Although I have traveled extensively throughout France, I had never been it to Bordeaux! So when Dan and I spent 10 days in France this past summer, we made Bordeaux the highlight of our trip, spending 4 days and nights exploring Bordeaux and the surrounding area. We had a wonderful time, and found Bordeaux to be a lovely, beautiful and manageable city!
Gorgeous Bordeaux streets!
Bordeaux is sizeable city on the Garonne River in Southwestern France. In additional to being what many would call the wine capital of the world, Bordeaux is a university city that has a very young and very French feel – and in a great way! Despite its wine fame, Bordeaux is not overrun with tourists and offers a realistic French experience, especially as opposed to many of France’s other big tourists sites.
Of the countless wine-related activities available to tourists in Bordeaux, France, one of the most worthwhile wine-related activities in Bordeaux is a wine course, and preferably early on in your visit to Bordeaux! Dan and I commenced our four-day stay in Bordeaux with a wine course at Max Bordeaux Wine Gallery and our experience certainly shaped our time in Bordeaux! Here we are entering Max Bordeaux, and is fabulous wineglass ceiling is featured in the cover picture!
I will start off by disclosing that this is a companion piece to my recent post My Day in St. Émilion Without A Tour Company! You will see some of the same pictures and read some of the same facts, but this post is meant to provide a more detailed guide to exploring and planning St. Émilion without a tour guide! As I have mentioned before, St. Émilion is an absolutely stunning medieval French town located 40 minutes outside of Bordeaux. St. Émilion is known for two things: its robust red wines and its well preserved, medieval old town. As you can imagine, both of those draw big crowds and St. Émilion is hugely popular with tourists, especially the upscale crowd! Think lots of swanky hotels, numerous Michelin starred restaurants, and some of the best red wines that can be found…
As you may know from reading my Wine Cruising to Sauternespost, there are, to many tourists surprise, no vineyards or wine châteaux in the city of Bordeaux! All of the châteaux that make the famous “Bordeaux wine” are located in designated areas around Bordeaux. St. Émilion is one of those areas and in my opinion, is the easiest and best Bordeaux wine region to visit on your own (i.e. without joining a tour) from Bordeaux!
St. Emilion vineyards
St. Émilion is world renowned for its full-bodied red wines. But St. Émilion is also an extremely well preserved medieval town that is complete with a unique system underground passageways, wine cellars and even an underground church! As you can imagine, St. Émilion is a very popular day trip from Bordeaux and all of the tour companies offer day trips to St. Émilion from Bordeaux, starting €80,00/person and going up from there. However, St. Émilion is easily accessible from Bordeaux by train on your own, so that is what we did. St. Émilion was my favorite day trip out of Bordeaux and a “must do” for anyone in the area!