Last summer we spent a week in the Bordeaux region of France and it was one of the best trips we’ve taken. Bordeaux itself blends beautiful architecture with a relaxed vibe. There is a fantastic culinary scene to enjoy on the terraces of sublime squares dating back centuries. The UNESCO World Heritage town of Saint Emilion, just 21 miles (35 km) from Bordeaux is a world class wine producing region with incredible beauty. And nearby beach towns like Archachon offer relaxation and reprieve from southern France’s hot summer days.
Day Trips from Bordeaux
We’ve previously written on why Saint Emilion is a must day trip from Bordeaux and why we long to return. We also wrote about 5 must eat meals in Bordeaux. Here’s why Bordeaux is a great place to spend a week’s vacation!
Great Culinary Scene in Bordeaux
No European nation spends more of its income on food compared to the French. And while this might be pompous to some, its a treat for travelers who love culinary delights. One the best aspects 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 money and it’s easier to get sucked into tourist traps. 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. Then grab a seat and enjoy!
Enjoy a Picnic in a Bordeaux Park
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.
Archachon: Atlantic Ocean Beach Town
The beach town of Archachon is about an hour away from Bordeaux and we enjoyed a great day trip there. This is a popular place in July and August so be sure to book accommodation ahead if you want to stay on the beach. We were booked at the Ibis hotel in Bordeaux for a week so traveling in the morning and returning in the evening is also a convenient option.
Saint Emilion is a strikingly beautiful town to visit. The only downside is that it’s touristy, but some touristy places are worth visiting. And as Saint Emilion’s small train station is about 1km from town and not utilized by most tourists, we had a lovely, quiet and peaceful walk through the beautiful vineyards leading into town.
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?
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! It’s great to have a fridge to store delicious French cheeses and other goodies! Be sure to book apartments with consistently good reviews.
We stayed at the Ibis Bordeaux Centre – Gare Saint Jean, which is a pretty good option for budget travelers. It’s no frills, but it was comfortable enough for an enjoyable visit to Bordeaux.
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