Advance Planning

Three months before Book accommodation, tickets for ballet or opera at Bordeaux's Grand Théâtre, and a table at gastronomic Michelin-starred restaurants if so desired.

Three weeks before In high season, book guided visits and tours organised by the tourist office, particularly wine-tasting workshops and vineyard capers.

Three days before Reserve tables for weekend dinners and meals at Bordeaux's most sought-out dining addresses.


Bordeaux Wine Trip ( The ultimate planning tool for wine tourism in and around Bordeaux.

Vins de Bordeaux ( Encyclopaedic resource on tasting, choosing and pairing Bordeaux wine; inspired Wine Tunes playlist too.

Bordeaux Tourism & Conventions ( Tourist office website.

Lonely Planet ( Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Top Tips

  • In high season reserve your slot on the fabulous guided tours organised by the tourist office at least a couple of weeks in advance.
  • Consider buying a Bordeaux Métropole City Pass (; 24/48/72 hours €29/39/46) online before arrival. The pass covers admission to major museums as well as a free guided tour and unlimited use of public transport.
  • Check monument openings times carefully; some such as Saint-Paul's Grosse Cloche and the bell tower of Basilique St-Michel are seasonal.
  • Buses, trams and boats make getting from A to B easy, but to really lap up the local vibe walk – the city is small enough. Alternatively, consider a bicycle.

What to Take

  • Travel plug (electrical adapter) for France's two-pin plugs
  • Sunscreen, sunhat and sunglasses
  • Pocket knife with corkscrew – most Bordeaux wines have corks (make sure to pack this in your checked-in luggage)
  • Walking shoes – for cobbled streets and the pedestrian old town
  • Light scarf or sarong – to cover bare shoulders in churches
  • An adventurous appetite (a Bordeaux culinary necessity)

What to Wear

To avoid standing out from the urban crowd, smart-casual is the way to go. Dress up rather than down in nicer midrange restaurants, clubs and bars – no jeans and sneakers (though black or 'smarter' jeans will probably be OK).

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Check passport validity and visa requirements
  • Arrange travel insurance
  • Check airline baggage restrictions
  • Book accommodation; reserve big-name restaurants