Bordeaux, France

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.

Areas in Bordeaux

When to 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.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Bordeaux-Mérignac airport is six miles from the city centre. There is a shuttle bus service to the centre every 45 minutes, taking half an hour.
  • Trains

    TGV links Bordeaux to the Eurostar terminals in Paris (3hrs) and Lille (5hrs). The main station is about ten minutes outside the centre.
  • Automobiles

    The warren of narrow one-way streets in the centre is largely pedestrianised, but it’s useful to have a car to visit the beach or follow the wine trails.
  • Taxis

    There are taxi ranks throughout the city. If you need to order a taxi, try Allo Bordeaux Taxis 05 56 31 61 07.

Suite XL at Château la Thuiliere, Bordeaux, France

Suite XL at Château la Thuiliere, Bordeaux, France

Acquired as a wedding present for the wife of a 19th-century marquis, the Château la Thuiliere is rooted in romance. This house wears its history on its sleeve – the mock Tudor façade and stained glass windows that hint at the eccentric marquis; the patterned tiles, ornate tapis and the sweeping wooden staircase – but there are modern flourishes too. The XL Suites have original fireplaces and sweeping views of the garden, all viewable from the supremely comfortable modern king sized bed. (NB: dog not necessarily included).

Find out more about Château la Thuiliere