Bordeaux
Overview

Bordeaux… just the name itself sounds alluring. Somehow that name, Bordeaux, evokes a sense of sensuality, a sense of romance that’s almost hard to articulatePerhaps it’s the deep red hue associated with the name (a silk Giambattista ruffle mini number comes to mind…). Or perhaps, more likely, it’s the smooth red wines of the Bordeaux region that gives the color its name and the place its alluring fame. While Tom Ford and Essie may have uncorked a universal lust for Bordeaux with lacquers, oenophile or not, a getaway to France’s most underrated cities might just be the perfect topcoat to your polish. Wine enthusiasts across the globe are well versed in the offerings of Napa and Tuscany, and don’t get us wrong, we love those spots too. But take our advice and add Bordeaux to your extensive bucket list of vineyards to see and sip. This beautiful city in the southwest of France dominates the wine world, boasting the largest wine production across the globe and some of the most spectacular tasting rooms. It’s no wonder they even opened a wine museum, La Cité du Vin, a ten story building of wine galore.  

Oenophile or not – Bordeaux’s burgeoning food scene, laidback lifestyle and lively nightlife make the Aquitaine capital a sophisticated option. And, of course, we must not forget the extensive shopportunities so you can dress with the same vibrancy that this region exudes. Imagine if you could shrink Paris, nix the tourists, and still preserve its charm… violá, you have Bordeaux. The street style here couples French charm with Parisan cool, creating a scene that is overall relaxed with slight edge. Knee-high boots, button downs, and chic jackets would do you well, yet don’t be afraid to experiment with denim trends-of-the-moment and bold accessories. Even better, pack your classic staples and save room for new finds at the plentiful trendy boutiques. Come with an extra suitcase to fill with goodies, and definitely come thirsty.  

Stay

Where to stay

Indulge

Indulge

DINING

While any vacation warrants a certain degree of indulgence, the French cuisine in Bordeaux is so fresh and light (local tapas are a staple) you’ll likely leave with your favorite denim no more snug than when you arrived. Start your morning at any of the classic brasseries and bistros in Chatron, where you can people watch and absorb the scenery whilst sipping a foamy cappuccino and other light fare. La Tupina in particular is top of any foodie’s list, named the “best bistro in the world” by International Herald Tribune. Boozy lunches that last 2+ hours are basically a given when vacationing in the French wine region, so be sure to sample the four-course lunch menu at Le Chapon Fin. Popular dishes include pigeon off the bone (don’t hate until you try it), and popular clientele include actress Sarah Bernahrdt, painter Toulouse-Lautrec, and Britain’s Edward VII, the current Queen’s great-grandfather. Lunch is the time to go to Chez Dupont, when the resto is packed with locals from the street, including many of the antiques dealers who have shops here. There’s a menu but go with the daily specials, which are written out on a chalkboard. Wash it all down with a crisp Bordeaux blanc and don’t even expect to make much conversation. The people-watching here is priceless. If you happen to be touring the nearby Saint-Émilion region, lunch at the gorgeous restaurant on top of the winery of Château La Dominique, La Terrasse Rouge, is a must. At the OTT La Cité du Vin (City of Wine), a seven years in the making mega project with all the scope of a wine theme park for adults, head to the seventh floor panoramic restaurant Le 7.

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Here, you'll embark on a culinary journey in a cosmopolitan setting, combining your food with wines from 50 wine-producing countries across the globe thanks to a wine list with more than 500 bottles...  For dinner, a top pick is the Michelin-starred Le Pressoir d’Argent, by Gordon Ramsay, located off the lobby of Le Grand Hotel. The restaurant is named for its dining room’s centerpiece—one of five silver lobster presses in the entire world. This piece is meant to encapsulate the restaurant’s strengths—creative cuisine and attention to detail. The vibe is elegant yet intimate, the food sensational, and the wine so smooth it will leave you weak in the knees. 

NIGHTLIFE

Bordeaux is home to several lively yet chic bars and clubs. Early in the evening or après night at the opera, enjoy a cool glass of vin blanc at the rooftop bar Night Plage.  Never say no to a rooftop should be a mantra of its own, but this spot in particular is located on the top of Grand Hotel de Bordeaux, providing spectacular views over the Grand Theatre and town centre. Another hotspot is the hip lounge at Mama Shelter Bordeaux. The atmosphere is eclectically cool, featuring chalk painted ceilings above its chic clientele. For a more mellow evening, sport a simple maxi with a denim jacket to beat the breeze on your way to Bar à Vin, a favorite spot for wine tasting. Sample reds, whites, and rosés with an excellent charcuterie spread in this relaxed, peaceful atmosphere. It’s worth noting that they also offer half-glass options, so you can maximize your tasting variety while still managing to walk in a straight line back to your hotel, even in wedges.

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Explore

Explore

Before browsing Bordeaux, keep in mind that the city is quite spread out. We recommend packing a pair of chic sneakers and flat(ish) boots for days spent on foot, or using the excuse to purchase a new pair upon arrival. After dining at a café, begin your adventures with a day trip to Saint-Émilion, a charming wine town in the region. It’s the best kind of wine-town stereotype: cute cafes, chic boutiques, and a gorgeous scenic view. Explore the remarkable monolithic underground church, and climb the bell tower which oversees the lovely town. To further your wine education, visit the famous Maison du Vin, set in a gorgeous old building with ample outdoor seating for people watching. This wine house offers a wide range of local wines as prices that won’t break the bank—not to mention you’ll be able to purchase your favorite wine to take home with you for the evening. An absolute for oenophiles and newbies alike, visit the just-opened La Cité du Vin, a first-of-its-kind immersive wine museum which covers the global evolution of wine and is a stunning site to see.

When you’re not cheers-ing with a crisp Chardonnay, Bordeaux offers a wide range of activities to keep you busy. Start out by visiting CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, a museum showing a rotation of art from the 1960’s to present set in a revitalized warehouse. The massive stone rooms offer a unique backdrop for the art, including famous pieces by Christina Boltanski, Daniel Buren, Mike Kelley, and Wolf gang Tillmans. After browsing, you can enjoy the view on the lovely terrace atop of the museum. The quintessential spot to see and be scene is the historic opera house, Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. Designed in the 18th century by Victor Louis, it is one the oldest and last wooden frame opera houses, known for having a strikingly beautiful interior beyond its incredible opera and ballet performances. Not an opera fan? Kick back in your best denim and booties at the more casual Guinguette Chez Alriq, an outdoor concert venue with views of the skyline across the water. By day, they even offer yoga classes, dance classes, open markets, and other wellness discoveries. Check out their agenda the week of your stay and join in the communal creativity of this unique spot.   

SHOP

Where to Shop

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Though fairly small in size, Bordeaux does not fall short of upscale and ample shopping opportunities. Rue Sainte-Catherine boasts the longest shopping street in Europe... it’s a site to see in it of itself. The 1.2 km long pedestrian street stretches across the city with chic boutiques on both sides your Gucci Princetown loafers; you won’t know where they’ll want to take you first. Even better, the stretch is totally car-free. Further incentive to walk off your gelato is Cours de I’lntendence, a street that’s home to many luxurious high fashion brands like Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Versace. Even if you visit on a rainy day, fear not, make a trip to Galeries Lafayette, a high end department store with multiple floors and multiple brands calling your name. The lively street of Rue Notre Dame also houses several excellent shops, from the streamlined pieces with a hint of edge at Lily Blake, to the eclectic and elegant home décor at Ö Design or Cabanes & Châteaux

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