve decided to re-visit the city and region in memory, to showcase why it’s such a phenomenal place to spend a week’s vacation.
With no European nation spending more of its income on food, France takes food seriously. And while this might be pompous to some, its a treat for travelers who love quality fresh food. One the best parts about Bordeaux in summer are the amazing squares to dine al fresco, often for reasonable prices for ‘fixed prix’ 3 course meals. We made it a nightly ritual to pick a different square each night to enjoy what’s always one of our favorite parts of traveling- dinner! Sure you can do this in Paris, but you’ll spend a lot more and touristy places don’t cater to French diners. Our advice for Bordeaux is just to stroll the squares, see which restaurant has a busy patio and a menu that suits your taste and budget and grab a seat!
It’s always a great idea to indulge in a sausage and cheese picnic in a French Park too. The Jardin Public and Parc Bordelais are both picturesque spots to enjoy delicious artisan treats over your favorite wine, beer or random drink while in Bordeaux. And don’t miss out on a stroll along the river at night and watching the children running through the mirror d’eux to cool their feet on a warm evening. With all the smiles and laughs, you’d have to be a scrooge not to enjoy it.
Nearby to Archachon is Dune Pilat (or Plya) which is one of the largest sand dunes in the world. As the temperatures were particularly hot on the day we visited Archachon we decided not to visit this amazing place, as it would have been akin to trekking in the dessert. But if temperatures are cooler than scorching hot, it’s meant to be very worthwhile.
Someday we’d love to return to the Bordeaux region and when we do we’ll be sure to book a night’s stay in Saint Emilion. The town of Cadillac is meant to be another great day trip from Bordeaux that would be on our list for a future visit. We’d also love to visit Cognac, which is a couple hours north of Bordeaux. There you can visit the Hennessy and Courvesiour distilleries which would be fantastic for fans of either of these cognacs. But no matter what you do in this region, it’s pretty hard to go wrong!
Where to Stay in Bordeaux and Saint Emilion?
It depends on your budget, but you’ll typically find the best hotel deals on booking.com. Families especially will find the best deals on short term apartment rentals. If you’ve never used Airbnb, sign up here and receive $40 credit off your first stay!