Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul cradle many of the city's blockbuster monuments. In Saint-Pierre, the elegant 19th-century Pont de Pierre (1819–22) is the oldest bridge across the Garonne in Bordeaux and aptly proffers some of the finest city-scape views; factor ample bridge lingering into your itinerary. For bird's-eye views of the city – and to get your bearings before delving in – hike up Porte Cailhau or the cathedral bell tower.
From comfortable B&Bs to stylish midrange hotels, Bordeaux's flagship historic hotel and first glam designer hostel, accommodation in this busy neighbourhood covers all budgets and tastes. Note: less expensive rooms overlooking major pedestrian thoroughfares in Saint-Pierre's medieval heart can be noisy.
Dining out in this eatery-packed part of Bordeaux can be an enriching experience. Among the many touristy restaurants peppering Saint-Pierre's pedestrian web of streets, ample top-notch bistros and restaurants serving traditional and modern French fare stand out. Alfresco terraces on stone-paved rue des Faussets (off place St-Pierre) and rue de la Devise are particularly idyllic on warm summer evenings.
Choose from Thai, Japanese, Indian and other world-food quick-eats on rue St-Rémi and, in St-Paul, south of Cours d'Alsace et Lorraine on trendy place Fernand Lafargue.
Drinking & Nightlife
Pedestrian place St-Pierre and place du Parlement, both in the heart of Saint-Pierre, are ringed with delightful cafe terraces and buzz with drinkers any time of day. Place Camille Jullian – place Ca-Ju to locals – is another enchanting square to linger over a drink. Nightlife, per se, boils down to dancing to DJ sets or live gigs in late-night bars and underground cocktail clubs.
A Drink with a View
No public work of art turns heads quite like Sanna (2013), a striking modern sculpture on place de la Comédie by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Grab a seat on a cafe pavement terrace on the square to admire the 7m-high cast-iron woman's head. Or head up to the stunning rooftop terrace bar Night Beach, inside luxurious 18th-century Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux, on the same square, for a cocktail with bird's-eye view of Sanna and her beautiful adopted city.
Drinking & Nightlife
Europe's longest pedestrian shopping street, rue Ste-Catherine, struts south for 1.2km from Saint-Pierre to Saint-Paul and gets packed with promenading Bordelais at weekends; many shops here open Sunday. Find major French fashion chains at its northern end, and independent specialist boutiques in the tiny St-Paul lanes clustered at its southern end. For vintage fashion, hit rue du Loup.
Bordeaux's famous Triangle d'Or (Golden Triangle) is framed by three grand boulevards: cours de l'Intendance (south) and cours Georges Clemenceau (west), both lined with upmarket shops and designer boutiques; and Allées de Tourny (east), home to historic chocolate shops.