Notes from the Road | Visit Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a city filled with history, beautiful architecture, wine bars pretty much on every corner, and wine museums. It’s the largest city of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, the home of some of the best wines, and the ultimate destination for oenophiles around the world. Please join me today for Notes from the Road – Visit Bordeaux, with tips on what to see, where to stay, and where to eat.

Bordeaux cathedral



Bordeaux is the UNESCO heritage world capital of wine. The city has a rich history spanning at least two thousand years. Formerly called Burdigala, it was built during the 3rd century BC by a Celtic tribe. Perfectly placed at the cross between the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Iberian Peninsula, Bordeaux prospered thanks to the tin trade. When Julius Ceasar conquered this area, Burdigala became an emporium of the Roman Empire.  Over the next three centuries, it expanded and began trading wine.


French Bridge at night fall

The 12th century was the start of Bordeaux’s golden age, The arts flourished, and Bordeaux became linked to the English crown, until In 1453, King Charles VII of France ended the Hundred Years War by winning the final battle. And Bordeaux once again was French.  At the beginning of the 18th century, Bordeaux established itself as a main harbor for trade to and from the colonies. At the end of the 18th century, it was the main harbor in France and the second most important in the world after London.

Bordeaux Central building


Industry and the arts flourished in Bordeaux in the centuries following. When Paris was threatened by the German armies, Bordeaux briefly became the capital of France. In 1941 Bordeaux was occupied by the Germans for 4 years, it was liberated in August of 1944.




If you are going all out, the Intercontinental Hotel in Bordeaux is stunning. Directly opposite the Grand Théâtre, this 5-star hotel is in the heart of the historic center of Bordeaux. It offers a concierge service, a babysitting service upon request, gourmet restaurants and a 3281 ft² spa and wellness center.




The Grand Hotel Francais is a Best Western Hotel, in a historic XVIII th building with typical Bordeaux architecture, situated right in the centre of Bordeaux. It has soundproof rooms with the charm of old and new combined.





Mentioned in historical documents as early as the 9th century, the cathedral was officially consecrated in 1096. King Louis XIII and Anne of Austria got married there. During the French revolution the cathedral was vandalized, and even served as a storage facility for military horse feed! But finally after decades of restoration, the cathedral is once again a beauty to visit.


Bordeaux cathedral




Built in 2006, this is the world’s largest reflecting pool band  a symbol of Bordeaux.  On warm days, the reflective pool is full of children and adults enjoying the water and cooling off from the heat of the day. When it is still and there are no people {get up super early if you want to see that!} this mirror of water gives a beautiful reflection of the Place de la Bourse.

Notes from the Road|Visit Bordeaux
Visit Bordeaux




Every Sunday there is a brocante {flea market} in front of the Saint Michael’s Basilica. You can find everything there from the most amazing high end and expensive antiques to flea market bargains. If you are not there in the weekend, don’t worry, there are many little antique and home decor shops all along the Rue Notre Dame and the square to visit.




Bordeaux is world famous for its wine, but also the delicious canéle cakes. Since the wine industry uses egg whites to seal the barrels of wine, there were all these egg yolks. The smart nuns at the  Annonciades convent developed fluted, molded cakes that by now are world famous. There are lots of little shops selling these treats. {ps. stateside Trader Joe’s sells frozen ones that are pretty good!}


French Bordeaux pastries




The Darwin Bridge brings you to a neighborhood with organic grocery stores, boutique restaurants, a skatepark, street art and a more “families live here” feel. It’s a great place to walk to for a lunch adventure, the restaurants are all really great!


Notes from the Road|Visit Bordeaux




The longest shopping street in Bordeaux, this 1.2 km long pedestrian street is perfect for picking up a few souvenirs to take back home.{unless you prefer antique souvenirs like I do, then see the brocante tip! But the little people always like souvenirs that are new.}


shopping in France





Through some twenty digital spaces, the Permanent exhibition of the Cité du Vin invites you on a journey to the heart of the great history of wine. This museum opened in 2016, it offers an interactive experience. And wow…that building!!  There is so much to see and do, there are restaurants, you can end your day with a wine tasting at the top floor and enjoy amazing views of Bordeaux. You can easily spend a day there!


cite du vin



Musée du Vin et du Négoce is in personal wine cellar of a former merchant’s home built in 1720. Though small, the museum tells the history of the wine trade in Bordeaux, explaining  how wine making shifted from being centered around wine merchants to the chateaus. Inexpensive, and self guided, it’s a fun stop to learn more about the region and the wine.





Honestly, there are so many great places to eat here, I just chose two. It seems like there is a great brasserie or bistro around every corner. They all serve wine. They all post their menu outside so you can window shop for your favorite!

sea food in France




If you really want to discover Bordeaux cuisine, this is a great place to eat. High quality, a brilliant chef, and if you are vegetarian they have a “a la carte” menu for you. The desserts are wonderful {if you have any room left} I suggest the profiteroles.


Petit Commerce




Or at Brasserie Le Noailles.  Located in the heart of Bordeaux, Le Noailles offers a timeless setting and refined cuisine. Mural frescoes by artist Dauguet, mirrors, waiters in black waistcoats, and red velvet chairs and benches all make this an unforgettable and completely French experience. The food is divine. You will see couples out on a date, chic French ladies eating alone while drinking a bottle of Veuve Clicquot {in the middle of the day!}, or friends gathered at a table actually talking to each other. not on their phones. Make a reservation, it’s a popular place.


le Noailles Brewery




Since I can’t eat wheat and need to be gluten free, you can’t imagine my delight with BAG Bakery and Art Gallery! At 24 rue du Mirail, inside the Hôtel Saint-François, a UNESCO listed monument, the BAG combines an organic and gluten-free bakery-pastry shop, a gourmet bookshop, and an art gallery. There is a beautiful large terrace overlooking palm trees to enjoy a drink. {They also show films there outside.}


BAG Bakery



Located on the ground floor of the Maison du Vin de Bordeaux, headquarters of the Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wines, Le Bar a Vin is hands down a favorite. There are different areas to sit, from low tables and soft armchairs for a “cosy” atmosphere; oak tables and chairs, deliberately spaced out for more privacy; bar and high tables in a bistro style, and a sunny terrace, with a view of the Grand Théâtre.

The bar permanently offers a selection of around thirty wines: reds, dry and sweet whites, rosés, clairets and crémants. The wines are exclusively served by the glass, and you can order  local delicacies: cheeses, charcuterie, chocolates. Need I say more?


wine glasses

Of course we all would love to visit the world capital of Wine. If you have temporarily stopped traveling, or your French trip is still a long time away, you can bring a little of the taste of Bordeaux home to you by Hosting a Bordeaux Inspired wine tasting!

antique french wine hotte

We are adding wine related antiques to our website brought back from recent buying trips. If you love wine, maybe there is something you will adore to add to your own wine experience, your wine bar or room or cellar, or to give as an exceptional gift.
A Votre Santé



Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and above all uniquely yours. Visit our shop

10 thoughts on “Notes from the Road | Visit Bordeaux”

  1. This all looks so grand & elegant! Such a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing, Lidy!

  2. Hello Lidy! Thank you for your posts about Bordeaux. We are planning a trip to the Dordogne area and are in the process of deciding whether to do it on our own or with a tour group. Your many recommendations and information about the city make me feel like we should do this on our own. I can already taste the wine!

  3. AliceGenzlinger

    This arm chair visit to Bordeaux was throughly enjoyed. Thanks for the Trader Joe’s hint. Next time there will look for the Canele cakes. Chic I’m not, but the lady sitting alone having a class or two of Veuve Clicquot sounds right up my alley. Have a sweet day Lidy.

    1. I’m sure you are plenty chic, Alice! Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

  4. Barbara, how exciting! Sometimes a great solution is to combine the two- maybe there is a “day” tour you can book to be shown some of the highlights? We have done that many times in a new city. In London we took a double decker bus tour, for instance, of the city highlights, many of which we would not have known about or seen without it. I know you are going to have a wonderful time!

  5. Mary Anna

    Love Bordeaux and this brought back so many happy memories. Can’t wait for my next trip to the Dordogne!

    1. So happy you enjoyed this post Mary Anna. I can’t wait, either.

    1. So happy you enjoyed it! Have a beautiful weekend, Sharon.

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