Bordeaux region questions

Old Dec 28th, 2022, 04:19 AM
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Bordeaux region questions

Putting together my 2023 wish list for travel before making decisions on where and when...

I haven't visited Bordeaux region yet during my various visits to France. Normandy/Brittany/Provence/Loire Valley, many times. Bordeaux still unexplored.

Would two nights in Bordeaux area (and likely no car, relying on public transport or taxis or local guides) be doing it short shrift? This would be to/from Paris, as part of an overall visit to Paris.

I know that two nights would more or less mean "one day" because I'd likely arrive shortly around lunch on day one, and leave shortly after lunch on day three. It would be enough time to see whichever town I chose to lodge in on arrival day/departure day, and, perhaps the middle day visiting some notable wineries.

And if I did the above, should I choose to stay in Bordeaux itself, or, a smaller town nearby?

Thank you
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 04:38 AM
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PS and would I be better served to spend those two nights in Champagne region... I've been to Reims twice, but only a day trip - visit around town, local cellars, a good meal, and back again.
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 07:32 AM
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We have not been to Bordeaux yet either (it is on our list for our next France visit) so no help for there but we did spend a very enjoyable 2 days/1 night in champagne country in early September of 2019. TGV Paris to/from Reims (arrived 10:14 AM, departed 7:15 PM the next day) so we had most of two days to explore and that worked well for us. We spent the first day exploring Reims and toured Pommery, Taittinger and Villa Demoiselle. The second day we rented a car and drove to Epernay on the Champagne Trail through Montagne de Reims Park. Easy driving and nice scenery with a couple champagne tastings at different places along the trail and in Epernay. Also a nice short visit to Hautvillers on the way back to Reims.



I have written a trip report (Paris, Chartres, Champagne Country and Giverny 2019). Posts 23 and 26 for descriptions of what we did and posts 38 and 39 for pics on those days). Looking forward to your trip report!
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 07:59 AM
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I think that the core of Bordeaux can be visited in a full day. From the train station there is a streetcar that goes directly to the center of town.

https://flic.kr/p/a6XH6d https://flic.kr/p/8jgL9N https://flic.kr/p/a6UGHg
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 03:22 PM
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flygirl,
We've stopped frequently in Bordeaux since the 2-hour TGV ride was introduced from Gare Montparnasse on our way from Paris to the Pays Basque.
What a difference a decade makes! It's become a highly inviting, architecturally stunning (to which Michael's photos attest) city to spend a few days in to relax and enjoy this beautiful city.

We've stayed for 3 days, once with a day trip to St Emilion, but the highlights of the city could be seen in a full day.
Although, if La Cité du Vin, a refreshment stop at Les Halles de Bacalan and the Bassins des Lumières (for Dalí this summer) hold appeal, those sites could take up an entire morning or more. La Cité du Vin has so many interactive displays, we spent over 2 hours there.
We haven't yet taken a river cruise.


The excellent tram system works well, so we've been car-free. We've based in the atmospheric antique dealers' and old wine merchants' quarter of Les Chartrons, which has a lively Sunday market by the river, nice restaurants & wine bars and a tram stop. It's a cool neighborhood. There are several B&B type lodgings (Casa Blanca) and apartment rentals there. Ours has been the Chez Dupont, both noted restaurant and apartments.
https://www.chez-dupont.com/en/

We did stay once in the St Paul-St Pierre district in the historic quarter in a B&B 3-story walkup. Some may prefer this area. Some prefer the fancy Triangle d'Or but summer rates on hotels there were beyond our price range.
This is a guide to the city's districts-
https://www.lostinbordeaux.com/the-b...stricts-guide/

We've also stayed for 3 nights in St Emilion, but it's become so popular as a day trip, that it's a very, very busy place, especially in summer.
From St Emilion we did take a longish drive to to visit a few wineries in the Médoc (our favorite was Château Lunch Bages).

There are many small groups tours to both St Emilion and the Médoc from Bordeaux. The tourist office has many listings.
https://www.visiter-bordeaux.com/en/...ring-vineyards
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 05:08 AM
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There is direct train service from Paris to Bordeaux, but I think two nights is way too short a time for this gorgeous region. We stayed over a week, with 3-4 nights in the city of Bordeaux, then on to Sarlat for several nights before heading south thru the Dordogne. Don't shortchange yourself here. Try and get the Cadogan guide, extremely thorough. Champagne is an option as noted above for a night or two, and recommend staying there in Epernay if that's where you decide.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 10:37 AM
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With the TGV schedules, one can arrive in Bordeaux by 13:00 (earlier if willing to leave before 10) and return to Paris by 21:00, giving almost two full days to visit the city.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 12:11 PM
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Another idea--
An extension to a Bordeaux visit could be a side trip with overnight or two or more to Le Bassin d'Arcachon, best done in the early summer before the school holiday, when it gets quite crowded.

We've also stopped in Arcachon for several nights on the way down from Paris to the Pays Basque for relaxation, a visit to the Dune du Pilat, to enjoy its unique architecture, especially in the "winter" town, and to explore Cap Ferret and have an feast there at an oyster cabane.

A handy place to stay for walkability is the "summer" town, Ville d'été, within walking distance of the beaches and pier and the terrific indoor market.
And it's a biking paradise.

While we did have a car, one can take the TER from Bordeaux's Gare St-Jean. It's an inexpensive, 50-minute ride.

There are boat trips regularly (water taxis) from Arcachon's pier, Jetée Thiers, to Cap Ferret with oyster restaurants within walking distance of the pier or further inland via taxi.
https://www.taxi-bateau-bassindarcachon.com.
And other boat rides on the bay.
https://www.arcachon.com/en/tourism/...suit-you-best/

And there's a bus from Arachon's Gare to the Dune de Pilat.
ligne-1.pdf

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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 12:22 PM
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You barely have enough time for the city of Bordeaux much less time to visit wineries and other interesting nearby destinations. I might consider reserving Bordeaux when you have more time to visit the coastal area and or the Dordogne.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 12:29 PM
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To visit the city of Bordeaux with a day trip to Médoc or St-Emilion and even an add on to the Bay of Arcachon, yes, I would suggest far more time, a week would be nice, to explore the entire area fully.
(Did not mean to imply at all that all of this could be done in 2 days--just simply another vacation idea.)

Last edited by Maribel; Dec 29th, 2022 at 12:36 PM.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 01:07 PM
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If you manage to find a way to extend try and visit Cognac. A bit of schlep away but worth it. More than say Pilat Dune.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 03:04 PM
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Depending on where you reside, wineries could or could not be of interest; there is a certain commonality to the production of wine. On the other hand, around the Place de la Comédie there are several wine merchants who offer tastings. There also a store specializing in Cognac which would offer a wider variety than what is found in Cognac: https://www.cognac-only.com/en/
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 08:37 AM
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I think two days is fine to see the main sites of Bordeaux, at least it was for me. Seems to me like you have 2 days as 1 + 2*.5 = 2. On the other hand, I don't really like to sightsee on the day I am departing a place. I have zero interest in visiting any winery, don't see the point really, so I had all my time to see the museums and sites I wanted in the city proper. Why visit a winery, you can't be lugging cases of wine with you nor probably want to pay shipping. And I agree with Michael on the production of wine which doesn't really interest me that much anyway. And yes, I drink wine a lot.
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 08:44 AM
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Visiting the town is great but you miss a lot by not visiting the region. The sand dunes, the little beach towns, the many cycle paths, the duck, the wine (gosh so many different types of wine and so many different ways of making it). The shell fish. Then the areas inland. Worth a couple of weeks in my experience.
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Old Jan 6th, 2023, 04:12 AM
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Good morning everyone

Sorry to run off like that.

Thank you for the information and advice. I've been mulling this over in my head. I always wrestle with "should I leave Paris" but when I do I very much enjoy the time. Part of the problem is that April is such a gorgeous time to be in Provence as well as Paris, but I've been to Provence a handful of times and Bordeaux none. I'll sort this out. I might just make it an early morning out, stay overnight, and last train back the following day.

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