A capital and a well-known wine-growing area, Bordeaux is one of the most important culinary destinations in southwest France. Only Paris receives more visitors than the city of Bordeaux, and with its medieval châteaux, world-class wineries and luxury manors, your holiday is set to provide you with a magical experience.
If you’re interested in culture and gastronomy, be sure to add this port city to your bucket list. From its gothic architecture and notable art museums to the ‘black diamonds’ (truffles) found in neighbouring Périgord, everything about this corner of the world screams sophistication and luxury.
Bordeaux is renowned worldwide for its vineyards, and is a bustling hub for those who enjoy learning more about food and wine. As the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, you’ll be able to taste some of the best regional produce around while enjoying the sights.
The Bordeaux wine region has two main divisions, the ‘Left Bank’ and the ‘Right Bank’. In the Left Bank there’s Médoc and Graves, and in the Right Bank there’s Pomerol and the medieval UNESCO village of Saint-Émilion. It also includes the vast area of Libourne, an area that’s renowned for its art and culture, galleries and food markets. Explore the Bordeaux Châteaux Route to experience all of these wine-making locations and visit the many prestigious wineries to learn more about the local grapes.
Stay in the capital city of Bordeaux, an 18th Century UNESCO gem, if you’re here for the history and architecture. Sights such as the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André and museums such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux and Cité du Vin are a must for first-time visitors. The Place de la Bourse is also not to be missed and offers great photo opportunities – particularly at night when the building lights up and reflects in the dazzling Miroir d'eau.
Just 20 minutes outside of Bordeaux is one of the best places for a caviar tasting experience, the house of Sturia set inside a beautiful château. Guests will get a chance to learn about the origins, types and production of caviar in France, and enjoy tastings from the rare collection.
Areas like Entre deux Mers and Sauternes are great for a guided bicycle tour, while prestigious wineries like and Mouton Rothschild and Pichon Longueville are definitely worth a visit. And with such pleasant year-round weather in the region, the beaches any oyster bars on Arcachon Bay and Cap Ferret demand exploring.
Aquitaine enjoys a pleasant oceanic climate across the year, with summer highs reaching 30°C/86°F or more and the coolest months rarely falling below 12°C/54°F. This means hiking, cycling or strolls on the beach are just as wonderful in the fall or winter.
November, December and January tend to have some rainfall, feeding the needs of vineyards and food production, and transforming the region into a verdant paradise come spring.
Wineries and vineyards are wonderful to visit throughout the year, but the September harvest often means that wineries are unable to receive visitors. January can be barren in terms of the vines, but many people enjoy the atmospheric views around this time of year. It’s also important to note that weekend tastings can be difficult with certain châteaux, so be sure to plan ahead.
The wine of Bordeaux is amongst the most well-known in France, and the rest of the world. Together with the regions of Burgundy and Champagne, Bordeaux is one of the reasons why French wine is so famous with serious connoisseurs. Unlike the other stars within this prolific trio, Bordeaux is the only region with proximity to the ocean. With immediate access to the sea, the area has enjoyed a huge wine exporting industry for centuries. It also has classifications of many of its top wines, so learning the labels is key for French wine beginners.
Red grape varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Malbec and Petit Verdot. White varieties include Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Colombard, Merlot Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Ugni Blanc.
The region itself is vast, stretching some 100km from north to south. Centred around the port city of Bordeaux, along the estuary of the Gironde and the rivers Garonne and Dordogne, this huge territory boasts the most prestigious wine varieties in the country. Médoc in particular is defined by its famous appellations, including Saint Estèphe, Margaux, Saint Julien and Pauillac.
Like Médoc, Saint-Emilion is also known for its classifications, and is a great place to start your wine tour. Or head to Graves and Pessac-Léognan, the gravel and stone soil sub-region, for a combined hiking and tasting experience. This area is known for its reds, loved by many for the fleshy and balanced flavours with elegant tannins.
If you dream of the perfect whites, head to Arcachon Bay for an oyster and wine pairing adventure.
Gorgeous château hotels are perhaps this region’s biggest draw for luxury seekers. Renowned for this style of high-end abode, and oozing country chic and sophisticated glamour, Bordeaux is easily the number one destination for romantics.
For wine lovers, there’s so much choice when it comes to vineyard accommodation. We hand select the best castles and country manors in Bordeaux so that you have all the indulgent luxuries on your doorstep. From 5 star hotels with Michelin starred restaurants on-site to exclusive wineries and award-winning spas, we’ve left no stone unturned.
Home to the best gourmet restaurants in the world, dining out in Bordeaux is an unforgettable experience even for the most well-travelled of foodies. The region’s delicacies – including expensive black truffles, famous cannelés pastries, caviar and Périgord walnuts – make it totally unique.
From famous TV names such as Gordon Ramsay to quaint cafes serving fresh, local food, there’s a great deal of variety here. In Saint-Emilion, there are incredible venues like Logis de la Cadène, holding one Michelin star. Another Michelin star restaurant is Le Saint-James Restaurant by Nicolas Magie, set inside one of Bouliac's most beautiful 18th Century farmhouses or the fabulous 2 Michelin star restaurant at Les Sources De Caudalie.
For the best view of Bordeaux, book a table at Le 7, Restaurant Panoramique at La Cité du Vin. Or for a magical château experience with an impressive wine list from the Pauillac Classified growths, visit the Château Cordeillan-Bages Restaurant in Pauillac.
Wine Paths creates luxury holidays to Bordeaux for wine connoisseurs or beginners, with amazing gastronomy and culture. Request a quote for this spectacular location from our local expert Joelle.