Bordeaux Miroir d'eau

Exploring Bordeaux in 48 Hours

So, you've got just 48 hours to soak up the charm of Bordeaux? As someone who's had a whirlwind romance with this French gem, let me assure you, it's possible to pack in a whole lot of Bordeaux magic into such a short time. Having been to Champagne to celebrate a 50th, we chose Bordeaux as our return stop over, because what’s not to love about cobblestone streets, vineyards, wine and delectable cuisine!

Bordeaux - Day 1 Itinerary

If you’re spending two days in Bordeaux you might as well get the 48 Hour City Card. This will get you free access into most of the iconic landmarks, museums and it will also be your main form of transport. You can pre-purchase this HERE!

  • Start your day with a stroll along the Garonne River, soaking in views of iconic landmarks like the Place de la Bourse (the main square for the town). Just across the road is the Miroir d’eau, this sculpture/fountain sprays a fine mist to give the smooth tiles a mirror like effect. A popular spot where the kids can have a little fun. It’s also a great photo opportunity. After that, head further up towards the Pont de Pierre. This is where you will most likely embark on your river cruise.
  • Very close to the Place de la Bourse is the Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux. The architecture and stained-glass windows are mind blowing, and if you’re lucky, you will also get to hear the cathedral organs playing.
  • Next, visit outdoor antique market located at the Monument aux Girondins, the monument itself is very impressive giving the Italian Trevi Fountain a run for it’s money. The market offers rows and rows of semi-permanent structures showcasing furniture, artwork and nick nacks from the classical French era to the Art Deco period. Definitely a place to buy a few signature pieces!
  • For lunch, you could stay in the Monument aux Gironndins area grabbing a bite from one of the many food trucks, or head to the Halles de Bacalan, it’s a indoor/outdoor food court where you can sample local cuisine. Enjoy fresh oysters and a glass of wine, or try the local truffles and foie gras with a bold Bordeaux red.
  • After a day of mostly walking or riding the tram, finish off with a leisurely river cruise.
    We chose Yacht de Bordeaux – for €19 they offer an informative 90 min cruise along the Garonne River. The cruise includes a complimentary drink and a Cannele (a baked sponge sweet cake) with live commentary from a guide in English and French.
  • End your day with dinner at a cosy brasserie along the river promenade, savouring classic French dishes paired with, you guessed it, more wine!

Bordeaux - Day 2 Itinerary

Day two is a little less intensive than day one. Today includes a visit to the architectural masterpiece, the La Cite du Vin (a wine museum which includes a tasting and a international wine boutique) and a visit to Saint Emilion, a popular town integral to the production of wine.

  • It’s a little early to be tasting wine, but hey as they say “when in Rome…” the reason I’m putting this activity first is because Saint Emilion gets very busy with tour buses, so either plan to get to Saint Emilion VERY early to beat the crowds, or plan to get there around lunch time when tourists have dissipated a bit.
  • Your 48 Hour pass will get you access to La Cite du Vin with a €5 supplement.
    If you have not purchased the 48 Pass, you can purchase a La Cite du Vin tickets HERE for €22.
  • We had a car so getting to Saint Emilion was not a problem. From Bordeaux it is about 40km. If you don’t have a car the best way to get there is by train. This will cost you between €5-€10 and there is a train every hour or two from 9am till 10pm. The walk from the Saint Emilion station to the town centre will take about 20 min.
    Once in the town, spend the day meandering through the charming cobbled streets, have lunch, do some wine tasting, and see the beautiful Saint Emilion Cathedral.

Questions & Answers

Is 2 Days Enough?
Two days might seem like a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of affair, but trust me, it’s enough to get a tantalizing taste of what this city has to offer. Sure, you won’t uncover every hidden gem, but you’ll leave with a good sense of its character and allure.

Is Bordeaux Good for a Weekend Away?
Absolutely! It’s the quintessential destination for a weekend escapade. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a history buff, or just someone who appreciates a leisurely stroll through picturesque streets, the town has something for everyone.

Is Bordeaux Worth a Day Trip?
Without a doubt! Even if you can only spare a day, the city will shower you with its beauty and charm. From its stunning architecture to its world-renowned wineries, every moment spent here is a testament to why it’s a must-visit destination.

Is Bordeaux a Walkable City?
One of the things I love most about the town is its walkability. The city center is compact enough to explore on foot, allowing you to leisurely meander through its streets, stopping to admire grand buildings, lush parks, and charming boutiques along the way. The other alternative is a 24/48 hour day pass that allows you to take as many trip as you like. It’s much easier getting to ‘must see’ landmarks that way.

Is it Very Expensive?
It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Like any major city, it has it’s fair share of high-end establishments, but there are plenty of budget-friendly options too. From cozy bistros serving up hearty fare to local markets brimming with fresh produce, there’s no shortage of ways to indulge without breaking the bank.

Is Bordeaux Nicer than Paris?
Ah, the age-old debate! As much as I adore Paris, there’s something about Bordeaux’s laid-back vibe and understated elegance that captures my heart. It’s like the chic cousin who effortlessly exudes charm without even trying.

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