Debriefing my stay in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is undeniably a very pleasant city to discover and rediscover, both for its heritage and its gastronomy. A look back at my recent stay to help you prepare yours.

You’ll find all the articles about this Bordeaux getaway at the bottom of the page.

The destination

Whether by plane or train, Bordeaux is well served from Paris (less so from other French cities, but that’s the usual problem with transverse connections in France), making it an ideal weekend destination.

You can also get there by car, perhaps on your way to Spain or the Atlantic coast, but be aware that traffic in and around the city is hellish, and sometimes even worse than in Paris.

Apart from that, it’s a city with a lot to offer in terms of tourism. While it’s easy to visit in one or two days, you can stay much longer to visit the region, the vineyards, or even enjoy the beaches – provided, once again, that you like traffic jams in the latter case.

For my part, I stayed for ten days or so to take advantage of two weekends, one of which was a long one (Easter), with a few days of remote work in between. It’s too much for tourism, but I had many friends to see and worked during the day for half of my stay. On the other hand, if you like to eat well, or want to discover the surrounding area, you can stay much longer to enjoy everything.

Time of year

So I went at Easter, which in theory is a very pleasant time when you can even start to enjoy the beach and the swimming pools in hotels that have one.

Overall, I had good weather 80% of the time, which is good news because Bordeaux can be a very rainy city, at least more than you’d think.

On the other hand, at times like these, between school vacations and public holidays, expect to see a lot of people, tourists and locals alike, and plan ahead for restaurant reservations if you want to try out some of the more upscale restaurants.

Transportation

To get there, I chose to fly for reasons of scheduling convenience and to avoid having my plans ruined by a strike. What’s more, it was cheaper and meant I could arrive in Mérignac where I wanted to try out a hotel.

Otherwise, the train is also very convenient, provided you accept the risks involved and pay an astronomical rate at certain times of the year.

Please note: while the plane will have you arrive outside the city, the train station is also out of the way.

On the other hand, it’s a very pleasant city to walk around, and the streetcar does its job very well.

Hotels

I tried two hotels.

The first was the Sheraton at Mérignac airport, which had just opened. A real success! Beautiful hotel, very well equipped, with a nice swimming pool and a very good restaurant. Too bad it’s not in town.

Then, in the city (well, a little out of the center), the Moxy Bordeaux, which I already knew but whose prices were better suited to a long stay. While I’m still convinced that it’s a nice, lively hotel offering good value for money, it’s not suited to this type of stay, and I found the service moderately professional this time. If you want even more comfort, there’s the Renaissance Bordeaux just next door with its lovely swimming pool, or if you’re ready to splash the cash for an exceptional setting right in the city center, the Intercontinental Bordeaux and its superb spa.

I could also talk about the Moxy in Roissy, where I slept before taking the plane, but the poor service, which gets worse with each stay, makes me prefer to not say anything. Ah…did I just say they were catastrophic?

Restaurants

No disappointments, apart from L’Embarcadère, which is a little too casual for my taste. If you want seafood, I don’t know what you’ll find elsewhere, but you won’t be bowled over here.

If you like authentic, no-fuss France southwestern cuisine, La Tupina is a sure bet, provided you’re prepared to pay the price.

If you love fine dining, Chef Etchebest’s Maison Nouvelle is a must-see experience, both sophisticated in content and simple in form. Of course, you can also go to Gordon Ramsay’s Pressoir d’Argent, which I’ve tried in the past. I wouldn’t choose between the two, because the styles are so different.

I’d also recommend a visit to Cromagon…maybe before the chef gets her first star?

And while we’re talking about stars, Tentazioni will be offering you one of the rare Italian starred restaurants. Simple and very pleasant.

And how can you go to Bordeaux without going to l’Entrecôte? Whether you like the concept or not, it’s one of the great classics.

One last one for the road if you like Japanese cuisine: Un Soir à Shibuya, an unpretentious but not without qualities restaurant to which I like to return.

As you can see, I don’t regret any of my choices, each in its own way, with one exception. But just because all these tables are worth visiting doesn’t mean that others I haven’t tried aren’t worth the effort. I still have an impressive list of restaurants I’d like to try there.

Tourism

Bordeaux can easily be visited in two days, or even one if you’re not a museum fan: most of the city’s rich architectural heritage can be explored on foot, and only the museums will really require you to spend time on site.

And if you’re new to the region, a tour of the vineyards and the Bassin d’Arcachon are great additions to your stay.

Bottom line

Bordeaux is a great place to spend a weekend in France outside Paris, with no real weak points, and it’s a pleasure to return to even if you know the city well.

Articles about my trip to Bordeaux

Review #TypePost
#1DiaryPreparing a getaway in Bordeaux
#2HotelMoxy Roissy
#3FlightParis-Bordeaux – Air France – Economy
#4HotelSheraton Bordeaux Airport
#5HotelMoxy Bordeaux
#6RestaurantTentazioni Bordeaux
#7RestaurantL’entrecôte Bordeaux
#8RestaurantLa Tupina Bordeaux
#9RestaurantL’Embarcadère Bordeaux
#10RestaurantCromagnon Bordeaux
#11RestaurantUn Soir à Shibuya Bordeaux
#12RestaurantMaison Nouvelle Bordeaux
#13DiaryBordeaux travel guide
#14FlightBordeaux-Paris – Air France – Economy
#15DiaryDebriefing this stay in Bordeaux
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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