Spread along the twin banks of the mighty Garonne river Bordeaux is the quintessential smart French city with its' elegant 18th century waterfront, tree-lined boulevards and bustling café culture. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007 and only Paris boasts more buildings listed as historic monuments. It has great galleries, shops, restaurants and museums and is a Mecca for wine-lovers.
Regular flights from Bristol and London.
Bordeaux has plenty to offer visitors all year round and its mild Mediterranean climate makes for temperate Springs and Autumns. It can get very hot in high Summer.
Get Around by:
• Bike – the exemplary 'Vcub' public cycle scheme is readily accessible and extremely popular with residents and tourist alike: https://www.vcub.fr/ A flat city-scape and generous cycle lanes make this the most bike-friendly city outside of Amsterdam.
• Tram – Bordeaux's super slick tram system is the envy of the rest of Europe: https://www.infotbm.com
In an on-line rental apartment in the chic 'Chartrons' district, or at the very well-located and reasonably priced 'Hôtel Normandie': http://www.hotel-normandie-bordeaux.com/
You are spoilt for choice from a simple Croque Monsieur to cutting-edge gastronomy.
• 'Restaurant Karl' on the Place du Parlement is a terrific languorous breakfast hang out.
• €10 for 6 freshly-shucked Arcachon oysters at the Maison Éco-citoyenne overlooking the river isn't bad value with an accompanying glass of blameless Entre de Mers [€6].
• 'La Tupina' on rue Porte de la Monnaie is a venerable institution with commensurate costings but 'Garopapilles' (recommended by our friend Alain Graillot) blew our socks off.
Oenophiles are advised to start saving in anticipation of a visit but 'Julo' (11 rue des Faures) and 'Aux Quatre Coins du Vin' (8 rue de la Devise) are both first class wine shops-cum-bars that offer a wealth of wines to sample at reasonable prices.
The cynical €20 fee to see the view from the 8th floor of the Cité du Vin – have a glass of something uplifting instead.
The Musée d'Art Contemporain.