They say that Paris is always a good idea, but I’ve found that it’s France’s other cities that really put on the charm. A two-hour train ride from Paris leads to another major city with its own wow factor: Bordeaux. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world, and not just because I love wine (though that doesn’t hurt).
Bordeaux offers the perfect mix of city chic at a pace that is not as overwhelming as its northern neighbor. It’s steeped in history, as seen in its architecture, but you can also stumble into a bar that’s playing Kendrick Lamar and serving cocktails to the city’s cool kids. Bordeaux’s surrounding areas include gorgeous countrysides with rolling hills, cobblestone streets, and some of the best wine vineyards in the world. Whether you’re traveling to France for the first time or looking to explore further south in the country, here are all of the things you should not miss in this one of a kind city.
Call this hotel home
Yndo Hotel is tucked onto a quiet cobblestone street in the city and was once a private mansion. That’s why every time you walk through the lobby, you’ll feel like you’re headed back to your own luxurious haven, complete with complimentary glasses of Veuve and Hermès bath products. The owner, Agnes, has created incredible detail in each of the property’s 12 rooms. The courtyard is a great place in the summertime to nuzzle up to a good book and glass of champagne. This is one of my favorite boutique hotels in the world because of its intimate setting, stellar service, and spacious, chic rooms.
Enjoy the wine
Bordeaux is well-known for its endless rolling hills and intimate wine bars. Two of my absolute favorites include The Wine Bar and O p’tit bahut. The Wine Bar has a cozy outdoor garden and is great for reading or people watching on a warm day. At O p’tit bahut, try any of their incredible meat and cheese plates and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for just five bucks. One day I visited both bars (judge me) and in between sips of wine and nibbles of cheese, I heard Luther Vandross, Zapp and Roger, JODECI, Sly and the Family Stone… How? Why? I have no idea. But the vibe was there and I received it.
Support a Black chef
Owner and Chef Gilbert Okoin creates seasonal, inventive dishes at Porte Quinze, an intimate, 20-seat restaurant. Cream of cauliflower soup and lobster with a butter lemon cream are just a few dishes on the changing menu.The food here are almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
One thing you are sure to see when visiting Bordeaux is people on the move. This is an active city where exercise is just as common as its world class wine. At any moment, you’ll see people jogging or cycling around the city or near the beautiful Garonne River. Every September, Marathon du Médoc combines a 26.2-mile road race with 23 wine-tasting stops along the way.
Take a day trip to Saint-Émilion.
Just 45 minutes away from Bordeaux‘s city center is a wine lover’s dream: Saint-Émilion. Architecture, stunning views and a good glass of red wine combine here to create a perfect day trip. Walking through its cobblestone streets of this medieval I always feel such a sense of peace. You can take your pick and pop
Indulge in a local specialty