Car Hire at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport
Located on the Garonne River in the southwest of France, Bordeaux is the go-to destination for wine lovers, foodies and culture vultures. Classified as a World Heritage Site in 2007 (the largest urban World Heritage Site in the world), Bordeaux has also been named Europe’s Best Destination, and was described as the ‘essence of elegance’, by none other than our very own Queen Elizabeth II on her last royal visit. The epicentre of the world’s wine production, Bordeaux is the perfect place to visit all year round, with autumns and winters being generally mild, spring being crisp, and summer warm to rival the cities on the country’s southern shores.
Grand and alluring, Bordeaux is serviced by Bordeaux-Mérignac airport, which is located a 12 kilometre drive west of Bordeaux, in your holiday hire car; take in the sights and surroundings of the stunning French countryside as you travel from the airport to your final destination.
With beautiful vineyards and rolling country fields all around, nobody could blame you for expecting a sleepy French town once arriving in Bordeaux. Au Contraire! Bordeaux has repositioned itself over the past decade or so, to become one of the country’s most dynamic, exciting and vibrant places to visit. Thanks to recent renovations of classic buildings and the installation of a high-tech transport system, there’s no surprise that over 5.5 million tourists flock to the city each year. It’s got great food, it’s got great shops, it’s got great sights and sounds, and of course, it’s got great wine.
Visit the food markets, which brim with colourful and delicious fruit and vegetables, as well as locally sourced meat produce, and freshly-baked bread. Walk across the deceptive mirior d’eau – the world’s largest reflecting pool; or soak up some culture in the musée d’Art Contemporian.
Boarding in Bordeaux needn’t break the bank, and there’s plenty of options to choose from whether you’re after a hotel, hostel, bed and breakfast or apartment.
A favourite amongst visitors to Bordeaux is L’Hotel Particulier, a stunning boutique hotel located less than one kilometre from the city centre. Decorated throughout with stunning period features mixed with contemporary design, guests can book one of the five rooms available in this atmospheric hotel. A room for two people will set you back around €109 per-room per night, and four people can book out a room costing €179 per room per night.
La Coeur Carrée is a bright and airy contemporary hotel just half a kilometer drive from the city centre in your rental car. Air-conditioned, en-suite, and with free WiFi access for guests, this hotel is perfectly located for the avid city explorer and provides a delicious breakfast for guests at an additional charge of €10.
For something on the cheaper end of the spectrum, head to the Coeur de City Hotel, which is located in the historic heart of the city. Affordable and full of character, this hotel sits inside an 18th century building which has been lovingly restored back to its original condition, which was revealed it its reopening in 2011. You’ll find the Coeur de City Hotel in Bordeaux’s Triangle d’Or, close to lots of local shops and amenities.
Perfect for couples, families and small groups, the Appart-hotel Opera Quinconces is a self-contained space complete with kitchen, living area and bathroom, and is ideal for those wanting a little more privacy on their holiday. The accommodation is located just a short walk from many of the city’s main attractions and just a ten kilometre drive in your holiday hire car from Mérignac Airport.
Food and Drink
French cuisine is famed the world over, and where best to sample some of its famous fares than in Magazin Général? This restaurant, although specialising in international cuisine, is one of the highest rated in the country for organic produce. Located inside a repurposed industrial hangar, all of the produce served here is locally-sourced and organic; so whether you’re after a vegan burger or a superfood salad, this is the place to be. The price is just as attractive as its food offerings, with a two or three course meal setting you back around €14-18 and main courses ranging from €9-19. You can also take advantage of the ping pong tables and play a game of table football after your meal, if you’re feeling competitive.
Seafood fans should book a table at Le Petit Commerce, an iconic little bistro which serves some of the best seafood in the city. Headed up by Michelin-starred chef Stéphane Carrade, the food here includes oysters, eels, baby squid and Arcachon sole, sourced-locally from the St-Jean de Luz.
A firm French favourite is La Tupina, a well-priced cosy restaurant which serves up seasonal, regional fare, including foie gras, milk-fed lamb, goose-wings and tripe. Lunch in La Tupina will cost around €18 and there are two dinner menus friced at €39 and €74.
Dine like a local at Le Cheverus Café. This buzzing little bistro is kitted out with retro interiors and serves up delicious home-cooked meals; and, once the sun sets, the bistro transforms into a trendy tapas bar. Prices for main courses in Le Cheverus Café will cost you between €12-16.90.
Shopping Streets and Areas:
One of the best destinations for shopping in Bordeaux is the Triangle d’Ore – or the Golden Triangle, where you can find an abundance of retail outlets, independent stores and boutique shops. Although the prices of your purchases might be slightly higher here, as it’s the home of Bordeaux’s finest luxury brands, you’ll still be able to find some reasonably priced, affordable stores in amongst them. Head to the Rue Ste Cathérine to grab a bargain; this pedestrianised thoroughfare is home to some of the city’s cheaper options, be it for fashion, antiques, or souvenirs. The more ‘arty’ items can be found in the Chartrons district or on Rue Notre Dame.
If you like to peruse a marketplace, then you’re in luck as there’s plenty of them in Bordeaux. Park up your holiday hire car outside of the city’s main market hall, the Marché des Capucins, which is located on the Place des Capucins, and it’s where you’ll find some of the freshest and best, locally sourced produce in the whole area. The market is open for business daily; during weekdays the opening hours are 6:00 – 14:30 and during the weekends it’s slightly earlier – 5:30 – 14:30, the earlier you arrive, the best choice of food you’ll get. Another marketplace to check out is the Marché des Quais, which is open to the public on Sundays from 7:00 and serves up lovely edible produce from local farmers and growers; the marketplace for perishable items closes at 13:00, but remains open until 16:00 for other items such as crafts and books.
If you’re shopping in Bordeaux, then you’ll want to pick up a bottle of the region’s finest wine, and you can find this in L’Intendant. This beautiful wine shop can be found at 2 Allées de Tourny, and it’s worth a visit,for its stunning staircase alone, even if you’re not planning on spending any money. This shop is literally wall-to-wall wine, and each floor varies in price and vintage. Looking for an affordable bottle? Stick to the lower levels, as the higher up you go, the higher the prices, and the most expensive bottles with vintage years can be found at the top of the spiral staircase.
Attractions and destinations:
With its plethora of classical and neoclassical architecture, which has been lovingly restored over the years to bring Bordeaux up to the standards of European cities the continent-over, you won’t be short of attractions and activities in the city. Oozing with international class, the city is, as you’d imagine, extremely proud of its wine-expert heritage, and there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy a tipple or two of the region’s famous grapes.
Pay a visit to the Cité du Vin and soak up some of the history of the grape growing process itself, as well as taking in an impressive overview of the entire subject of wine, and its influence on the life of the people who make it and drink it. This gallery is dedicated to wine not only from this region of France, but from the whole world, so whether you’re a fan of a red, white or rose grape – there’s something for you to mull over in here. Alternatively, hop in your holiday hire car and head to the vineyards themselves and get first-hand experience on how the growing process works.
Not one for wine? No fear, as there’s plenty of other things that can take your fancy whilst in Bordeaux. Take advantage of your rental car, and drive to the city’s beating heart: the Triangle d’Or – the Golden Triangle. Here, you’ll find the intersection of Bordeaux’s three stunning boulevards; Allées de Tourny, Cours de l’Intendance and Cours Clemenceau, and an abundance of bars, restaurants and boutique stores. Standing proudly on the periphery of the Triangle d’Or is the Place de la Comédie, which sits next to the Grand Theatre. Take a tour around the stunning theatre, which will only set you back around €5.
Or if it’s a leisurely stroll you’re after, there’s no better place than the waterfront. Leave your hire car at the hotel, and head to the banks of the Garonne river, which – as with a lot of the city – has been recently refurbished. Once a series of abandoned maritime warehouses, and a former place to avoid, the buildings that pepper the banks of the river are once again vibrant and buzzing with activity. This part of town is your best bet if you’re after quirky little cafes and bars, open spaces, shops and gardens.