Day One

  • Saint-Pierre, Saint-Paul & the Triangle d'Or

Begin with a bird's-eye view of the city atop Tour Pey Berland, the fancy belfry of neighbouring Cathédrale St-André. Afterwards, delve into the cavernous cathedral interior, then walk to the nearby Musée des Beaux Arts for a lounge in its lovely gardens and gander at works by Bordelais artists.

Saunter west into this delightfully serene, largely residential part of town to delve into Bordeaux's most ancient past at Basilique St-Seurin and its neighbouring Archaeological Site. Extend the history theme with a visit next to Palais Gallien, followed by a late afternoon mooch amid urban nature in nearby city park, Jardin Public.

Assuming it's summer, a post-dinner dinner with the in crowd at Night Beach, the chic rooftop bar of landmark Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux, is a Bordeaux essential.

Day Two

  • Saint-Pierre, Saint-Paul & the Triangle d'Or

Start the day on leafy Esplanade des Quinconces, being sure to pop into L'Intendant to admire its astonishing interior architecture and wine stash. Allow plenty of time for window-shopping in the boutique-rich Triangle d'Or.

Don your walking shoes and strut north to cours Xavier Arnozan or Pavé des Chartrons, with its line-up of luxuriant townhouses built for wealthy wine merchants in the 18th century. Continue north along rue Notre Dame, allowing ample time to dip into its small independent boutiques and artist workshops. Visit the Musée du Vin et du Négoce, or if contemporary art is more your cup of tea than history, the Musée d'Art Contemporain. End on a high with a two-hour visit at least of Bordeaux's flagship museum, La Cité du Vin.

Staying in Bacalan, depending on the day, catch live music or a DJ set afloat a fantastic decommissioned barge at timelessly fashionable club, I.Boat.

Day Three

  • Saint-Michel & Capucins-Victoire

Skip breakfast at your hotel and, assuming it's not Monday when the market is closed, hit Bordeaux's premier food market Marché des Capucins for breakfast of freshly shucked oysters and white wine at Chez Jean-Mi, followed by a delicious meander through stalls heaving with fresh fruit and veg, cheese, meat and shoals of seafood. Break for a coffee at Café Laiton in the market before moving on to the St-Michel neighbourhood where there is almost always a flea market of sorts on leafy place Meynard.

Begin the afternoon with a contemplative visit of Basilique St-Michel and an invigorating hike up its bell tower, nicknamed La Flèche, for brilliant city views. Then meander south to the largely unsung Église Ste-Croix, with exquisite sculpted Romanesque façade and a couple of cafe terraces basking in the afternoon sun.

After dinner you might indulge in a late-night Bordelais cocktail at secret speakeasy Le Point Rouge or party the night away at La Plage or one of the many other mainstream nightclubs on quai de la Paludate.

Day Four

  • Saint-Pierre, Saint-Paul & the Triangle d'Or

Begin the day with an enthralling waltz though Bordeaux history at the Musée d'Aquitaine, then mooch north into Saint-Paul. Admire the Grosse Cloche, boutique-hop along fashionable rue St-James, and people-watch on cafe-clad place Fernand Lafargue.

Explore place Camille Jullian, place du Palais and the stunning Porte Cailhau, and place St-Pierre with Église St-Pierre. Squeeze in a ginger, almond or chestnut ice cream from La Maison du Glacier and walk to place de la Bourse, allowing plenty of time to lounging in this elegant square and learning about French customs in the Musée National des Douane. If it is hot, cool down in the refreshing mist jets at the Miroir d'Eau; otherwise, simply gorge on the beautiful reflections on its shiny wet surface.

Cross the river over Pont de Pierre and spend the evening on the Right Bank: sip locally brewed beer with the cool crowd at Magasin Général, catch live jazz at Le Bistrot du Caillou and dance beneath twinkling fairy lights on the riverbank at La Guinguette Chez Alriq.