I have found several places in and around Bordeaux where...Read More
Bordeaux is one of the most interesting places to visit in Europe, but it isn’t exactly the most budget-friendly destination.
I have been living in Bordeaux for several years and here are my local finds and tips to help you save a few euros.
Take bus number 1 at a bus stop located between Hall A and Hall B of the airport.
You can buy a magnetic ticket at the grey machine at the bus stop or pay cash to a driver.
The public bus fare is €1.70. There is no extra charge for luggage. Drivers do not accept large bills.
As you enter a bus tap your ticket against one of the screens marked TBM.
The bus will take you about an hour to the city center as it makes many stops along the way.
Get off at Centre Commercial Mériadeck or Palais de Justice and then walk to the historic center. The bus makes its final stop at the train station, Gare St. Jean.
Download Bordeaux bus schedules here.
See other ways to get from the airport in my article How to Get from Bordeaux Airport to Central Bordeaux.
For convenient budget accommodations check out these areas of Bordeaux close to the city center:
As to hostels, there are a few in Bordeaux. The
How about a croissant, a sandwich, or a quiche for breakfast? Just find a bakery for croissants to go or a cafe that serves a breakfast fare.
For lunch, there are a few good options:
The best is to find a restaurant that serves a lunch menu (menu midi) which will include an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert for anywhere between 11 and 14 euros (tax in, small tip optional as the locals rarely tip). Coffee will be an extra, but tap water and bread are included.
The lunch menu options are easy to find. Look for black chalkboards with Entrée-Plat-Dessert offers. For quality inexpensive lunch check out:
Bordeaux is famous for its many gastronomic restaurants, however, they could get pricey. For budget options look for a dinner menu at bistrots and brasseries.
Another popular option is L’Entrecot, near the Office of Tourism, a chain restaurant with amazingly nice entrecote meat served under their secret sauce. For 19 euros you get a green salad with walnuts and a portion of fantastic entrecote with unlimited high-quality French fries. There are no other items on the menu except for two brands of red wine, dessert, and coffee which are extra.
If you don’t need a proper dinner, start with an apero, a local aperitif tradition. For example, at one of these places – 3 Squares for an Apero in Bordeaux.
Continue through the evening at a local bar – taste wines and finger foods – cheese boards, cold cuts or foie-gras. How about a Spanish bar in Bordeaux with Real Spanish Tapas?
Remember that dinner starts at 7 pm.
Find more local restaurant recommendations in my article here.
One last piece of advice: choose the local La Toque Cuivrée over the more tourist-oriented Baillardrin when it comes to local sweets Canelés de Bordeaux.
You must taste wines in Bordeaux. There is a wonderful place across from the Office of Tourism – called Le Bar a Vin.
They are open all day Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm. For the evening drink, it is better to be there early – around 5 pm. Otherwise, you may have to wait to be seated for a while. You will see many tourists there, however, locals love this place too.
The idea is that the bar serves wine by the glass with a mission to present the appellations of Bordeaux to the public.
Le Bar frequently updates their wines list which always has a selection of thirty wines: reds, dry, sweet, whites, rosés, clairets, and sparkling wines. You can order a board of cheeses, cold meats, or chocolates to pair with your wines.
A glass of wine costs between 2 and 8 euros. Most wines on the menu are under 4 euros a glass.
My understanding is that the bar is operating on a low margin or no margin at all being subsidized somehow, but I have yet to confirm this.
Try the sparkling Cremant de Bordeaux. This is a local alternative to Champagne made from Bordeaux grapes.
Obviously, there is a bunch of wine bars in the city. Remember that many will require you to buy at least an appetizer when you sit down for a glass, a restaurant license requirement. However, there are some secret ones with a bar license. Hint: you will see many young people drinking beers without food at those.
My secret wine bar is Le Vertige in the heart of Quarter St. Pierre. Excellent choice of wines by the glass, quality appetizers and a friendly team.
There are good discounts on beers and basic cocktails during Happy Hour all around the city from 5pm to 8pm. A pint of beer will cost you around 5 euros.
If you don’t want to spend a nice summer evening inside a bar, you can pick up a bottle to go (bars are allowed to sell bottles to take away (a emporter)) and have a picnic on the banks of the Garonne river.
For a more structured tasting with a professional consider these Bordeaux wine experiences:
Here is how to visit a Bordeaux winery on a self-guided wine tour without a car:
Take Bus 4 from the Bordeaux center to visit the prestigious Chateau Pape Clement in Pessac. Reservation required.
Take a train to Saint-Emilion from Gare St. Gean, walk over to the village (20 minutes) and visit wineries located around the village. Advance booking is required.
When in Saint-Emilion, visit these wine bars.
Bike to Cantenac or Margaux and visit a chateau for only 8 euros. Advance booking is required.
If you have a car, check out my Bordeaux guide for suggestions of the best wineries to visit in Bordeaux.
Consider these visit options to one of my favourite wineries in Saint-Emilion and Margaux:
Alternatively, select one of these good-value wine tours. Normally, group wine tours depart from the Office of Tourism. Check your pickup point with your tour operator.
If you are looking for a private Bordeaux wine tour, I will be happy to take you to the best wineries in Bordeaux (you can pick your own!). Check out my Atlas Bordeaux website for private tour options (2-8 people).
Enjoy your stay in Bordeaux!
I mostly write about wine tasting experiences in Europe, check out my Blog for more articles about Bordeaux and join my private Bordeaux wine tour.
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