Only have 24 hours to spend in Bordeaux? It may not seem like plenty of time because the city has so much to offer, but it’s just the right amount of time to get a glimpse of the city’s beauty and entice visitors to book a return trip as soon as possible.
Be smart about your transportation
For a 24-hour layover, stay in the city centre as being able to reach most of the city’s attractions by foot will save time and money. Airbnb rentals are probably the best because it’s always better to get advice and tips from a local than a hotel receptionist who will probably try to ‘sell’ touristic attractions from the hotel’s partners. After dropping off your bags, head to Place de la Victoire, a very vibrant area of the city, and have lunch at Pub Saint Aubin, a typical French brasserie with great service and reasonable prices.
Pub Saint Aubin, 5 Place de la Victoire, Bordeaux, France, +33 05 56 91 28 15
Pro tip: When you arrive at the airport, the best – and less expensive – option is to take the bus line number 1 outside the airport’s terminal. It takes riders to some of the city’s best central spots in 40 minutes for only €1.60.
Explore the Old Town
With a full stomach, opt for exploring the city. Pass under the big arch on Place de la Victoire and walk on Sainte-Catherine Street — notorious for being Europe’s longest walking street. Make a right on Cours Victor Hugo, look for La Grosse Cloche (The Big Bell) to the left and enter Saint-James Street, one of the trendiest areas in town. It’s very crowded with many cool shops like a bike store selling bicycles with umbrella holders, cosy tea and coffee shops, minimalist and arty boutiques as well as a bunch of bars and restaurants to spend the evening.
At the end of this small street filled with hidden gems sits the Fernand Lafargue Square. Praised by the locals, it’s a good place to spend the evening. Make a left on Rue des Ayres and return to Sainte-Catherine Street. Walk up the road and do some shopping, but make sure to stop at the Le Quatrième Mur, the very chic restaurant under the Grand Théâtre for an afternoon tea. The view over the mind-blowing Place de la Comédie is breathtaking.
Pro tip: While you’re shopping on Rue Sainte-Catherine, don’t hesitate to visit the side streets where you’ll find a bunch of cool boutiques with unique clothing and accessories, which will make you stand out.
Plan a romantic date alongside Bordeaux’s most beautiful square
While leaving the Grand Théâtre, make a right on Rue Esprit des Lois, which leads to the Quai du Maréchal Lyautey. Walk along the docks, which offer a spectacular view of the Garonne River. Keep walking until you reach the beautiful Place de la Bourse and after passing the mesmerizing fountain – picking a place to eat will probably be the toughest part of the day.
Indeed, whether remaining on Rue Saint-Rémi or Place du Parlement, there are many options for early-evening drinks or dinners available. For instance, L’Alchimiste on Place du Parlement is great for drinks (arrive early) while Le Chaudron is ideal for an enjoyable evening. Still have some energy left after dinner? Wander around the small streets and find a place for a final drink. Le Millésime stays open until 2 am and is the perfect place for that last glass of wine before going to bed.
L’Alchimiste, 16 Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre, Bordeaux, France, +33 05 56 48 11 82
Le Chaudron, 41-43 Rue Saint-Rémi, Bordeaux, France, +33 05 56 81 74 30
Le Millésime, 4 Rue du Puits Descujols, Bordeaux, France, +33 05 56 30 05 38
Pro tip: This area is very popular so make sure to come early for drinks and proceed with dinner. This will increase your chances of snagging a seat with the best view.
Have breakfast in the city’s most amazing garden before you leave
Don’t leave Bordeaux without visiting the Jardin Public, an outstanding green space in the heart of the city. Buy some croissants at a bakery and some fresh juice on the way for an improvised breakfast. For those who’d prefer to sit at a table, try l’Orangerie du Jardin Public. The garden’s restaurant, with its impeccable view over runners exercising or lovers enjoying the romantic scenery, is sure to delight.
L’Orangerie du Jardin Public, Jardin Public, Cours de Verdun, Bordeaux, France, +33 05 56 48 24 41