Hit the wine trail and master your cookery skills
Make your first stop in Bordeaux the Cité du Vin , a spectacular building on the left bank of the Garonne river that explores the history and culture of wine. It has already welcomed more than a million visitors since it opened in the summer of 2016. Enjoy a glass of wine in the eighth-floor panoramic bar, Le Belvédère, before embarking on Bordeaux’s Urban Wine Trail, which takes visitors on a self-guided tour of Bordeaux’s best bars, some of which have up to 1,000 different wines.
Le Vertige serves cheese and charcuterie boards with its long list of wines. At Le Millésime, you can even order one of the premiers grands crus classés by the glass – a château cheval blanc 2004 (€60) goes down well with their posh mini burgers, or just order a glass of regular Bordeaux to enjoy until two in the morning. La Ligne Rouge specialises in little-known wines from foreign domaines including Serbia, Croatia and an English sparkly. It is on the left bank beside one of the oldest bars in Bordeaux, the Grand Bar Castan, a great place to watch the world go by – cars, trams, boats, cyclists and rollerbladers all pass in front of the bar, the interior of which is lined with art nouveau rocaille – an indoor cave with giant palm tree decoration.
And don’t miss the Bordeaux Wine Council’s Bar à Vin, in the city’s flatiron building, la Maison Gobineau. Quality wines cost a fraction of what they do elsewhere, and it’s a unique place to drink a glass of Bordeaux supérieur (€2) or a pomerol (€8) beneath an Aubusson tapestry and stained glass windows.
Broaden your drinking palate
The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, including Bordeaux, is a must for foodies. The most picturesque market is at Royan, where 150 traders sell delights such as purple asparagus from Blaye, green asparagus from Les Landes, with oysters and cuttlefish from the Bay of Arcachon. At Brive-La-Gaillarde and Sarlat’s in the Dordogne, market stalls are overflowing with vegetables, dried duck, nougat and honey. Join the locals in the queue at the cheese counter or watch as the restaurateurs squeeze the fruit and search for the best truffles.
Dine out in style
Bordeaux is famed for its brasseries and bistros, many of which have been there since the mid-19th century. Try the traditional La Belle Epoque, or Le Quatrième Mur – recommended by EasyJet’s crew performance manager, Renaud Herin. Save up for a meal at Le Chapon Fin, a posh restaurant frequented by Sarah Bernhardt and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
For a more modern menu, head to one of Bordeaux’s most sought-after tables at Racines, where Glasgow-born chef Daniel Gallacher serves creative, delectable food inspired by his Scottish roots and training under Alain Ducasse.
End the evening with a diamant noir, a sugar-coated, ganache dark chocolate by Cadiot-Badie, which has been making confectionary since 1826.
Don’t leave Bordeaux without …
Tasting the local speciality, a canelé, a tiny vanilla and rum-flavoured cake that looks like a miniature fluted jelly mould. The inside is spongy and the outside is a delicate caramelised crust. Locals eat them for breakfast, elevenses, lunch and dinnertime, and they can even be paired with Bordeaux wine.
Start planning your adventure in Bordeaux. From guidance on vineyard tours, to suggestions for arts and culture, find a host of inspiration at uk.france.fr/en/bordeaux