French Flair in Bordeaux

For my birthday this year, my boyfriend and I planned a quick trip to one of my favorite cities. We spent 2 days in Paris and 2 days in Bordeaux. We’ve both been to Paris before so we knew we didn’t want to do all the touristy stuff. We just wanted to eat and enjoy the city! Although we did take time to do my favorite thing, sit under the Eiffel Tower at sunset!

Neither of us had been to Bordeaux. I don’t think we did much research (or enough research) beforehand so I wanted to write a post about Bordeaux in particular.

 

Bordeaux is a beauty area of France where some of the greatest wines in the world are created. Though there are numerous other wines in the world that I love (don’t get me wrong), Bordeaux wines have found their way into my heart.

bordeaux map for gironde

There are 2¬†banks in Bordeaux: Right bank and Left bank, on either side of the river. Do your research about what kind of wine you like and hit that area!¬†The¬†Left Bank¬†vineyards are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, while the¬†Right Bank¬†ones focus more on Merlot. Most of what you’ll find are blends, but you want to see and tour what you like! Normally red Bordeaux wines are blended together from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grapes. You’ll see most of the grapes on both sides of the river, but the vineyards will specialize in what grows best there.

Getting There: 

There are a few different ways to get to Bordeaux.

Most people fly in. The airport is located in downtown Bordeaux. This is what most people do from my understanding.

You can drive. It’s takes about 5 hours to drive from Paris to Bordeaux.

Or you can take the train. We chose to take the train from Paris for 3 major reasons:

1. It’s cheaper! Train ticket from Paris to Bordeaux will run you anywhere from $83 to $200. We got first class tickets for $110 each the day before departure. Depending on where you book and when you book. My boyfriend easily installed RailEurope.com on his iPhone and had the tickets in seconds.

2. It’s fast! Two and a half hours on a high speed train was quick and easy.

3. A new experience. My boyfriend had never been on a train. I know! I was shocked too. Having been all over Europe by train, I couldn’t image not taking one.

So we hoped on a train.

Getting Around:

I will start by saying- we did this wrong…

You can do what we did- try Uber or get taxis. While ride sharing apps do work in Bordeaux, there are so few drivers, it’s tough to get a ride. With taxis, only really works for major areas. Where we were, there were none.

What we should have done? Rent a car! That way you can go where and when you want for about $30/day. We used Avis. But there were other options.

Pro tip: book in advance. There is a new cruise ship coming into port and it’s darn near impossible to get a rental if you haven’t booked in advance.

Where to stay: 

There are a number of AirBNB places, as well as hotels and chateaus to stay at all over Bordeaux. We stayed at a Chateau Siaurac. This place is incredible. It’s in the countryside. The views are beautiful. We could walk through their vineyards and drink wine in the garden. The chateau itself looks like it came out of a storybook! It wasn’t horribly expensive. For 2 nights, 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner, and a tour and tasting for 2 people, we payed about $600 (US). This place is probably one of if not the most elegant places I’ve ever stayed. It is classic French style, and it was an incredible experience. One drawback: The bathroom was separated by a curtain. Just a curtain. My boyfriend and I try and retain some mystery, but that might be gone now! However, I would do it all over again. I have never felt more special and well taken care of than I did with my stay here!

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What to do:

 

Start by researching ahead of time. What wines you like. What vineyards you want to see. Check well in advance for tastings. While Bordeaux is very relaxed, you can’t really do things as last minute as we did. Tastings, tours, and exploring are pretty much what Bordeaux is all about.

We stuck with the right bank since that’s the wine we like.

One thing I wish we got to do that we didn’t was the underground church in Saint Emilion. We just missed booking it by an hour. But it’s supposed to be really cool!

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What did we do there?

Day 1:

Train

Walked around Neac- probably weren’t supposed to walk down the small streets but it was lovely to just walk around

Dinner at Logis de la Cadene Restaurant. Book well in advance. We got in on a cancelation, after 3 months of trying to book! It’s in downtown Saint Emilion.

Day 2:

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Breakfast at Chateau Siaurac

 

Chateau Siaurac- Tour and tasting

 

Picked up a rental car*  (see above!)

Drove all over Saint Emilion, Pomerol, and Neac

IMG_7589Saw the Bells at Chateau Angelus (a big deal for my boyfriend since it’s his fav!)

Lunch in Saint Emilion- at La Cote Braisee.

*Apparently doesn’t have very good stars on google, but I liked it just fine. In France, the slower the meal, the better it is. So 2 hours for a meal is normal. I know, for Americans, it seems ridiculous. But, you aren’t in America, and you are there for the experience! (gets off of soap box, carefully!)

Walked around the entire city. Yes, the entire city! It was lovely!

Sparkling white wine at Les Cordeliers- great place to relax after walking up and downhill a ton!IMG_7541.JPG

Chateau Guadet- Tour and tasting

Dinner at Chateau Siaurac

 

Day 3:

Breakfast at Chateau Siaurac

Train back to Paris!

We had an amazing time. The people at Chateau Siaurac literally bent over backwards to make our stay incredible! Could not highly recommend them enough! (and their wine was delicious and affordable!)

For more pictures of our adventure in Bordeaux, check out my Instagram: Endlessly Elise. Hope you enjoy!

 

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