- Grand designs
- City life
- Le monde des gourmands
Bordeaux is a city of grandeur and sophistication, of old money and legendary vintages, where connoisseurs can take the time to savour wines and cuisine perfected over generations.
This grande dame on the banks of the softly-flowing Garonne ages with effortless grace; its wide boulevards, majestic squares and elegant 18th-century mansions are filled with timeless charm. Surrounded by ancient châteaux and some of the most valuable vineyards in the world, each autumn harvest brings another crop of imperious reds and sweet whites. Beyond, the precious earth fades into the dunes of the Atlantic seaboard, where the waters are rich with oysters and seafood destined for the tables of the Bordeaux’s gourmands. Here the good life is served on a plate and time is measured by the popping of corks.
Beautifully BordeauxBordeaux is perhaps the world’s greatest wine region and you can visit numerous vineyards and châteaux. In the Médoc region to the north of the city you can visit one of the finest vineyards at the world-famous Château Margaux; make a appointment first (www.chateau-margaux.com).
- There are taxi ranks throughout the city. If you need to order a taxi, try Allo Bordeaux Taxis 05 56 31 61 07.
- Tipping culture
- Service charges are included automatically on all French restaurant bills but it’s usual to leave a few euros for the waiter.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Some smaller shops close 12h30–14h30, even in the city centre. Restaurants are often closed on Sundays and Mondays outside the summer months.
- Packing tips
- A map of the Bordeaux and Bergerac wine regions.
- Recommended reads
- Wines of Bordeaux by David Peppercorn; French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle.
- The cuisine of Bordeaux blends Atlantic seafood with the rich produce of the neighbouring Dordogne and Périgord regions. Oysters, eel, lamprey and sturgeon are all local specialities, as are river fish grilled over vine twigs. This is also the place to enjoy purple and green asparagus, foie gras and delicious lamb from Pauillac. It goes without saying that Bordeaux wine is some of the finest in the world. The Bergerac region also has some excellent wines at reasonable prices.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for France: 33. Bordeaux: 05. Drop the zero when dialling locally.
- Do go/don't go
- The summer is pleasantly warm, but August can be humid and the city crowded with tourists. Book in advance if you want to visit the vineyards at this time of year. Many châteaux are closed to visitors during the grape harvest in October. Winter is mild.